That’s a question you have no doubt been asked a thousand times by teachers, parents, family friends and relatives who think you should have mapped out your future by now and be able to summarise it in a sentence. Not many people know what they’re going to want to do in two years, let alone ten years down the line – but it is something to start thinking about. Attending events and taster days are a great way of exploring your career options.
Now nine years into our careers, the PP Team have some advice to pass on…
Deciding what career you would like to do when you finish school or university is a difficult choice to make. It is important to remember that very few students at the end of school actually know exactly what they want to do. Even adults swap from career to career, as their idea of a rewarding and fulfilling job changes. So, do not worry if you don’t have a clue – you are not on your own. Here are a few points that might help you to get started with thinking about your future career. Important questions to ask yourself:
- What are your interests? Your school work? The news/newspapers? Video games? Films? Sports? Helping people? Exploring new places?
- When do you feel particularly proud of yourself? When you win a sports match? When you give to charity? When you offer advice to others? When you perform in front of people? When you solve difficult problems?
- Do you prefer to study on your own? Or with lots of people? Outside? Inside? In the same place? In a variety of places?
When you answer these questions, a clear career path for you to follow will not suddenly appear, but you will get an idea of the kind of role you may like. For example, enjoying sports doesn’t mean that you are going to be a professional footballer or athlete, but means that you might find sport journalism interesting. Similarly, if you enjoy travelling to new places, that doesn’t mean the only option for you is to be an explorer; in this case, jobs in business, journalism, or even teaching can all involve travelling.
Don’t forget, though, that your answers to these questions may change over time. This is absolutely fine and this is why many older people change jobs! You may go to university with a career in mind and then decide that you find something else more interesting. Having a job to aim for, however, can be very useful to building your confidence.To help make this first choice, there are a number of avenues that you can pursue:
- Web-based research – Explore the range of jobs that are available. The most commonly promoted careers are not the only ones out there! Check out icould.
- Careers service at your school or university – Careers services are incredibly useful and you should make the most of these. Even if you do not know which sector you would like to initially work in, explore the range of options by using this service.
- Talk to people you know – Talk to the adults and ask them about their careers: Do they enjoy their job? If not, why not? Is there something else they would prefer to do?
- Work experience – Branch out and try some of the work opportunities nearby. Any work experience is great to have on your CV or personal statement, even if you decide that the role or career itself is not for you. If you struggle to find any form of employment, then why not try volunteering? Local communities usually have lots of different volunteering projects.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to careers. But do not panic. The most important thing is for you to eventually have a job that you feel is rewarding and fulfilling. No one will ever have a job that they absolutely love every day of the year, but it is possible to have a career that you enjoy most of the time. Also, be open to change – if you have had your heart set on a specific career since you were five then that’s great, but if you begin to have second thoughts (at any point in your life) then that’s completely fine.
Finally, don’t aim for a career that will only please other people; it is your career and your life so aim for something that you would actually like to wake up to in the morning.