Do you know what to do for a career when you graduate? Don’t worry if you don’t! It’s a common feeling at this time of year, when you leave your student life and out into the career market.
It’s not a time to panic, but to assess who you are, what you enjoy, and what you want to do for your career. There are so many career opportunities and options it can very easily seem overwhelming. There are many important career decisions to be made but if you think logically about your motivations it’s easy to decide what to do for your career.
What career is right for you?
This is the biggest question you can answer, so break it down. Think about what you value in your career. Is it:
- Helping others?
- Following your passion
- Life/work balance?
- Flexibility and freedom over what you do?
Narrowing down what motivates you to work hard will help you to evaluate the best career options for you.
What are your career strengths and weaknesses?
Knowing what you are good at, and what you are bad at, is a key factor in deciding what career is right for you. Be honest with yourself, and try and get unbiased opinions where you can. Don’t rely on family or friends who only want the best for you and may also have their own agenda for your future career! This is where using an independent careers advisor is a great advantage. Using professional tools, such as career tests or career profiling as well as speaking to an experienced, qualified career counselor, will leave you with a better sense of your personality, motivations and skills and a clear idea of what is the best career for you.
What do you enjoy?
You won’t last long in any career if you don’t enjoy what you do. Think about your hobbies and what you have enjoyed studying and doing during your time as a student or any other work, paid or voluntary, that you have undertaken.
Take time to try out different career roles to get a feel for what you like. Work experience in a few different industries can be a real eye opener. You may think you want a career in media, but the realities of that career path may not suit how you work. It’s important to get a feel of the job before you commit and get a career plan in place.
Build up your CV
Now you know a bit more about what you want to do, it’s time to hone your skills to make an impact at job interviews. Gain experience, speak to knowledgeable people in your industry and really get a feel for the career you want to enter.
Not only will it confirm your goals (or alternatively show you that it may not be the right career path for you before you go too far down that route!) but such experience bolsters your CV giving you a greater advantage in any of the career paths you might apply for.
This can also apply to activities outside of your career. When you’re in a quiet period between studies and work, use your time productively to show your future employers your drive, transferable skills and personality. Now is the time to consider some volunteering, join a community group or work on a blog or website. Good luck!