So many career options, which do I choose?

Career & Education

So many career options, which do I choose?

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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Dear Career Advisor:
I will resume school in a few days. I am making very good progress, but truthfully, I do not know what career path to pursue. There are many career options to which my programme can lead, and in addition, I find I have several other interests. How do I decide which career path to follow? I thought that by now it would have been clear to me. Not to mention that my parents are always asking what are my plans. Can you help me?

Dion T

Dear Dion:
Congratulations on making good progress as you advance in your studies. Set your goal on achieving excellence.
It's good that you are taking time to contemplate possible career pathways. The decision-making process in respect of choosing a career path takes time and can be complex if done without professional guidance. Since neither a high school diploma nor a tertiary degree or certificate leads to a cookie-cutter path in respect of a career, it's best to get an early start in exploring your options and making career decisions, therefore now is as good a time as any.

We highly recommend that you utilise the services of your institution's career services centre or your guidance counsellor if you are in high school. Where possible, secure a career mentor and utilise all available opportunities for professional networking. Broaden your scope by getting involved in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, not only of things that give you personal pleasure but in activities that lead to serving others as well.

Consider the questions listed below, which we have found very useful in assisting others through the career decision-making process.

• What are your interests, skills, values, and goals?

• What career decisions do you need to make?

• What are the academic and career choices available to you?

• What are the pros and cons of each of those choices?

• In order of preference what are the top three options you would like to pursue?

• If you are not able to decide, what is making it difficult for you to do so? For example, the fields of interest are very similar or they make be quite diverse.

• What steps do you need to take to implement your choice?

• What plan(s) do you need to make? A written plan is key. This should be reviewed periodically.

• How satisfied are you with your plan?

• Do you need to adjust your plan or develop new goals?

While a career counsellor cannot tell you the answers to the above questions, he or she will work with you to help you find the answers with which you are comfortable. Set an appointment to meet with one as soon as possible in this new year.
All the best.

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice president, Student Services, at Northern Caribbean University in MAnchester, Jamaica. Submit your questions to her at

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