Whether you’re a school leaver, just graduated, or looking for a change of direction in your working life, you need to consider what to look for in a job.
Some people are ambitious and want something challenging that offers rapid progression and healthy financial reward. Others have a passion for working in an area that might bring personal reward rather than a large pay cheque. Or it could be job security that drives you, or something that fits with your day-to-day life and commitments and doesn’t take over.
Regardless of your motivations, how to choose the right career path is a significant decision that needs to take several factors into account.
Think about your strengths and skills, your interests, values and passions to help you decide on a career. What personality type are you, would you rather work in a team or independently, in a large company or somewhere smaller and more personal.
What are you good at, that could be core skills that suit you to a profession, or natural talents that you’d like to put to good use in the world of work.
What activities or subjects excite you the most? Are you good with numbers, do you want to work with children and young people, would you like to spend most of the day outdoors. Finding a job that revolves around something you’re already passionate about is a very good start.
When you’re deciding on a career, ask yourself what matters most to you when looking for a job. How important is a good work-life balance, do you want job security, creativity, social impact or financial reward?
Find out more about different industries and job roles and research what the career pathways are if you enter a particular sector. Look at the qualifications, responsibilities and growth opportunities associated with each option. It could be that you must enter at a lower level, or undergo training with a view to moving on to the area you are keen to get involved in.
Think about what qualifications you already have and whether the job you want requires anything specific in terms of training or certifications. It might be helpful to arrange some courses for yourself to improve your knowledge, and to find out for certain whether that dream job would be right for you.
Find out if there’s a growing demand for the field you are interested in. Look at market trends and assess what opportunities might be available. Networking groups can help you meet professionals in your chosen sector and provide insights into the industry, as well as potentially opening a few doors.
Once you know what you want to do and are applying for jobs, find out as much as you can about the culture at the companies you are considering applying to. Do they align with your preferences? Some roles demand long hours and commitment, while others are more flexible. Decide what you need to achieve the work-life balance you’re looking for.
Think carefully about whether the salary on offer is enough for you to live on, but also assess how it is likely to increase as you become more experienced. Take any employee benefits and potential bonuses into consideration as you consider your financial needs and goals.
If it’s feasible, try to find internships or part-time roles in your chosen field. If you already have experience in a sector, you could try freelancing, which would help you understand if the job is the right fit, and help you gain experience and build contacts within the industry.
If you’ve thought long and hard about what you want to do and are still determined to do it, then trust your intuition. Sometimes your instincts will guide you towards the best decision. At the same time, keep an open mind. Be flexible and accept that if you choose something and it doesn’t work out, you’ll have learned from it and can put what you learned to good use in making alternative plans.
Finding the best job for you might involve trial and error. Some people know exactly what they want to do when they leave school, college or university. Plenty of others don’t. Take your time, don't rush the decision-making process, and focus on finding a role that is best suited to your strengths, interests and long-term aspirations.
ACS Staffing Solutions can advise on the options and opportunities when it comes to choosing a career. Contact us online or give us a call on 01604 704058.
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