How To Choose The Right Career Path
It’s often said that choosing a career is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. The right job will enthuse and inspire you, maximising your strengths and helping you live a happy and fulfilling life.
In contrast, embarking on a career for the wrong reasons may leave you dissatisfied, stressed or unhappy. Thankfully, however, long gone are the days when work choices were set at 16 and a job was, quite literally, for life.
Today’s young people have more options for work, study and development than ever before and changing careers later in life has never been so easy. With so many options, however, making up your mind can be tricky. You may have many different skills or be interested in more than one profession or job. Perhaps you have a burning desire to teach but you would also love to be your own boss and build your own enterprise? Maybe you can’t decide which A-level subjects to study at undergraduate level or your GCSE results weren’t what you hoped for? There are lots of factors to consider. Here is our expert guide to choosing the career path that is right for you.
Focus on your skills
It goes without saying that, when considering a career, you should focus on the things you’re good at. Working within a subject area or field you excel in will give you a greater sense of enjoyment and fulfilment than opting for something you hate! As well as your skills, however, you also need to think about what sort of work you would enjoy. You may be gifted at learning languages, for instance, but if you don’t enjoy working closely with people, a career as an EU interpreter may push you outside of your comfort zone. In addition, your personal values should be considered. Perhaps you love the idea of developing new drugs and medicines but the thought of working for a big pharmaceuticals company throws up ethical questions in your mind? If you have conflicting ideas or are unsure where to begin, your local careers office or recruitment agency will be able to offer you a careers test, which will suggest suitable appropriate job options, based on your skills, personality and values.
Consider the alternatives
It’s great to aim high, but it’s also important to remain realistic. There may be a career path you have dreamed of your whole life but, for whatever reason, it’s not going to work for you. If so, don’t despair as there are often achievable alternatives just waiting to be explored. If you went to RAF selection intending to be a fighter pilot but were scuppered by your less than perfect eyesight, for instance, you could explore being a navigator, air loadmaster, engineer or air steward, all of which would also allow you to fly and see the world. Or maybe your GCSEs and post 16 results weren’t quite good enough for law school but your passion lies in the UK legal system? Consider exploring access routes into legal support jobs, such as working as a legal secretary, legal PA or a legal counsel. Your local recruitment office will have a wealth of information about access into these alternative careers.
Go into a job for the right reasons
Whatever career path you choose, it should be one that you have chosen willingly. Begrudgingly applying for medicine at a red brick university just to please your parents or entering into a profession simply because of the starting salary is unlikely to result in a happy and fulfilling career. Focus on your skills, interests and ambitions and not those of others around you and you will be in a much better position. For example, if you have experience in science but aren’t feeling passionate about your current pharmaceutical role, you could consider a career in renewable energy; there’ll be no ethical dilemmas and you can enjoy rewarding work, knowing you are helping the world for the better. If you’re a graduate, or experienced and making the transition from another sector, there will be an opportunity for you in Renewable Energy. The range of roles are diverse requiring a variety of skills, with staff employed in everything from Research and Development, to Construction and Maintenance.
It’s never too late
We’ve all had jobs that didn’t work out perfectly. Sometimes, even with the best will in the world, your chosen career has not turned out the way you had hoped. But it’s never too late to reassess, retrain and embark on a new chapter. Changing careers has never been so easy and there are often training bursaries, help with childcare and other assistance available to those wanting to make the transition. So, if engineering left you disappointed and you have a burning desire to follow your heart and teach or you’d love to set up a business after 20 years as a police officer, our message is: it’s never too late!