Can’t Choose a Career? How to Get Over Your Indecision

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Most people have trouble choosing their career when they get to college. Some even struggle to decide what career is best for them well into their 40s or 50s. But as you begin your college career, you’ll need to choose a major—and that major could have a lasting effect on your future employment. 

Obviously, this is a big decision, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about this decision. However, at some point, you’ll need to be decisive and work past those anxieties. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to calm your nerves—and end up with a major and/or career path you’re confident you’ll enjoy. 

Understand That This Isn’t Your Final Decision

It may seem like choosing your major in college is going to dictate how the rest of your life plays out, but this isn’t really the case. It’s hard to estimate how many times people change careers during their lives (even for the BLS), but anecdotal evidence alone makes it clear; most people undergo many career changes in their adulthood, and few end up strictly following the path their major laid out for them. 

In other words, even if you somehow find a perfect choice for your future, that perfect choice may not be perfect forever. You’ll always have the opportunity to find something new, and that’s a good thing. Don’t think of this as a lifelong commitment. 

Know the Criteria for What Makes a “Good” Career

How can you choose a career when you aren’t really sure what a “good” career looks like? Different people have different priorities when it comes to choosing a career path, so it pays to define yours objectively. 

These are some of the most important categories people consider: 

  • Job openings and demand. It’s usually a good idea to go into a career with lots of demand, many regular job openings, and a strong future ahead of it. For example, fields like healthcare won’t be affected by economic changes or technological breakthroughs. 
  • Safety and hazards. Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. For some people, risky professions are worth the rewards, since they often come with better pay and benefits packages. But for others, safer professions are a better choice. 
  • Pay. Obviously, you’ll want to consider the earning potential of the job. Typically, jobs and careers with a high demand for technical expertise pay more than jobs that are easy to obtain, or jobs that don’t require much training or education. 
  • Personal enjoyment. People often neglect personal enjoyment as a considering factor when evaluating their career options, but it’s as important as the other factors on this list. If you don’t like what you’re doing, it won’t matter how safe your job is or how much money you make; you’ll be miserable. You don’t have to love your job, but you should at least be able to tolerate it.
  • Future flexibility. Your wants and needs will likely change in the future, so how well can this career path accommodate those changes? Most people are best served seeking a job with some degree of flexibility. For example, does this career allow you to seek multiple promotions, climbing the corporate ladder? Will you have the option of starting your own business in this field eventually? 

Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

You also need to spend some time introspecting. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how could they play into your career? Are you really good with people, but not great at working with numbers? Or did you always exceed in math and science courses, but struggle when it comes to writing? Your aptitude doesn’t have to determine your career path, but if you’re stuck between a handful of options, it can help to break the tie. 

Get Involved 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to get involved with other people. If you have a list of viable career options, reach out to local businesses and see if you can talk to people who currently hold those careers. Ask them what they like best about their profession, and what they hate about it. Ask them why they chose this path, and what other options they considered. You may even get the chance to volunteer, or work as an intern. In any case, you’ll get a firsthand look at what a career in this field looks like, which will provide much better information than hypothetical scenarios. If you can’t find people in this career field, consider talking to professors of the subjects you’ll need to study instead. 

Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself, of the careers available to you, and of the support your campus can provide. You may not feel like your decision is perfect, but it doesn’t have to be—it just has to be good enough, and based on the best information available to you. There’s plenty of time to change and/or develop your career, so don’t worry if you change your mind later. 

Acing an interview straight out of college

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School does not quite prepare students for the real world. There is no class you can take to teach you how to submit your taxes, how it works and how to settle your utility bills. One of the most glaring problems in our education system is that we do not have a class dedicated solely to interviews. We have to learn through trial and error before becoming somewhat competent at interviews, but the secret lies in research and being proactive. 

Make sure you have something to offer the company

Fresh graduates often think that they are the shiny new penny that all companies should want. That kind of thinking is disappointing, and many learn quickly that if you do not have anything special to offer that makes you stand out from the rest of the herd, you will simply blend in. 

Taking a SEE program or having volunteer experience will make a resume stand out from one that lacks experience or further qualifications. Too many resumes are a carbon copy of the other with only extracurriculars making any (small) difference. 

What interviewer want to know when they ask you to talk about yourself

Probably one of the most stressful parts of an interview, the moment the interviewer asks you to tell them something not already on the resume or to talk about yourself. Where to begin? Career coach, Sarah Archer, suggests, “My best advice is to choose five things about yourself that are relevant to the job, eg your qualification, particular experience, specific skills you can bring and a passion or interest and use these to construct an answer. Don’t give too much detail.” 

You do not want to overwhelm the interviewer with oversharing but at the same time, you do not want to underwhelm the interviewer into thinking that there is truly nothing interesting about you. You can start with a quirk which is relevant to your job-scope, for instance, a passion for horseback riding and how it taught you perseverance and how you will be able to apply the same mentality to your position. 

Turn on the charm

Interviews do not have to be formal affairs where you put on a mask to hide anything human about yourself in a bid to seem ‘professional’. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make because they think that is what companies want. The truth is, you can be professional and still be yourself. Inject a little humor and do not be afraid to let who you are show – it will make you a more memorable candidate. 

It is also worth noting that being awkward will carry and affect the atmosphere, making interviewers as uncomfortable as you are. If you are able to make your interviewers feel at ease, you have won half the game because it is psychologically proven that we gravitate towards those who make us feel good, comfortable and secure. 

Be honest but not divulge all the details

The truth about finding a job is on everyone’s mind: the pay. But it is something worth holding back on until you actually secure the job. Do not be afraid that you will not get another chance to discuss your pay before you are hired, you will. Also, if asked regarding why you left your previous job, it will be prudent to stay tight lipped and only share the absolute necessary, especially if there is negativity involved. 

Top 5 Graduate Career Options for Australian Bachelor of Commerce Graduates

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Graduating is always an exciting time, but it is also a time for uncertainty for many new graduates. Suddenly, you are balancing the line between being a dedicated student and becoming an industry newbie in your chosen field. Especially in the case of commerce graduates (and many other fields, for that matter), it can be hard to know how to make your first career move, or where to start looking for your first job. So, what are the best graduate careers for Bachelor of Commerce alumni?

Entrepreneurship

Going from graduate to entrepreneur might seem like a jump to some, but this is the single best way to get real-time industry experience while building your own brand and reputation – without having to work under anyone else. Entrepreneurship is very much a game of trial and error, but it is also one of the single most rewarding career paths that you can take on. Being in charge of your own career in every aspect is a privilege.

Human Resources

When people consider careers in commerce, HR is not one that generally instantly springs to mind. However, HR is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding career paths in commerce. Rather than dealing with goods, your career will be centred around providing a service for professionals across varying industries. This career requires a strong grasp of people skills.

Marketing

Studying commerce puts you in the perfect position to pursue a career in marketing after you graduate. Marketing is all about bridging the gap between the exchange of goods and services across various fields and industries. A career in marketing is not only rewarding, but directly places you in the thick of commerce in the most diverse yet acute way, and gives you the chance to express your creativity while elevating your career.

Public Relations

Having three to four years of study in commerce under you belt means that you have adequately amassed the skills and tools to go into a career in PR. PR is all about effectively creating a service where you are responsible for the public image of your clients. Essentially, you are the person who is accountable for the projected representation of an individual or a company. Good press is obviously ideal, and it is your job to eliminate bad press as efficiently and swiftly as possible.

Web design

The latest and greatest iteration in commerce is ecommerce (i.e. the digital version of the traditional field). We live in a digital age, and so it goes without saying that a function of commerce like ecommerce is steadily becoming more and more prominent across various industries, and in general. Web design is the perfect career for commerce graduates to go into if they have a passion for the digital landscape, for graphic design and content, and for bringing to fruition, and then perfecting, the digital landscapes of companies and individuals around the world. Web design is the perfect career path for commerce graduates who have a passion for digital exposure and subsequent expansion.