Choosing a career has traditionally been a decision made while at school or certainly once you’ve graduated school, and people generally stayed in that career until they retired. Younger generations often followed parents into the same areas of endeavour. Things are very different now. Changing career mid-stream is not uncommon, and can happen more than once in a person’s working life. So if you’re just starting out, or just looking for a change, how do you go about choosing a new career?
The obvious place to start is with something you either have an interest in, or enjoy doing. It could be anything from real estate, to medicine, fashion, sports, or IT – the list is almost endless. Next you need to think about what you’re good at, and try to find one or more skills and interests that could be combined together into one activity. I remember clearly a conversation I had with a Year 10 student at a careers expo I attended a number of years ago. He was struggling to answer the question of what he wanted to do when he finished school.
Firstly I asked him what were some of the things he enjoyed doing in his spare time. He told me that he enjoyed all kinds of sports, but particularly basketball. Next I asked him what were his best subjects at school. He told me that he was good at English, and enjoyed creative writing. My suggestion for him, was to consider working as a sports journalist, as it combined a skill he was good at with an activity he enjoyed. He of course needed to further explore in more detail what the job involved, whether the job suited his personality, what training would be involved, and what was the scope for career development.
I didn’t ever hear what he decided, but he had direction for moving forward. Regardless of your age and experience, the process is the same. Use our skills audit to help you identify what you’re good at, and then combine that with something you enjoy doing. Talk to people working in the field where you can, and if possible organise a work trial.