What Influences Your Career Choices?
Several things come to mind immediately when we think about our choice of career-training, required education, job description, and salary and career outlook. There are many other factors that will influence your decision, as well. Let’s explore some of the multiple theories of career development. Theories can help us frame how and why things happen. Career development theories, in this case, help us explain how and why we decide to pursue certain career fields. In the relatively new field of developing a career, there are many theories that need to be considered. You will see as you read through the below factors the many of the same issues are addressed by the related theories. It is a good idea to consider factors from multiple perspectives since no one theory can explain everything.
Abilities and Skills:
In one of the earliest fields of career development, Trait Factor theory, considering your abilities and skills, as well as how they will fit a certain occupation often comes out and is still used today. It is recommended by these theories to create occupational profiles for specific jobs, as well as identifying the difference among individuals and based on these differences, matching them to occupations. There are many formal assessments online, including the Skills Provider at CareerOneStop in which you can identify activities you have a certain level of competency you enjoy.
Personality Type and Interest:
A widely used theory used to connect career fields and personality types is Holland’s Career Typology. This type of theory establishes a system of classification that matches personal preferences and personality characteristics to job characteristics. The Holland Codes are six types of personality and career that helps to describe a wide range of characteristics of jobs. You can receive your lists of related occupations and find out your Code by completing a questionnaire provided by O*Net Interest Profiler.
A worker is just one of your roles in life, as well as a parent, child and student. The theory that addresses directly the fact that we each play multiple roles that change over time is called the Super’s Lifespan Theory. How we think about ourselves in these different roles and the requirements of them, as well as the external forces that may affect them, may influence the way we look at careers in general and also how we make certain choices for ourselves.
Two theories that address factors related to our experiences with others in work situations previously are Planned Happenstance and Krumboltz’s Social Learning theories. Having certain positive role models and experiences in specific careers can influence the career sets we consider as options for ourselves. One aspect of the Social Cognitive Career theory that addresses that we are likely to decide to continue a particular task that you had previously had a good experience doing. This is a great idea so you focus on areas with proven success and positive self-esteem.
Culture and ethnic and racial background of the person’s regional area, extended family and local community are factors that may impact decisions of career. Our expectations and values are often shaped by our culture, as they relate to multiple parts of our lives, including careers and jobs. A specialized field that has emerged in multicultural career counseling takes into consideration theses influences when counseling students and clients. Having awareness of the expectations and values of our culture just might help us understand how we as individuals make career choices, however, we cannot attribute to any one individual predominate cultural characteristics.
Men and women experience stereotypes that are career-related. Social Learning, as well as multicultural career counseling are approached based on factors of gender. How we individually view ourselves can influence both the barriers and opportunities we believe as we choose our career. As roles of women and men evolve in the workplace, studies are ongoing of career development and gender.
Economic and Social Conditions:
Our career choices always take place in the context of the economy and society. Many career theories, such as Social Learning and Social Cognitive Career Theory address this context, along with many other factors. Certain events that take place during our lives may affect available choices for us and can even dictate choices to a certain degree. Resulting job market and economy changes may also affect career development.
Fantasies of Childhood:
What would you like to be when you grow up? I am confident that you remember this question from your younger years and it might have even shaped how you thought about careers then and how you think about them now. Career Counseling theories are growing as career choice related programs are developed for all ages, even the very young. A theory that describes three career development related life stages was proposed by Ginzberg. As early as age 11, fantasy, the first stage is where early career ideas are formed.
Work With Your Career Counselor:
It is vital to understand that career choices are not made based off of just one factor. Choices are made subject to many influences such as social, cultural and environmental. The interactions and combination of various decision-making influences are unique to you, as well as your situation. Always keep in mind that things can change as your learning experience and external factors do, such as the economy, therefore you will continue to fine-tune and revise your career choices.
There are many factors to consider, but you do not have to do it on your own! A career services counselor can assist you with many resources and assessments, in addition to discussing different ways certain theories can be applied to your process of career development.
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