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Top 8 Factors That Influence Career Choices

When we think about career choice, several things immediately come to mind – job description, training and education required, career outlook, and salary – but there are a number of other factors that may influence your decisions.

Decision-making, especially career decision-making, can be influenced by a lot of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Understanding these influences can help in making an informed career decision which can have long-term implications.

8 Factors That Influence Career Choices
Source: Unsplash

The following are some of the factors that are considered in the process of career decision-making.

1. Childhood Fantasies.

What do you want to be when you grow up? You may remember this question from your childhood, and it may have helped shape how you thought about careers then, as well as later in life. Career counseling theories are expanding as programs related to career choice are developed for all ages, including the very young. Ginzberg proposed a theory that describes three life stages related to career development. The first stage, fantasy, where early ideas about careers are formed, takes place up to age 14.

2. Culture.

Racial and ethnic background, as well as the culture of an individual's regional area, local community, and extended family, may impact career decisions. Our culture often shapes our values and expectations as they relate to many parts of our lives, including jobs and careers. Multicultural career counseling has emerged as a specialized field to take these influences into consideration when counseling clients and students. We can’t attribute the predominant characteristics of a culture to any one of its individuals, but having an awareness of the values and expectations of our culture may help us understand how we make our career choices.

3. Gender.

Both men and women have experienced career-related stereotypes. Gender is a factor included in multiple career development theories and approaches including, Social Learning and multicultural career counseling. How we view ourselves as individuals may influence both the opportunities and barriers we perceive as we make career decisions. Studies of gender and career development are ongoing as roles of men and women in the workforce, and in higher education, evolve.

4. Life Roles.

Being a worker is just one of your life roles, in addition to others such as, student, parent, and child. Super's Lifespan theory directly addresses the fact that we each play multiple roles in our lives and that these roles change over the course of our lives. How we think about ourselves in these roles, their requirements of them, and the external forces that affect them, may influence how we look at careers in general and how we make choices for ourselves. For more information, read about Super's Career Rainbow.

5. Personality Type.

Understanding your Personality Type can assist your career development in a number of ways.

  • It can help you select a career field that is a good fit for your personality make-up.

  • It can increase your awareness of your learning style so you can better benefit from career related education.

  • Understanding your personality preferences can help you better manage Job Challenges that inevitably rise their ugly heads during the course of our career.

  • Knowing your Personality Type, and especially knowing the specific details of your individual type can provide, will aid you in a job search, both in marketing yourself and in evaluating opportunities that arise.


6. Previous Experiences.

Having positive experiences and role models working in specific careers may influence the set of careers we consider as options for ourselves. One aspect of Social Cognitive Career Theory addresses the fact that we are likely to consider continuing a particular task if we have had a positive experience doing it. In this way, we focus on areas in which we have had proven success and achieved positive self-esteem.

7. Skills, Abilities, & Talents.

Considering your skills, abilities, and talents and how they may fit a particular occupation comes out of one of the earliest career development fields, Trait-Factor theories, and is still used today. These theories recommend creating occupational profiles for specific jobs as well as identifying individual differences, and matching individuals to occupations based on these differences. You can identify activities you enjoy and those in which you have a level of competency through a formal assessment.

8. Social and Economic Conditions.

All of our career choices take place within the context of society and the economy. Several career theories, such as Social Cognitive Career Theory and Social Learning, address this context in addition to other factors. Events that take place in our lives may affect the choices available to us and even dictate our choices to a certain degree. Changes in the economy and the resulting job market may also affect how our careers develop.

You can make your hobby your work

You have to make a decision about what purposes you have right now. And what do you want to get from your work? What are the reasons in favor of some particular career? Do you want to earn money or do you want to develop your talents? It’s great if you have an opportunity to choose a career that is related to your hobby or interests.


Usually, if you pick the work according to your interests, salary is not the most important motivation for you. But there are examples when someone’s hobby turned into a fortune. For example, if you like to write essays, someday you can become a professional writer. You never know what awaits you so do not give up your interests.

So choosing a future career is perhaps the most important decision in our lives. That’s why we have to think well and weigh all the pros and cons. We have to take into account such important factors as:


  • Education;

  • Financial aspects;

  • Work experience;

  • Our personality and interests;

  • Economic and social conditions of life.

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2 Comments


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