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How to choose a career that’s right for you


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What job should I do?

Finding a fulfilling career is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. However, you might not be certain about which line of work is best suited to your skills and interests. Even if you do have a specific career goal in mind, it can be difficult to figure out how to get there.

If you’re one of the many people out there asking ‘what job should I do?’ Here are some tips for exploring your career options and putting your professional life on the right track.

Why am I struggling to choose?

Firstly: don’t be hard on yourself. The experience of struggling to find the right career is very normal, so there’s no need to feel anxious or ashamed. It’s also important to know that career confusion isn’t just something that affects young people – it’s also a common issue for workers in their thirties, forties and beyond.

“I don’t know what career is right for me”

Rather than feeling stressed, try to see this as a valuable opportunity to learn more about yourself. The best way to approach this problem is to treat it as a journey of self-discovery. What are you passionate about? What kind of contribution would you like to make to the world? Finding answers to these questions will help to make your career journey easier.

“What should I do for work?”

This is a similar sentiment, but it deals more with the actual tasks you’ll be performing in your chosen career. For instance, are you a hands-on kind of person who enjoys physical activity? Or are you more of a cerebral type who prefers dealing with concepts and ideas? Figuring out your preferred type of work will point you in the right direction.

How can I choose a career and work out what job to do?

In the early stages of figuring out how to choose a career, you’ll be asking yourself a lot of big questions. Some things you might like to reflect on include:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What kind of things am I good at?
  • What were my favourite subjects in school?
  • Which of my life achievements am I most proud of?
  • What kind of people am I drawn to?

It’s a great idea to grab a pen and paper to write down your answers, or you can record a voice memo if that helps you brainstorm. But whatever the method, recording these answers will help you build an idea of your ideal career path.

Our next sections will provide advice about how to work out what job to do and what to do if you are confused about your career.

Reflect on your interests and skills

You might like to take an online quiz or a book to find out more about your personality. The Myers Briggs test, for instance, may give you insight into career pathways suited to your personality traits. Or you could try “What Color Is Your Parachute?” – the go-to book for people interested in choosing a career.

If you’re already a Swinburne student, you’ll have access to a wide range of career services. In addition to regular events and workshops, you can arrange to have a career chat with one of our experts, who can help to point you in the right direction. If you have questions like ‘what job suits me‘ or ‘what career is right for me?‘, our advisors are here to help.

Remember, no one is a better judge of your ideal career than you. By taking the time to think honestly and deeply about what motivates you, you’ll greatly improve your chances of finding a great career.

Think about your ideal lifestyle and non-negotiables

When considering what to do for a job, it helps to think about the lifestyle you’d ideally like to lead. Important things to consider include:

  • Full time vs part time: How many hours per week would you like to work?
  • Salary expectations: How much money do you need to earn per year to support your lifestyle? (A big consideration here is your rent/mortgage commitments).
  • Flexible work arrangements: Do you want a job where you can work from home?
  • Maternity and parental leave: Is it important to you for your employer to provide support if you start a family?
  • White-collar vs blue-collar: Would you prefer to work in an office, or are you happiest doing work that’s more physical?
  • Ethical concerns: Are there any industries that you want to avoid because they conflict with your ethical values?

Seek advice

It might seem obvious, but it can be really helpful to sit down with a family member or close friend and ask: “what job should I do?” If you’re considering a particular career path, getting an outside opinion from someone who knows you well can be invaluable.

Thinking about returning to study? Get in touch with a course advisor. Simply by reaching out and asking for advice, you can give yourself a better chance of career success.

Make a list of potential jobs, fields or companies

Choosing a field is much easier than picking a job. The best way to do this is to match your strengths to the kind of environment you’d like to work in. Once you’ve picked a field, you can start to refine your search by writing down a list of companies that operate in that field.

If you’re asking yourself the question ‘what do I want to do for a career?’, another approach is to have a look at which jobs are most in demand. Our article Best Careers For The Future lists industries that are expected to grow over the coming years.

If there’s a particular field that interests you – nursing, for instance – it can also help to sit down with a professional nurse, and ask them about the highlights and challenges of the job. What might seem like a good idea in theory might not end up feeling so suitable once you start to head in that direction, so you can save yourself a lot of time and effort simply by asking the right questions during the research stage.

If you have a particular employer in mind, try reaching out to them to see if you can come in for a chat. You might also be able to do some work experience, to see if you enjoy working there. Nothing can beat a real-life experience – so get out there and give it a go!

Consider gaining qualifications or experience

If you’re in a situation where you need to gain a qualification in order to pursue your ideal career, it’s never been easier to fit study into your life. Swinburne Online offers a wide range of online courses and degrees in the areas of: business, design, education, health, information technology, law, media and communication, psychology and social science.

Even if you don’t have a firm career goal in mind, study can broaden your horizons. Once you start studying, you’ll have the support of your tutors, lecturers, fellow students and career advisors, to help you make a great start in your new career.

Study at Swinburne Online

If you need further support and guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly Course Consultants on 1300 069 765 or contact us here.


To discover your career path, start with self-reflection. Assess your interests, skills, and values. Utilise personality tests if needed. Research industries and seek advice from professionals. Align your passions and strengths with available opportunities.
Finding your dream job involves identifying your passions and strengths. Set clear career goals and work on gaining the necessary skills. Network with people in your desired field. Be persistent and adaptable, as your dream job might evolve along the way.
Yes, it’s entirely normal, especially during transitions in life. Many people explore different options before finding the right fit. Embrace uncertainty, explore various paths, seek guidance, and remember that career choices can evolve with time and experience.
Career indecision can stem from factors like a lack of self-awareness, fear of making the wrong choice, external pressure, or limited exposure to different fields. Overcome this by conducting self-assessment, exploring various options, and seeking advice from mentors and career counsellors.
A common mistake is prioritising short-term gains over long-term fulfilment. Many people choose careers based solely on salary or societal expectations, neglecting their true interests and passions. It’s crucial to align your career choice with your values and aspirations for lasting satisfaction.
If you’re unsure about your career path, take proactive steps. Start by self-assessing your strengths, interests, and values. Seek advice from mentors or career counsellors. Explore internships or volunteer opportunities in fields of interest. Be open to change and embrace the learning process as you navigate toward a fulfilling career.