During high school years you're gonna make tons of decisions that will affect your life significantly. One of these decisions is choosing a major and a university. This will lead to your future career that might define your lifestyle for many years. How to choose the best career when you're only 17?
Define Your Approach
Listen to your family members, analyze what are the popular industries on the market or analyze your straights and think in which industry you can apply them the best. You can create a vision - where you see yourself in 10 years, what your ideal day looks like, what your life is like? For example, you want to be a Marketing Director - have a beautiful office with the great view and work at thousands dollars projects. Now, you just have to work backwards from this vision, deciding the most efficient way to get there.
If you have no clue what to do in your professional life, like most of us at your age, don't be frustrated there is another approach. Your goal is to slowly move from now to unexpected tomorrow, figuring out what you like the most and that you can be good at on the way. This process takes time. Even if you know what you like, for example, photography, you probably won’t be able to imagine how your work could look like in the nearest future...
Hedgehogs vs Foxes
In the book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't” Jim Collins introduces the ''Hedgehog concept'' that helps to find your place in the world. Foxes are generalists, they don't like to concentrate on only one thing, jumping from one idea to another, they have a very broad skill set doing good in creating and connecting ideas. Hedgehogs (a.k.a. specialists) are opposite to foxes - they keep one idea in mind and move towards it, they know exactly what they want to be good at and they are developing in that particular area, they like to learn one thing in depth and often have one specific skill that they master during years.
Create Your Own Hedgehog Strategy
To define your core competence you have to think about three things: What can I be the best in the world at? What do I love to do the most? What are my competencies that I can get paid for?Answers to these three questions will give you an understanding on which field to concentrate and which skills to develop.
Let’s say you like spending time with people, listen and talk, discuss their life priorities, how they see the world (your passion), maybe you are good at writing and you think you could earn money with it (economic engine), you see yourself being good in communications (being the best in). Understanding of these three things helps you to think about the career. You might want to become a life or business coach, PR specialist or journalist. In order to build a career you want you can choose to study Psychology, Communications or Media. Depending on your other skills like understanding of visual and audio information, problem-solving skills, etc., you might think about majoring in Marketing or even Film-making. Opportunities are unlimited, you just have to trust your gut.
Not as difficult as it seemed to be, right? So here’s one more tip how to get to know your personal preferences, if you’re don't feel you have passion in anything.
Find Your Passion
Think of an industry that interests you and finds a professional who is already successful in that industry. Write him an email. Add him on LinkedIn. Ask for an advice: how did he get there, what books he recommends reading, what steps he would recommend to take, ask to become his personal assistant for few weeks. You’ll enter the professional world, will get a better understanding of the working environment and different aspects of the profession.
Never Try Never Know
Sometimes because of the fear of making mistakes we are thinking about something too long and it prevents us from doing anything at all. Think about it, maybe you have the talent to become a great painter but if you never try to do artworks, you’ll never even discover your talent. So the best thing to do is to try as many things as possible while you’re still studying and have more free time. This will make you understand your natural abilities and identify the industry you want to build your career in. So apply for that internship that you’ve just noticed on the web, sign up for an app-building course, learn how to do origami - there are endless possibilities, you just have to be confident enough to grab it.