Tips For Picking a Career You'll Love

March 14, 2022, 4:38 p.m.
Finding a career you love is often the top of everyone’s priority list when entering the world of work. As more opportunities are available than ever before, there comes added pressure to seek a job that you enjoy in order to lead a happier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Having the freedom to explore job roles, and ultimately write your own career path is a great privilege, and everyone should believe that aiming high, and reaching for the career you’ve always dreamed of should be something you can do regardless of what comes your way!

With that being said, we’ve shared our top tips for picking a (realistic) career you’ll love below…

1. Understand yourself, your personality and your values

The first (and the most important) step is to understand who you are, and how you work. Having self awareness is a fundamental part of discovering a career path you’re going to love. If you’re unsure on your character and personality, we suggest taking a personality quiz https://www.16personalities.com/ to explore how your personality traits affect various aspects of your life. The results from tests like these can often determine which professional roles you’ll be suited to by matching your personal qualities to those required for the job. For example, being a nurse would require someone to be caring and compassionate. It’s also important to have a think about your values and motivations as a person, if you value time over money, you may not find fulfilment out of jobs that require you to complete long shifts.

2. Identify your personal and professional goals

Leading on from matching your personality to specific job roles, it’s important that you’re aware of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. Both personal and professional goals will have an impact on what motivates you to succeed in your work life. For example, if in the next few years you plan on completing a degree, or attending higher education, you may want to consider a career path that marries up with these aspirations.

Keep these goals in line with the SMART Framework to ensure they’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. If you need further information, visit: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

3. Brainstorm career ideas that you think will suit you

So you’re now aware of yourself, and the goals you want to achieve… but what next?

Get your thinking cap on, grab some paper and start brainstorming the career options that come to your head. When doing this, always refer back to the qualities, values and goals that you previously discovered and make sure they’re relevant to the ideas you’re putting down. At this stage, it’s best to think outside of the box! No idea is a silly idea, and being open-minded about jobs you originally thought you’d dislike may lead to a great discovery.

If you’re struggling to think of ideas, why not complete the Career Quiz available on the Gov UK website: https://beta.nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/

4. Research these career paths

Once you’ve got a list of ideas, you can then begin to research your options and find the most suitable. To do this, we recommend using the Job Profiles tool on the Gov website. This platform allows you to search for a specific job role, and access a profile of information relating to the responsibilities, qualifications, working hours, required skills, salary, and progression. From this information you’ll be able to discover which roles will match your skills, education and goals as well as whether they suit your personal preferences.

At this point, you want to imagine yourself completing the role. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is working, think about being in the working environment, completing the required hours, being responsible and carrying out relevant tasks, and if necessary achieving the relevant qualifications / education to apply for those roles. Can you imagine a role like this being achievable and attainable?

Ask yourself if you’d enjoy doing this, if you’d feel fulfilled, would you be motivated, what aspects would you dislike?

If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could also complete a Pro’s and Con’s analysis for each of your final choices. Here you’d list all the things are are good about the job role, and then all the negatives that also come with it.

5. Gain experience in the role before committing

Finally, if you’re able to, it’s a good idea to complete some first hand work experience in the role(s) you’ve chosen before committing to anything. In some cases, people think a role sounds great and that they’d really enjoy it, later to find out there are aspects of the role that don’t suit their personality, values, goals or habits. The best way to discover if a role is really right for you is to try it out. Think of it like you’re going shopping, if the item you’re looking for is expensive and you’re unsure, you may want to try it on in the changing rooms before you commit to the purchase. Completing a work placement is exactly like this!

Throw yourself into a role, and experience what it is like! Remember to keep open-minded and don’t make a decision before immersing yourself into it. If you’ve completed a work experience placement, and you still love the role, then you know it’s the one for you.