For more advice about choosing or changing careers, take a look at the links to your left.
Graduate Careers Advice Video: Choosing Graduate Jobs
It’s the big one guys, career choice. The dreaded career choice. It’s a decision that’s going to affect the rest of your working life and it’s just so hard especially when everyone else seems to know what they want to do. Fortunately, I went to see some top experts to find out their advice.
I think it’s really about research. Most of us choose our first career with less time than we spend choosing an outfit for a night out, it really is a “off we go, this is the job I’ve going to have” or it’s because we’ve got so much debt from student loans that we take the one that pays the most money so we can pay those debts off as soon as possible and then find ourselves in a career we don’t like.
There are two problems. One is, you don’t know what’s out there and the other is, and this is not as acknowledged as much, is you don’t really know what’s in here. You don’t know what you’re about as an individual and that’s why I think this exploration process is really quite important. But I think people don’t do that exploration. People are just too ready to accept they’re lucky, they’re unlucky or everybody hates that job, well, they might hate it but you might not.
I think it’s really important for you to pick your career for what you want to do. I know somebody who I met through work who spent a long time training to be a lawyer because it’s what her parents wanted her to do, only to find that she really didn’t want to do that and what she really wanted to do is be a doctor and at the age of 32 she has finally qualified as a doctor.
Research shows emphatically that people are actually conditioned to do what is expected of them and this is where so many people go wrong, so rather than doing what’s expected of you, if you do what feels right for you then you’ve got a greater chance of success.
Easier said than done. But how do people figure out what’s right for them?
Do you think you can manage other people, are you a problem solver, are you creative, are you numerate, do you know about computers?
If you can assess yourself, if you can know yourself that’s such a powerful tool.
Do you have a high need to achieve, do you want a high salary, do you want something that is going to be interesting and worthwhile.
There may be something in the pit of your stomach that says “ You know what, I’ve got to be an astronaut”, and if that’s what it is, you should go all out to do that.
Do you want to travel, do you want to work in a team?
Understanding your value set is very important because if you understand your value set, in other words what drives you, what really is important to you, then you have got a much great chance of success.
What about family and other circumstances? What else do you want you want to do, where do you want to live, do you want to travel/work abroad?
What is the stuff I can practically achieve that meets more of my goals than it fails to meet. So it’s a pragmatic thing here.
To be honest, that sounds like it’s going to take up a lot of head space, can’t you just do it for the money?
Don’t do it for the money because if you come in here and you sit here for 12 hours a day just because you think you’re going to earn a dollar and it’s not the thing that you love, first of all you will be miserable and no amount of money can compensate for the misery and second of all you will be rubbish at it because you’re not enjoying it and so you won’t actually end up earning any money anyway.
You have two different approaches with people thinking about graduate jobs. One is thinking about the occupation, I’m interested in what I will be doing and the other person is interested in who they will be working for.
Don’t just pick a brand. Don’t just pick a brand that has got a great reputation and you can see yourself working there. Think to yourself, what do I like? When you are interviewed for a graduate job find out what that job entails and you should be asking yourself those key questions. If you think you are a strategic person and that’s what you enjoy doing, your questions should always be about whether the job is strategic, what are the elements to this job? If there is anything that doesn’t sound strategic ask a question about it.
This is a full-on task. Can we get some help here?
There are psychometric tests that you can do. There are a lot of websites online nowadays that offer those facilities and a lot of them are free. But equally if you are working with us or other career coaches and consultants, although we do a lot of this stuff there are other very specific exercises that can bring out this information.
There are always opportunities of getting informal work experience and maybe going to shadow somebody or even just trying to find somebody, whether it’s through a careers advisor or contact at university. If you are at university and you think you might be interested in law but you are in history, you have a law faculty. You could go and find one of the law tutors and you could go and see if perhaps they could put you in touch with someone who is a practicing solicitor and actually just pick their brains, try to find out what it is that drives them and what interests them and to see how that matches with your personality and what your perceptions of that industry are.
What a careers advisor does is say, here are a range of professions, A to Z and my sense from what you’ve been saying is that ‘M’ ‘P’ ‘R’ and ‘S’ might be of particular interest to you. Why don’t you focus your first look at those because I think that they may give some of what you need. You really need to go onto the next stage which is to listen to somebody talking, what is it really like?
Cheers Terry! That’s what our website does!
Work out what you’re really good at and also work out what you love doing and if you can find a career that meets both then you are absolutely laughing.
The one thing you’re trying to avoid is ever having to look back and start a comment about what you’ve done with the words, “if only.”
So it’s both simple and hard. The simple bits the formula, know what’s out there, what’s in here, match the two together and you’re laughing. The hard bit is the research, sorry guys, that’s down to you.
© Copyright CareerPlayer 2008-2016.