Researching a career can be a difficult and time-consuming process. With that in mind, here are ten tips to help you achieve your goals.
- Get organised: Before you begin looking at careers, make sure you’ve set up a system for recording the information you find. If you prefer to work on paper, get yourself a notebook or folder and think about the sections you want to divide it into. Use this alongside a diary where you can record any important dates. Similarly, if you prefer to work electronically, make sure you’ve got a calendar and arrange your documents into a system which you understand.
- Make a to-do list: Before you jump straight into research, make a list of what you want to achieve. Write down the careers you want to consider, or the places you want to look. Working through a list in a methodical order will be far more efficient than attempting to juggle everything at once.
- Take a careers test: If you’ve made a list but it’s looking sparse, try doing a career test to give yourself some ideas. You might find that it opens your mind to careers that you hadn’t previously considered. Just remember not do to base all your decisions solely on a test – it will never be perfect!
- Speak to your careers adviser: As well as using online resources, it’s really useful to go and speak to the careers service. Attend a drop-in session or go along to an organised event. Here you’ll be able to get impartial advice on everything from improving your CV to helping you think about whether a specific career is for you.
- Attend a careers fair: A great place to meet employers are careers fairs, where you can get first-hand information and ask employers questions about anything you want. You’ll be able to get advice which specifically helps you, and you can mention your visit in any application you make. Even if you don’t find anything, you’ll probably get a pen or two!
- Keep an eye out for opportunities: Opportunities like internships and work experience are a great way to get real experience of a career. Look out for these things on an employer’s website and make sure you apply as soon as possible – places are often taken quickly.
- Find out about graduate schemes: If you’re looking for graduate jobs specifically, find out if there are any graduate schemes for the career you are interested in. If so, make a note of any deadlines and do some further research about what the scheme entails.
- Think about your CV: When you’re researching a career or employer, think about the specific skills they need you to have. Look at your CV and see whether you have displayed those skills in something you have done. If you haven’t explicitly mentioned them, think about how you can work them into your CV, or go out and do something which demonstrates your abilities.
- Use social media: Social media is a great place to look for a career or find out about a company. Whether you want to use LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, there is a wealth of information waiting for you. Don’t be afraid to tweet an employer, comment on something they share, or ask them a question.
- Stay positive: If you find yourself feeling daunted by it all, don’t worry – everyone does! Keep a positive attitude and an open mind and you’ll soon be on the path to success. If you’re struggling, approach someone who can help you – an adviser, parent or friend. Now go and get that job!
Aaron Marchant works at allaboutcareers.com, a careers advice service for students and graduates.