6 surefire ways to work out what career you want to do
It’s hard enough to know what to eat for tea.
Let alone decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.
But one thing’s for sure: you have to be open to trying new experiences. It’s no good waiting for someone to make a decision for you. That’s how you end up settling for a career that you don’t enjoy.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to find something that fits.
Ask yourself the right questions
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What makes you excited? What are your skills?
By answering these questions you identify your skills and passions. Then it’s about finding a role where they meet.
It could be working with people, number crunching, problem solving… Once you’ve nailed down what gets you going, you can focus your search.
It’s also worthwhile asking friends, family and employers what they think you do well and not so well. These valuable insights allow you to develop self-awareness and identify careers paths that match your skill set.
Break down roles and sectors
It’s easy to become fixated on a particular role, sector or company in which you want to work – such as finance or marketing – rather than on the actual job, e.g. social media manager or analyst.
But you can apply your skills to loads of sectors. Every company needs a range of skills. Advertising agencies need analysts to gether and interprety data, just as finance firms need creative departments to promote their services.
So don't limit your horizons. Consider a range of jobs in a variety of sectors. You’ll widen your search and increase your options of finding a role that suits. This is where identifying your skills – and the kind of people you want to work with – is critical.
Volunteering is good for the soul. You help others as well as yourself. And volunteering doesn’t have to be selling clothes in a charity shop.
Find opportunities where you can practice your skills. Great at graphic design? Ask to design flyers for a local charity. Thinking about a software development apprenticeship? Offer to revamp a dog shelter’s website.
These activities give you real life experience of what a job is like day-to-day. The experience looks great on your CV too.
And if you fancy something more structured, take a peek at our current opportunities — they’re always free.
Get a mentor
Mentors give professional advice to help you down the right path. They’re more impartial than close friends or family. And can be more honest. Plus they can answer career questions from a real position of authority. So you know what you’re hearing is genuine.
If you have your eyes on a particular career, approach someone senior in that industry via LinkedIn. Or try out our digital mentors. They’re on hand to talk about our current opportunities and offer tips for your applications.
Don’t settle for the easy option
It’s tempting to settle for the first opportunity that comes along. But resist the urge. Take a bit of time to reflect on what you really want to do.
Don’t go to university just because everyone else is. Don’t take the job because your mum tells you to. Instead, explore your options.
You have so much time to find out what you want to do. So use that time wisely. Sometimes it's good not to overthink. But you need a little relfection to see if the opportunity genuinely suits your skills and ambitions. If not, don't be afraid to push back.
Lean to embrace uncertainty
Disorientated. Anxious. Confused. These feelings are familiar to anyone fresh out of education with no idea what they want to do.
But this uncertainty can be a good thing. Because if you’re not tied down, you’re free to explore new things. And exploring new things is the only way you work out what you like and what you don’t.
You might find something that feels right straight away. Or you might do something else. Or something else. Until you’re content. And the rapidly evolving job market and opportunities with amazing brands means you can try more new things now than ever before.
So experiment. And learn to embrace the journey. You’ll end up at the right destination eventually.