Local Politics

Critical steps to follow when choosing the right career

South Africa’s unemployment rate is skyrocketing, making it critical to carefully consider how you plan your future career and goals.

Choosing the right career is often seen as a decision that can lead you to financial security, but it also prepares the way for a work-life that enriches your overall wellness.

Zanele Twala, CEO of Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation, shares that technological advancements show that it is important to choose a career that is future proof and would not become obsolete due to automation.

“But while you need to be pragmatic and choose a career that the world actually needs, it is equally important to consider what your natural interests, passion, talents and skills are to decide on a career that’s right for you,” says Twala.

Twala says the learners can follow few key steps to make choosing a career path easier and ensure that their decisions are based on sound principles.

According to Twala, these are the steps to follow when choosing a good career:


The first step in choosing a fitting career is completing a self-assessment. This is where you reflect on your interests, personality, skills, and values. The assessment will not tell you which career to follow, but will give you a place to start your research.


Reflecting on your interests is an important part of the self-assessment process since you are more likely to be successful and happy in a career that stimulates you. When reflecting on what your true interests are, you could ask yourself what activities you enjoy, what issues are important to you, what classes you have liked at school and when you have felt like you are in your true element. You could also think about why you admire certain accomplished people and follow their careers and causes on social media.

Personality: When reflecting on your personality, think about aspects such as whether you like to interact with other people or prefer to work on your own. You also know yourself well enough by now to determine if you are an inventive and imaginative person, or a more practical individual.

Skills: Identify the personal skills you have demonstrated in your school and other activities: are you a natural leader, emphatic listener, popular entertainer? Many skills can be used across industries and roles, so consider how your skills could suit various career options.

Values: It is important to choose a career that lines up with your values as this will lead to career satisfaction. Consider how important values like freedom, independence, adventure, camaraderie, diversity, fun, routine work, intellectually challenging work, structure, building things, security and risk-taking are to you.

Identify and research options

Once you have completed your self-assessment, you can start exploring the full range of career options that are potentially available to you. Consult publications, websites, career expos and other resources to learn more about the numerous jobs you don’t know anything about and the new jobs that are being created in evolving industries.

Narrow it down

List the pros and cons and consider how it lines up with your personality, interests, and values. Have you ever heard the saying “choose a career or job that you like and you will never work for the rest of your life”. It means when you do what you like and are passionate about it, you will never feel like work because you are enjoying what you are doing so much.

Get work experience

Finally, try out the career options and fields you believe may be a fit for you. You can do this by signing up for holiday work, part-time jobs, volunteering, or internships. Keep a journal during this time and note what you enjoy or not, excel in or find challenging.

Also dissect if it was the work itself or the people that made it a good experience. This is a good way to learn more about the type of work and environment you find satisfying and getting closer to making a career decision that suits you.

“Choosing the right career will connect them with their passions and enable them to make a positive impact in their communities, thus it is imperative that our young people are supported in these phases and stages to ensure they reach their full potential,” added Twala.


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Anelisa Sibanda

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