Whether or not you have any career ideas you need to know some things about yourself first.
The advice below will help you to have a better understanding about yourself in relation to the world of work. This will help you to create a ‘foundation of knowledge’ about yourself which you can then use when researching your career ideas.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO OFFER WORK? What are your skills, interests, abilities, experience, personal qualities? Ask your family and friends help you to identify what these are as they may be more aware of your skills & qualities than you are!
WHAT SUBJECTS DO I ENJOY / AM I GOOD AT? Look at the subjects you currently study and think about which ones you particularly enjoy and/or are good at. Then use various websites to find out what you can do with these subjects. Some good websites for this are Cascaid’s Careerscape, Prospects and Kent university’s careers pages – see the ‘Subjects and Careers’ section.
HOW DO I PREFER TO LEARN? Consider how this could affect your choice of career. Are you happy to go on to further or higher education and study full time or are you ready for the world of work and considering a job or apprenticeship?
WHAT DO I WANT FROM WORK? What would make a career rewarding and enjoyable for you? Hopefully you will spend a long time at work so it’s important to think about what would make a job so enjoyable for you that you look forward to going to work every day!!
THIS CAN BE DIFFICULT SO TRY THIS – if you could ‘create / design’ your own career what would it look like? What would be the main features? Use the prompts / questions below to help you think this through.
YOUR ‘IDEAL’ JOB!
* PURPOSE – try to identify the main purpose of your ideal job. How does this work relate to your wider life goals? Does it provide you with job satisfaction or simply finance other interests which give you more of a buzz? Live to work or work to live?!
* DUTIES – What sort of activities does your job involve – meetings, interviews with colleagues, liaising with the public, computer work, planning schedules, practical, hands on work…
* HOW DO YOU WORK? – Alone, in a team, regular contact with others? What suits your temperament best? Do you want to work with people, ideas or practical things?
* SKILLS – Think about the skills, qualifications & experience you’ll need for your ideal job. What skills would you like to be using in your job?
* HOURS OF WORK – What are your hours? Am I happy to work weekends / evenings / shifts?
* SALARY – What do you get paid? How important is a high salary to me?
* QUALIFICATIONS – How long are you willing to study for?
* OPPORTUNITIES – Do you want to study / work abroad?
* TRAVEL – How do you get there? How far is it?
* ENVIRONMENT – What kind of environment would you like to work in? What energises you? A steady pace or having to work to deadlines? Think about the kind of work you enjoy most, how you interact with others, your social skills, how you like to learn & the hours you want to work
* LOCATION – Do you want to work in the city, a small town, the countryside?
* ORGANISATION – Do you see yourself working in the public or private sector? In an industrial setting or an office or somewhere creative? Would you like to work for a small / medium / large organisation?
* COLLEAGUES – What are your colleagues like? Is there a good social life?
* CLOTHING – What kind of clothes do you put on – suit, casual, uniform?
* CAREER MOTIVATION – what will make you want to get up & go to work every morning? What are the best things about your job?
* WORK / LIFE BALANCE – When thinking about possible future careers it’s important to think about what kind of lifestyle you want – think about what motivates you. To enjoy and do well in a career, it needs to interest you: it’s hard to fake enthusiasm and passion for a job.
* SELF-EMPLOYMENT – Are you interested in becoming self-employed at some point in your career?
* LABOUR MARKET – what are the future prospects & employment trends in the career sectors you’re interested in? Is it an area that’s growing & has skill shortages or is it becoming harder to find work in this sector?
If you don’t know this information about yourself then it’s difficult to know how well a career would suit you and give you what you want from your career
Start to become more aware of the jobs people are doing in everyday life and think about these features of work.