How to build the best career path for you

Ready to get personal? Here at Guild, we know there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all career path — which is why we want to walk through how to build the best career path for you. Though it may take a little extra work, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as confidently working toward your goals. Check out the following five steps to get started!


Step 1: Identify your goals

Speaking of goals, your first task is to figure out what your goals are. Goals come in many different shapes and sizes, but for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll be looking specifically at your financial, occupational, and lifestyle goals.

Start off by grabbing a blank piece of paper and asking yourself the question, “What do I want?” For the next ten minutes, write down every thought that comes to mind. This is a creative brainstorm, so anything goes! Once your time is up, take a few minutes to sort your answers into the categories of financial, occupational, lifestyle, and other. Here’s an example of what your final list might look like:


  • I want to make $10,000 more per year.
  • I want to start a college fund for my child.
  • I want to be able to afford a down payment on a house.


  • I want to get promoted to manager at work.
  • I want to feel more challenged.


  • I want to be able to drive my kid to school.
  • I want a more stable schedule.
  • I want to cook dinner at home. 


Step 2: Do your research

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can head to the internet to do some research. The above brainstorm suggests that our student is looking for a better paying job, preferably at their current company, with a little more flexibility. These are the important qualities that our student will want to keep in mind while researching jobs.

If you already know the job title that you’re working toward, we recommend looking at job postings on websites like Indeed and LinkedIn to understand what skills you’ll need to gain in order to be eligible for that role. Another trick is to explore websites like Glassdoor that share company reviews and salary information.

Last but not least, we recommend you set up some time to talk to your manager. They may be able to give you a more detailed description of what skills you’ll need to work on, and may even be willing to set up a few informational interviews

Here are some questions that you should aim to answer during your job research:

  • What is the average starting pay for this position?
  • What qualifications are required (degrees, certifications, training, etc.)? 
  • What does a career in this field look like? 
  • Does this position offer opportunities for growth? 
  • Can I see myself enjoying this work?


Step 3: Explore programs

Next, it’s time to log into your Guild student profile. Here, you can learn more about your education benefit and see what programs are available to you. Keeping your goals and career research in mind, take some time to explore the different program pathways and to evaluate which programs will teach you the skills you’ll need to embark on your personal career path.


Step 4: Talk it out

Choosing the right program is an important step, which is why we highly recommend you schedule some time to talk to a Guild coach before submitting any applications. Your coach will make sure that the programs you’re considering align with your goals, and they’ll be able to recommend programs that you might have missed and can answer any questions you have about your education benefits. 


Step 5: Apply

Now that you’ve identified your ideal career and know which programs can help you get there, you’re all clear to submit your application! While you’re waiting to hear back on an admittance decision, we recommend that you spend an afternoon fleshing out what your next steps might look like. It’s important to know what you should expect after graduation day — whether it involves finding an apprenticeship, applying for that promotion, or checking job boards for the perfect fit.

Congrats on taking the time to start planning your future — we’re excited for you and can’t wait to see what you do! If you want to learn more about how going back to school can grow your career, make sure to check out this post!

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Written by Guild Education
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