Deciding what career you want is no easy thing. Indeed you have to think long and hard about it and consider what is going to make you happy, as well as ensure that you’re going to be good at it and of course money will no doubt come into the decision too.
The following 5 tips are essential to keep in mind when you are trying to work out what your future career should be.
1. Remember it’s YOUR decision
It is always worth taking on the advice of your parents, friends and careers advisors, however, at the end of the day you have to remember that it is you who has to make the decision. You are the most qualified to know what you like, dislike and are good at. You have to think about what you really want in life, no one else should ever take the responsibility of assigning you a career, so make sure that:
a. You don’t let them
b. You don’t expect them to.
2. Don’t be easily put off by specific roles, be open to accept new challenges
When you’re first starting out, everything will be new to you. Therefore try not to be put off by the more specific jobs or industries where more training might be needed, such as accountancy, law or IT services.
You have to remember that the ideal job is unlikely to jump out and bite you. You have to be willing to challenge yourself, learn new things and make your own mind up about the working world instead of listening to society’s opinion all the time. Your first job doesn’t have to be your only job, make the most of what you can learn and then move on if you want to.
3. Do A LOT of research
This is one of the most crucial tips to follow and involves a huge variety of research channels. If you have a few careers in mind that you are interested in then do everything you can to connect to others working in those industries. Do not be afraid to connect to these people on social platforms like LinkedIn and strike up friendly conversations.
Tell them you are researching your future career and this will give them the opportunity to tell you about their experiences and no doubt give you advice and possibly even invite you for an informal discussion at the office to give you a better insight. You also need to make the most of other networking channels, such as public industry events and careers fairs, where you’ll have free reign to ask as many questions as you like.
Use your parents as a networking channel too. Do they have friends working at companies you’d like to work for? If so, ask them out for a coffee to discuss what working there involves and see if it interests you. Use social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to delve into organisations’ backgrounds and use what you find to build up pictures of what it would be like to work there.
4. Before applying to work anywhere, try to find their public mission, philosophy or value statements
You should be able to find these, for most companies, on their individual corporate websites, where you will also be able to see information about annual turnover, directors, investors, sustainability and much more. Read all (or some) of these statements thoroughly, if you can find them, as they will give you great insight into what kind of company you could be working for.
Working for a company that you believe in is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are going to get satisfaction from the work that you do. So, if you like the sound of their values or think that their mission is one that you can commit to, go ahead and fill in that application form.
5. Don’t be afraid of volunteering
So many people see volunteering, work experience or internships as a waste of time because you’re not earning any money but do not become so misguided. Working for free can offer you so much and does not have to be done somewhere that’s not going to contribute to your career search. Not only does volunteering help you to make new friends but it will also link you up to many worldly wise contacts, many of whom just might be able to offer you some useful career advice.
There are an endless amount of both national and international volunteering and work experience opportunities across many different sectors, from working with orphans and wildlife conservation to teaching, science, ecotourism and the more office based opportunities in marketing, advertising, event management and the like.
You have a huge selection of careers to choose from so don’t dilly dally, start your research and begin compiling a list of everything you like and dislike and above all, get involved whether that means networking, volunteering or temping.