How do I decide on a career choice?

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Deciding on a career choice can be one of the most daunting decisions you will have to make during your youth. With there being a lot of pressure to make the right choice, our guide below will ensure that your decision making process runs as smoothly as possible.


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1. Think about yourself

Making a career choice is a really tough decision and with so many options and opportunities available, it is really important that the decision is made by you.

Firstly, lets start by thinking about yourself. Try and think about the things that you enjoy doing the most and what you think you are good at.

This self-assessment often leads to you finding more about your personality type. This includes your values, interests, soft and hard skills and attitudes. If you are struggling to assess yourself, try using online tools such as https://potential.ly/ (for individual use). Once you have assessed yourself you will then be able to start thinking about which career options are going to suit your personality type.

2. Match your skills to job roles

The next step is to begin thinking about which career choices would match your personality type. Start by thinking about the environment that you would like to work in, and what type of labour would suit you best.

Would you prefer to work inside or outside? Would you prefer to be lifting heavy items or sat in an office answering telephone calls?

Asking these questions to yourself can help you to identify which job roles you don't think are right for you, so that you can focus on researching roles that you think are a good fit.

A great resource to use for this is the National Careers Service - Skills Health Check. Tools like this can help you to identify your skills, interests, personality and motivations before matching them to suitable job roles. After completing the short activities you will have a clearer idea of which career choices you can begin to research.

3. Explore the job roles in detail

A common mistake that people make at this stage of the career search is deciding on one thing and running with it. Although it is good to be passionate about a career choice, it is a smart idea to begin researching your career choices in further detail. Resources like the National Careers Service can help you to do this. Start by researching a role that matches your personality and look at the 'Job Description'. Here you will find a list of duties that you may be required to do whilst working in that role. Ask yourself whether you would enjoy doing those duties on a regular basis. Remember, not everybody enjoys every single aspect of their job so try to remain open minded.

 The next step is to explore additional aspects of your chosen job roles, try and find out the following things:

  • Average Salary
  • Average Working Hours
  • Typical Working Environment
  • Requirements and Qualifications
  • Progression and Training Opportunities
4. Decide on 1 to 3 career options

By this stage you will have a clear idea of which career options you would like to pursue in the future. To ensure you stay focused and motivated, it is key that you decide on a maximum of 3 career choices.

If you are struggling to make a short-list, rank your career options out of 10 for suitability. Think about the progression that the role offers, whether the role is realistic for your current situation and if you can see yourself being in that role in 5 to 10 years time.

Your top 3 choices may have similarities or they may be completely different but with these now implemented in your mind you will be able to identify which progression route is the right one to take.

5. Find a route into that career choice

This is the most important step! You have previously identified a handful of career options that you would like to pursue in the future - but how are you going to get there?

Firstly, you need to understand the routes and opportunities that are available to help you achieve your career success. It is important to keep in mind that some routes are going to be better than others. For example, if you are planning to be a Surgeon then you must attend years of Medical School for training. However, if you are looking to pursue a career in Plumbing an Apprenticeship may be the best route to take.

As previously mentioned, the National Careers Service will help you to identify the best route for each individual career choice.

Our Careers Hub also has a dedicated page to help you understand all of the career options and pathways that are available after Year 11. Click here to visit this page.

Still struggling to decide on a career choice? Why not receive FREE 1 to 1 careers advice from our team? Submit your enquiry here.

Alternatively, we run an Employability Programme every month that aims to help you decide on a career choice whilst gaining essential employability skills and work experience. To find out more about this programme and apply now - Click here.