When you’re at uni, you’ll probably have a pretty decent idea about what you want to do as a career after you’ve graduated. If that’s not the case, then no worries! Deciding what to do for a career is a big step.
Maybe you’re looking to focus on a specific area of your degree but you’re not sure what. Or it might be the case that you and your degree don’t see eye to eye anymore and you’d like to pursue a career that’s unrelated to your qualification. That’s OK, it happens to more people than you’d expect.
If you’re a little unsure about what the future may hold, we’ve got you covered. Knowing what you want to do when you’ve graduated can stop you stressing over what happens next – that’s why we’ve put together these top tips to give you a bit of career guidance.
1. Quiz yourself
Before you do anything else, ask yourself some straightforward questions as a starting point. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else, so be honest in your answers and see what you come up with:
- What are you good at? Maybe you’ve got some serious art skills, or you have a way with words? Perhaps thinking things through analytically is something you excel at? Whatever your strong points are, bullet point them, so you know what you’re working with.
- What are you interested in? If you have a passion for helping others, then maybe a career in recruitment might be a good fit, for instance. Think about what excites you – do any career opportunities match up with your passions?
- What do you want from a job? There’s no right or wrong answer here, just be honest with yourself. What are you motivated by most when working? Is it money, flexible hours or a role you can progress in?
- What did you enjoy most at university? Think back to any projects, essays, presentations or events that you enjoyed or excelled at. By having them written down, you can then relate their outcomes and tasks to specific job duties.
2. See what’s out there on social media
If you aren’t on social media, then we reckon you should at least create some profiles to help with that job hunt. With loads of info, insights and knowledge there for the taking, it’s a powerful tool for anyone deciding on a career path.
Here’s what the most popular social channels are used for:
- LinkedIn: Used by just about every professional in just about every industry, LinkedIn is the social platform to begin your career journey. Create a professional profile that looks the part and get ready to gorge on some real career knowledge.
- Twitter: Get searching for the relevant hashtags and see what’s out there. There are all sorts of conversations and jargon-free career advice to be found on Twitter.
- Facebook: Likewise, Facebook is a great resource for conversations and career advice. Just be sure to delete the pictures of you and your mates’ big nights out in case any recruiters decide to seek out your profile. (Trust us, they will).
- Blogs: If you know what you want to do, try looking for industry-specific blogs to get into the nitty-gritty of what it’s like to work in your chosen profession.
3. Rack up some experience
If you’re unsure about what career is right for you, then the best way to decide is by giving it a go. Landing some work experience in your chosen field can help you figure things out career-wise; be sure to talk to the people you’ll shadowing during your time for some extra insights.
Work experience also lets you get to know the kinds of people you might be working with in the future. If you share similar skills and interests, then it’s usually a good sign you and your potential career are a match.
When you’ve completed your work experience, take some time to decide whether it’s right for you. If it’s not the right role or field for you, that’s perfectly fine!
The experience will still be a valuable one. Plus, you’ve probably just saved yourself a ton of time and effort to find out a role is one you hate.
At the end of each day, make notes on your thoughts and observations. Ask yourself these questions along the way:
- What did you enjoy?
- What didn’t you enjoy?
- What skills did you have to use?
- How has it changed your understanding of the profession/industry?
- How does this affect your plans for the future?
4. Remember: Keep your options open
Fresh out of uni, it’s tempting to accept the first offer that comes your way, especially if your job search has been going on for longer than you planned. Before you accept the offer, keep these tips in mind:
- Is there a chance to progress? At your interview, did you discuss your development and career progression? Finding this out up front is always better than finding out the hard way.
- What are the entry requirements? Does the role require any new or additional qualifications?
- Double-check the job description: Take a look at the job description again. Does the role match your interests and values?
- What’s the salary like? Starting salaries will differ depending on the industry, and you’ll likely be in a junior position, but is the take-home pay worth the work?
- Will you be trained? Does this potential role have any training opportunities to help you improve your skills, learn new abilities and progress in your role? It’s a bit of a red flag if not.
Looking for extra info on how to find more about the roles you’re interviewing for? Check out these eight essential questions you should be asking during your interviews.
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