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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Which career is right for you?

Finding the right career can be hugely rewarding, so it’s worth putting some effort into career planning. Start by thinking about what motivates you as a person, then identify careers that match your skills and interests.

Finding a career to suit you

While it can be tempting to skip straight to looking at specific careers, it’s often a good idea to first spend some time thinking about what motivates you as a person.

What are your interests, inside and outside work - and what are you looking for from a career? Once you’ve worked this out, you can start building up a picture of your ideal job - then find out which careers match it most closely.

Career planning: where to start

Unless you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to do, it can be difficult to know where to start. And if you do have a career in mind, how do you know whether you’ve considered all your options?

As a starting point, you could try sitting down with a piece of paper and listing:

  • courses you’ve taken in the past, or are taking now
  • any jobs you’ve had, including voluntary work
  • interests outside work
  • any other significant experiences, like travelling

Then ask yourself:

  • why you chose to do them
  • which parts you really enjoyed
  • which parts you found frustrating or boring
  • which parts you were best at
  • which parts you found a challenge
  • what other people have said about your contribution
  • what other people have told you you’re good at

You should start to see some patterns emerging: the types of skills you enjoy using, the sort of environment you perform best in and the types of people you like working with.

You can use this knowledge to help pinpoint areas of work you might enjoy.

Exploring types of careers

Once you’ve got an idea of areas you might want to work in, the next step is to check out some career profiles. These will give you information about the opportunities available in a particular line of work - and what skills and qualifications you’re likely to need.

Help with career planning

Talking to a careers adviser may help you focus on what you are looking for from a career - and work out how to get where you want to be.

Get advice online, by phone or in person

The National Careers Service is a careers and skills advice service. You can get advice online or over the phone by calling 0800 100 900. You can also arrange to meet a careers adviser face-to-face near where you live or book a free call back from an adviser.

Career planning and advice for young people

Follow the link below for tips on career planning and sources of advice if you’re under 20.

If you’re a graduate or you’re working towards a higher education qualification

Follow the link below for sources of information and advice on graduate careers.

Next stage: career considerations

Once you’ve got an idea of careers that are likely to suit you, see ‘Career considerations’ for tips on things to consider while doing your research - like pay, location and getting the qualifications you’ll need.

Additional links

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Get careers and skills advice

Get careers advice online or speak with a National Careers Service adviser by calling 0800 100 900

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