Categorized | Career

Choose Your Career In Seven Easy Steps

Posted on 16 October 2008

If you have decided to go into full time employment - as opposed to continue studying – then you have basically two options:
Option 1: Work for yourself.
Option 2: Work for someone else – in which case who and why?
If you choose to work for yourself, you will need to have a good idea and plan for how to make it all pay. If you need any help with this, we have experienced business advisors who can help you.
If you feel the best route for you is to work for someone else - i.e. build a career, then here are the key things you need to think about

1) Many people just go into an industry because it sort of fits with their degree or seems the “sexy” one to be in – only to discover years later that deep inside they had always wanted to do, or be, something else.

2) Corporate life is really a meritocracy – you rise in relation to how “good” you are – if your face fits etc. The glamour of flash cars and lavish lifestyles soon fades if your heart is not in it as the years go by – so find something you will enjoy being involved in for the long run!

So now is the most important time in your life to consider these questions:
1. Do you have a real sense of vision and purpose for your life at this stage or are you just looking for a “good job”?
2. Do you have a real sense of which industry / type of work you want to do for the next 30 years or more?
3. Do you have a real sense of what sort of role you aspire to – expert in your field, generalist, leader, team member etc.

Leaders for example will often need to have general skills – in industry this could include time spent in sales, project management, marketing, finance etc.

1) Are you up for that – or does the very idea turn you off?
2) Would you prefer to stay in one field and get totally immersed in that?

If you had a magic wand – where would you be in 10 years time - and what would it have taken you to get there? Think this through – it will start to give you some insights into what might be a good thing to be starting to do now.
These may seem big questions at this stage - but they are essential for you to consider. One absolutely guaranteed question you will be asked at any interview with a quality organisation is “Where do you see yourself in 3, 5, 10 years time”. Why do they ask this seemingly impossible question? Simple – they want to employ people who know what they want to give and get out of life – not just people who “want a good job”! From their point of view they are going to spend hard earned money training you. They would prefer it if you hung around long enough to give something back! (certainly not just to say “thank you” and leave after 18 months to go and work for one of their competitors!)

So if you need to start thinking a bit more about these questions -
or just confirm what you already know – why not take a look at Understanding your values, Defining your purpose in life, Defining short/medium and long term goals, Choice and decision making.
By the way – being 30 may seem a lifetime away, but when you look back it is not far at all – those 10 years – these next 10 years – are your critical years for building the experience and track record you need for the rest of your career. That is not meant to be scary – just make sure that what you do at each step, whatever it is, you will not look back and say “that was a waste of time – I knew I should have done something different”. Make mistakes – of course (how do we learn otherwise?) – but try to make good ones!! If you are ever in doubt – talk to someone who knows more than you do and who’s advice you respect – don’t try and crack the world all on your own!

You may also like to check out Job Search, CV writing and Interview skills as well as the key business skills section.

Good luck!
Enjoy the journey!
Don’t panic!
Get moving!

This post was written by:

- who has written 318 posts on Higher Education and Career Blog.

Contact the author

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Kelley (Mr CV) says:

    Excellent advice. Job Searchers do need to change the way that they do things and need to begin to question whether or not they have been doing things correctly to achieve job search success. They must realize that they have been doing things totally wrong and that if they continue doing things in the same way they will never reach the success they deserve in their career and life. The people I meet whilst running my CV writing service do start to to seek out the best ways to achieve success and they go beyond the conventional thinking. If success in life was achieved by conventional thought, wouldn’t everyone be successful?

Leave a Reply