This week I wanted to write some handy tips about how to go about exploring careers if you’re at a crossroads.
- The first stage. Think about what type of role you’d like to explore. This is the self-awareness stage of career planning, which I talk about in an earlier blog.
- Research on the web. A good starting point for graduate careers is prospects.ac.uk . This website has a wide range of careers that you can explore. It has really good case-studies of people working in the role and also links off to more specialised websites. There’s also a quiz on this site that can help with giving you some ideas that match your interests. For other careers, there’s the national careers service website.
- Your networks. This could be through friends, contacts you’ve met through training courses/conferences you’ve attended etc. Who do you already know who’s working in the area that you’re exploring? Can you speak to them? If you don’t know anyone, can you find a professional body or organisation that might help with introducing you to someone? You might even have the chance to shadow them for a day in their role, to get a flavour of what the job’s really like. People are usually very open to talking about their career and how they got into their role. This is how you can learn about the role and it might even open some doors for you.
- Volunteering. Are there any such opportunities in the area you are looking for? Read my earlier blog about volunteering.
- Further training. Your exploration should clarify whether you need to have further training in this area. If you do, then could you explore doing this part time, so that you can continue to earn while you learn? You’ll also need to plan how to fund the course.
- Work-life balance. It’s very important to consider this in your plans, especially if you find there’s a need for further training.
Finally, there’s a careers theory called ‘happenstance theory’ which is one my favourites and it’s about how if you are open to change and having an awareness of all the opportunities available. If you have this attitude, then chance and being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference to getting into a career.
I wish you all the best of luck!