Do you ever get asked, ‘What do you want to do in life?’ and then struggle to give an answer?
If so, you’re not the only one. Knowing what you want to do a year from now is often tricky, let alone what you’ll be doing in five or ten years’ time. Some lucky people have a firm idea of what their dream job is which is great but most of us don’t just decide what career we’re going to have. It takes a while to figure out.
Yet with so many potential career paths where you can utilise your talents how do you know which one is right for you?
What are your strengths?
It helps to start by looking at what you’re good at. If you like art but have zero painting skills and your sculptures end up worse than a toddler’s, then applying for an art degree is not going to be the best use of your talents. However, if you’re a whizz with numbers and have an analytical mind you might find an economics degree is right up your street.
If you try hard enough it’s possible to be good at most things but your strengths are a good indication of what you should be doing. By understanding those strengths you can start to look at a career that might match them and a work environment that will eventually suit them.
What have you done before?
Whether you’re just starting out on your career or whether you’ve had time away from education and are looking to retrain and launch a new career, thinking about what you’ve done in the past can help you decide what to do in the future.
What jobs have you done previously that you really enjoyed? Is there any work experience or voluntary work that stood out for you and made a real impression? Is there a company you were involved with that you really liked, that had a great culture or vision?
If you can answer those questions you can start to clarify what you liked most about past jobs or experiences and what you liked least. From that you can start to understand what brings out the best in you and what doesn’t.
Get advice from as many people as possible
There are so many dream careers to be had that it’s hard to nail it down sometimes. But by asking as many people as possible for advice you can start to decide whether something really would be a dream career or whether it could end up being a bit of a nightmare.
Speak to people already in the industry you’re interested in. Talk to them about their career aspirations, what they like most about it and what they dislike. Use LinkedIn to look at job descriptions and get a feel for what a role is about. Chat to people at career fairs or ask your university or college for advice. At GSM London we have experts who can help advise you on whether a course is suitable for you and the career you want to pursue.
Ask yourself ‘What is my dream job?’
Another way to figure out what you want to do is to ask yourself what your dream job would be if you could do anything. Consider what you do for fun that you love and decide if there is anything you enjoy enough that you would do it for free.
You can then work backwards and see what qualifications you should have, what entry requirements you’ll need to get on the right course and whether your skills, strengths and personality would be suitable for that role.
It’s also important to not choose a job purely because it seems the most prestigious and will impress other people. Choose instead one that will make you happy but will also allow you to grow, learn and move up the career ladder.
Of course, you may decide that working for someone else just isn’t for you and that you’d be better off building your own business. It’s another path that can be equally rewarding.
Pick a course that will help you find your dream job
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, it’s time to find a course that will help you launch your career. If becoming a solicitor or barrister is your goal, then a specific degree like an LLB (Hons) Law is a must. If you love the idea of becoming an accountant a BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance can help get you there. But if you’re still not quite sure what you want to do, you can keep your options open by studying a more broad-based degree such as a BSc (Hons) Business Management – such a degree can help you get a job in a wide range of industries.