Not sure which Career Path to take?
For school, college or university leavers, knowing exactly “what to do with your life” is a very big question to answer. With so many career paths to choose from, or potential barriers to breaking entry into certain fields of work, it may feel tempting to put it off for a few years.
But starting to think about your career choices early on and working towards gaining relevant life skills and experience that will help you on your way can make a real impact on achieving career success.
If you’re ready to start thinking, planning and weighing up your options, here’s some ideas on how to get started in discovering which career might be right for you…
Take a personality or skills quiz
There’s plenty of careers aptitude tests available and, whilst they don’t always present you with the match you were expecting, they’re a really good place to start. Many are now fairly broad in the questions they ask and aim to help you understand what your skills are, what you enjoy doing, what work environment could suit you best or the values that matter to you in your ideal career.
Understanding more about these aspects of our personality and abilities can help narrow down the options and give you some direction into the vocation that you might be more likely to enjoy and excel at. Here’s a few of our recommendations to try:
Find Career Ideas
Once you have a starting point of the type of work you’d enjoy doing or the environment that would suit you best, start to research the different careers that could fit the bill.
If you know the general sector you’d like to work in – such as finance or design or construction – you can find out what roles are available and what they involve. You can also start to read about the sector more generally – what are the trends and big news stories, who are the major employers, for example. From here, you can learn what the requirements are to entry and start to work towards them. But remember, you may have to start in a different role to begin with and work your way up.
If you’re not as sure what sector might be for you, or you have a couple of choices that you’re considering, it’s a good idea to do some wider research. Perhaps you could investigate your options by skill – such as organising or creativity or leadership – or by reviewing the subjects that interest you most – such as media or chemistry or art.
There’s some great websites around to help too:
Now you know the career path that could be a good fit for you, start to look into the specific jobs and what the day-to-day duties will be. Read through job descriptions and person specifications to make sure they match your expectations and use job boards – like Reed, Total Jobs and CVLibrary – to find out what’s available in your area. Discover the big and small employers based locally that may offer these types of positions and follow them on social media.
It’s also a good idea to try and speak to others who work in that sector. Reaching out to friends and family can be a good place to start, but you may also be able to find career interviews or employer videos about what’s on offer.
During coronavirus, there are many virtual careers fairs hosted online and you can also contact the National Careers helpline to see if an Advisor can put you in touch with a mentor close to you.
Knowing which career is right for you
Above all, try not to feel overwhelmed by the number of options available to you right now. Having choices is a good thing, but you’ll feel even better when you’ve put some thought and research into narrowing it down to just a few. Even then, it’s still okay to feel undecided or to give one thing a go and change your mind. Very few people end up doing the job they set out to and trying new options along the way can help you discover what you’re really good at.
The most important thing is to use your time proactively to make a start. Whether it’s online research, work experience or just talking to people who’ve done it themselves, get clued up with the information you need to take the first step on your chosen career path.