Let’s face it we spend a huge amount of our time working. Unless you plan on early retirement you are looking at 40 plus years – by choosing a career that you are suited to and you are passionate about your working life will be far more enjoyable. “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius.
That is all very well but what if you have no idea what you would like to do?
Read this guide to finding a career that you will thrive in.
Narrow it Down
There are very few people who know exactly what career path they would like to walk from the outset. The career possibilities available are endless, it can be incredibly overwhelming to be faced with too much choice. You need to take a step back and narrow down your choices to a more manageable amount.
The type of person you are will have a huge impact on what type of job you will enjoy doing. Make a list of your personality traits. Are you warm and caring? Are you outgoing and open to experience? Are you an introvert? An extrovert? Are you a people person or do you prefer your own company? Be honest with yourself.
It seems obvious to say that doing a job that you have the skills to fulfil will lead to a satisfactory career. Again make a list of what your skills are. At this stage don’t think in terms of a job, just list everything you are good at. If you are always the planner in your group of friends put it down. Perhaps you are the one everyone calls with their technical issues. Think outside the box.
3. What do you enjoy?
Ultimately enjoyment is key, no one wants to spend their working life doing a job that makes them miserable. List anything from your hobbies through to areas that you have enjoyed studying. Do you love going to the gym? Do you love history? Writing? Numbers? Design? Technology? What really interests and fascinates you?
Armed with a clearer picture of yourself take this career test for some suggested areas that will suit you.
Try it out
Once you have some ideas of what you may want to do you will need to try it on for size. Many people get stuck in a job that they aren’t particularly happy with, the truth is no one really knows until they do the job what it will be like. There are some great opportunities to be able to try out a job before signing on the dotted line.
1. Work Experience and Internship
Contact companies in your chosen area to see if you can do some work experience with them. Use this opportunity to gauge how you feel about the job, speak to the people who work there, shadow experienced staff, ask questions. Can you see yourself doing this? If the answer is no then try something else.
Many companies offer paid summer internships, again this is a great way to get a feel for a job with the bonus of a paycheck.
Dependent upon the area that you would like to work volunteering is an excellent choice. If you would like to work with children, for example, volunteering to help with local groups like beavers, scouts or sports teams is a valuable use of your time.
Not only will spending your summer working help you to choose the right career but all the above will be a great boost for your CV. It is all about setting yourself apart from your peers and what better way to show your commitment and dedication? Many often find that summer internships lead to employment upon graduation.
Network, Network, Network
1. Social Media
With social media at your fingertips networking has never been more accessible. If you haven’t already sign up to LinkedIn and set up a professional profile. Connect with companies and professionals in the career area that you are interested in. Use the advice function, people are more than happy to share their advice and experiences. Take notice of what people are posting, does the sector seem like something you would like to be involved in?
More and more companies are using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for their business marketing, you can learn lots about a company’s personality on these channels. Do you get the feeling that you would fit in?
Although social media is a fantastic tool for research and networking remember it works both ways. Be mindful of what you post as once you are connected with these companies they will equally be able to research you.
2. It’s Good to Talk
If you have the opportunity, speak to people working in the area that piques your interest. Ask questions about what the job entails, the hours, career growth, the bad points. You will be surprised how much people enjoy imparting their wisdom.
Choosing a career is a big choice, we all want to get it right first time. Follow these steps, use the tools you have at your disposal and you won’t be far off finding the perfect job.
Here are some links that you may find helpful:
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