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How to plan a career path

You’ve identified what a good or right job means for you and you’re kicking off your job search, whether you’re transferring industries or just graduated. Maybe you’ve landed that job and you’re thinking, “What’s next?” Here’s how to build a roadmap and figure out what job opportunities are out there for you.

Step 1: List the job titles you’re interested in.

These could be a handful of titles for roles above you, suggested fields based on aptitude or career tests, or even jobs you’ve read about or seen on television. Making a list of jobs you’re interested in will not only give you a good starting point for researching what it’s like to do them, but you’re creating a foundation to compare potential career paths. Certain titles might entail specific skill sets, education or experience, and understanding what those might be can help you make the best choice.

Step 2: Understand your earning potential.

Start searching by job title with a salary finding tool. You should look for national averages, as well as have the ability to filter by location and different pay structures. Ever wondered how annual salary compares to hourly wages? Do you know what a registered nurse makes in your city, hometown or across the country? These are important factors to consider when deciding on a career path, or at the very least, your next role.

Step 3: Learn about the skills or education you might need.

Your skills and education (college degree, certifications and everything in between) will play a big role in how your career progresses and what kinds of jobs you’ll land. Knowing what it takes before you start can save you time and stress later. Whether you just graduated or you’re looking to change careers, learn more about the skills and education you need to make a multi-year plan.

Other factors to consider when choosing a career path:

Location. As mentioned above, where you live can have a huge impact on your quality of life and pay. For example, living in a major city is more expensive than smaller towns or mid-size cities, so you would need to know what a living wage is for that role in that location.

Lifestyle needs. Location is part of your lifestyle. For example: do you plan to stay in one area and crave a consistent schedule, or are you more interested in working from anywhere and traveling on a regular basis? Consider your overall personal goals when choosing your next job.

Examples of career paths for growing job titles:

Registered nurse: Search for registered nurse jobs and learn what a registered nurse earns

Marketing manager: Search for marketing manager jobs and find out what you can make as a marketing manager

Software engineer: Available software engineer jobs and software engineer salaries

Web developer: Search for web developer jobs and learn what web developers make

Accountant: Open accountant jobs and more info about accountant salaries

Related reading:

How companies find your resume

How to apply to jobs in one-click

How to make a resume

Web developer sample resume

Marketing manager sample resume

Average Salary in US | wage calculator for the top 25 cities