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Careers, Not Sure What To Do?


Thinking about careers can seem overwhelming when you are not sure what to do. At Moving On we try to provide you with information on hundreds of careers and to inspire you.

Read on for some tips on how to get started choosing a career when you are really not sure what to do with your life

I have no idea what to do, need some inspiration

Inspiration really is the key word when it comes to careers. Often I hear people on the radio being interviewed. Maybe they’re a musician, or a TV presenter and they often talk about how their mum or dad did the same thing. I find myself thinking ‘would you be doing what you are if you hadn’t been inspired by your parent?’

Role models for careers inspiration

Apparently, lots of young people have been inspired to a career in law by watching Suits and a good teacher often inspires pupils to pursue a career as a teacher themselves.  But what happens when you don’t have role models around you or on TV to inspire you? And what about all those great careers that you just don’t hear about much. You know, the behind the scenes, low-profile ones like medical illustrator? – Yes this is a job and a pretty cool one too, where you apply your artistic and photography skills to the medical profession.

It’s almost as if you need a catalogue of careers. A lot of people only consider the obvious roles like lawyer, teacher, director etc. The truth is that there are dozens and dozens of job roles that exist in the legal profession, in the education sector and jobs in the film industry to take the examples above, many of which you may not have heard of – and how can you consider doing it if you don’t know it exists right?

The best place to start when thinking about a career

The best place to start is always with you.  This isn’t just about thinking ‘what do I enjoy?’ – This is important of course – but to be honest, most people don’t really know what they enjoy until they do it and often people do a job and find that something which they never thought they would enjoy, they actually love. Others think that they know what will make them happy and then find that the reality doesn’t match their expectations.

Choosing a career – what do you enjoy?

What you enjoy is complicated – some people love a challenge, so they are happy doing a job which causes them to be stretched every day. Others find the stress of the challenge and reacting to constantly changing situations too much to cope with and want a career which allows them to work steadily at the same thing.  What you think you will enjoy then is important and a good place to start, but also be totally honest with yourself about your present strengths and weaknesses – we only improve by reflecting on our own abilities. If you are rubbish at maths, but really think that a life as an engineer would be your dream-come-true – then don’t give up – get some help to improve your maths and go for it. By acknowledging that you lack skills, you can do something about it.

Careers knowledge is power

As I say, you can’t aim for what you don’t know about. It would be a bit like saying, ‘why didn’t you go to that great pizza place on Ely Street, you love pizza?’ when you had never been told about the restaurant and it didn’t appear on any maps.

How do I find out about careers?

The obvious answer is here at Moving On, because it’s what we do. Hopefully, the articles, interviews and top tips on the site will provide you will plenty of information on careers in all sectors. But also, we hope that the articles will inspire you to think about what other jobs might exist. As an example, our recent piece on horticultural careers highlighted five jobs in horticulture  that you probably haven’t heard about.

So, how do you start looking for careers when you’re not sure what to do? Take inspiration wherever you can – whether it’s from magazines like ours, from the people you meet or the people you see in films and on TV.

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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