Entrepreneurship, Other

Deciding a career path after education

4 Feb , 2015  

Around 350,000 students graduated in the UK in 2014 and the next step for students is often a Masters, an internship or graduate scheme. However, these paths may not suit everyone and even if they do it is difficult to know which particular career path is best for you.

One of the biggest issues students face, is that they are unsure of the sort of job roles they should apply for. This derives from a combination of not knowing what roles are available and not having a clear understanding of what the job roles entail. It’s okay to not know what you want to be doing and it’s probably more common than you think. The best thing you can do is to take dedicate time to seriously consider your career plans rather than sitting on the topic and hoping that one-day you will have a light bulb moment where you suddenly are hit with your dream job description.

Here are some pointers to defining some possible career options:

  1. Ask yourself what experience do you already have? What did you like, what did you hate, what were you good at, was there a position where you thought: I’d love to have that job? If you don’t have experience, think about your education. What modules did you like? Speak to your personal advisers or career advisers, they are particularly good at picking out certain career options that you may have never considered.
  1. Ask your friends, family and network. Don’t just ask them if they know any jobs, ask them to pick out your best qualities, ask them to say what they think you would be suited too. It’s incredibly hard to judge yourself and ask yourself what you might be good at. Getting outside perspectives can be extremely valuable and can help you pick out strengths and weaknesses which may have been unknown to you. Try this with your lecturers, friends, uni/college colleagues and past employers too.
  1. Don’t just do a Google search: A certain percentage of jobs are never even shown on the Internet. Connect, connect and do more connecting! Make use of your existing network and keep expanding it. Ask your connections if they know of any mentors/managers/recruiters that can help by talking to you and discussing some possible career options. At the very least, they will have a certain degree of experience which they can share and describe to you.

No matter what you do, any experience is good experience. Remember to always evaluate your roles and keep a constant track of what specific areas of your role you liked and equally what aspects of the role you didn’t like.

Do you like client-facing tasks? Do you enjoy research? Do you like developing ideas and strategies or would you rather execute? Picking out particular competencies you are good at and tasks that you like doing, can help determine which roles you would enjoy the most. And therein lies the biggest difficulty – finding something you like. A job should be something that you want to do and enjoy. Keep this at the core of your career making decisions!

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