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Getting the Lowdown on Picking the Right Career Path
Author: Andrew Seward
Date: 22nd March 2017


Are you familiar with the saying “I’m in the wrong line of work”? It’s probably fair to say that the vast majority of us question our career decisions on occasion.

It may have been the right choice of a career, but you didn’t know something else was a choice when you chose the career you’re in.

When the day-job gets the better of you and you plan on changing career, you’ll want to do everything you can to make certain that you don’t make the same error in judgement again and choose a career path you don’t like, or something that doesn’t fulfil your internal needs.

To ensure you get your career onto a fulfilling path, it’ll help tremendously to put some time into researching your options so you go into any new career with a clear goal in mind, and a plan to get you where you want to go.

5 Steps to Research Career Opportunities

1:Read about it

If you’re at a stage where you have no clue, there are career books written for you. To name a couple, there’s The A – Z of Careers by Susan Hodgson or the Penguins Guide to Careers. Those books aren’t free though. If you want to stick on the free research route, you need nothing more than your internet connection, or that of your local library.

Some career guide resources include:

 

When you feel you’ve identified a career you’re at least interested in, but still not certain, get more specific on what you read.

2: Books on industry specific careers

Amazon Kindle is a power house of self-published books. It’s enabled many a professional to publish career specific books, such as how to become a chef, Beginners Guide: How to Become an Architect and How to Become a Nutritionist.

If you can’t find a book written about your career choice, then another thing you could try – or in addition to – is to search for this online:

A day in the life of a (insert job title)

Using the term Nutritionist as an example, this interview with a Registered Nutritional Therapist details some of the things the job entails day-to-day.

Many a job you think would be ideal for you turns out completely different to what you imagined, so without actually speaking to someone who does the job, the next best thing is to seek out interviews someone in the field has done; a day in the life of search queries tend to find them. If that fails, try other search queries such as an interview with a ____. If there’s someone prominent in the industry you’re thinking of, search for interviews with their name, or publications they’ve done. Most career professionals list their publications either on their personal website or on their LinkedIn.com profile.

3: Narrowing further with forums

The better option would be to ask questions to someone you know who works in the field you’re considering, but chances are, it’s unlikely you know someone doing exactly what you’re interested in doing.

When that’s the case, forums/discussion boards are where to turn to dig deeper into any career. The catch is though that they must be either business related or specific to your career path. Not general forums like Care2, but specific forums/discussion boards.

For example, if you were considering becoming a primary school teacher you could include as part of your research http://www.twinkl.co.uk/forum - a support forum for primary school teachers. To find specific industry forums, you can use search operators on Google search.

“your career choice” inurl:uk inurl:forum

The same search can be done from http://www.google.com/advanced_search - just fill in the fields you need. It’s easier than trying to remember the search operators for various types of searches.

Even if you want to become a flight attendant, there’s a forum board for that too.

4: Identify the entry level requirements

Once you know you have your choice of career on the right track, the next thing you’ll want to know about is how to get your foot in the door. In every industry, there are recognised entry routes. Some careers have specific qualifications you need to get an entry level position.

To find out the requirements to gain entry into the career, there are a couple of places to check.

  • Job boards
  • Your local college

 

Some careers can be accessed just with experience, transferrable skills or minimal qualifications. Others require specific qualifications, for which part of your course can include work experience too.

Check the requirements for jobs on job boards and in addition to that, any qualifications you find that are listed, even if they’re preferable to employers, check with your local college what the requirements are to get onto the courses needed. 

5: Plan your career from scratch

 

No matter the career choice, there’s always going to be progression paths. Do you see yourself in the same position? Or do you fancy more challenges with promotions and salary increases along the way?

Map out where you go once you get your foot in the door. Don’t forget that some career choices will have an option at some point when you have experience to move into a self-employed position as a contractor or a consultant. If that’s something you’d be working toward, include that in your career progression plan, and the amount of experience and certifications you’d need for that to happen.

In Conclusion

With a carefully thought out approach to your career, you can research it intensively to decide for certain it’s a path you want to commit to, and put a plan in place to make your career a reality, with goals top of mind, and progression routes to get you where you want to go.

Never again be confused about what you want to be doing for a living. Research the opportunities, find something interesting and identify how to get started and then how to progress.