How Can I Figure Out My Future Career?
How many times have you been asked ‘What do you want to be when you’re older? Sometimes it can be hard to know how to answer, especially when everyone is asking - from your teacher to your great uncle!
But how do you know what career is right for you when you leave school? And should you know right now?
Well the answer is no. Kind of…
It isn’t important to have decided on your ideal career now. But there is a secret to being motivated and finding a job you love when you’re ready. And that thing is focus.
Start Focusing on your Career Early
Fiona Biggins, a career coach who helps young people figure out their ideal jobs, says “thinking about your career starts at primary school…I remember being told I was ‘emotionally intelligent’ when I was 9 or 10 and that comment stuck with me.
I coached a 14 year old girl recently who is considering a career in art and design. It took lots of encouragement to get her to picture her future and a career using her talents. She imagined a career in animation and is now putting action steps into gaining work experience in this field.”
So for those of you in school who are already focused on finding a career, whatever that may be, there’s a good chance you will find success and, best of all, all that learning (revision, tests and lessons) can be seen as part of the bigger picture, an awesome job!
There’s proof to all this too. Researchers analyzed the career aspirations of more than 11,000 children taking part in a huuuuge study and found that just having a plan was really beneficial! Yep - it didn’t matter if they wanted to be a vet and ended up working in finance, having that goal of a rewarding career had a positive effect on their career success.
And the truth is, some of us will be doing jobs in ten years’ time, that no-one has even heard of now, so it doesn’t always make sense to have that career locked down at school. Just think, a few years back, none of us knew people could earn money out of writing out Facebook statuses and tweets. So feeling like you have to decide right now what you want to do for the rest of your life isn’t always the best thing to do.
Fiona says, “Like anything in life, what you focus on gets attention and then gets accomplished. If you are focused on your career aspirations and what you are good at, then its easier to stay on track.”
It's always a good idea to speak to a career advisor early on too. Schedule an appointment with your school's career service and speak to a career advisor about your options.
Tips for Staying Focused on your Career
It’s all well and good to tell you to keep focused, but how do you actually do that? Here are Fiona’s and Success at School’s tips to finding that focus, and keeping it.
1) Be aware of those around you. And we’re not just talking about the people who have walked past you today. Actually take notice of the people you see every day who are working. What are their jobs? That guy dressing the mannequins in your favorite shop - did you know he’s a visual merchandiser? Or the woman at the gym - she’s a personal trainer.
2) Keep an open mind. You might think a sporting career is 100% for you, but there are THOUSANDS of other options out there. While you’re observing people’s jobs think to yourself: would I like to do that? And if you would, write it down, bear it in mind. The key is to keep your ear to the ground for career opportunities. Sometimes it's not what you know but who you know that lands you a great career opportunity.
3) Visualise your goals. So are you set on some potential jobs? Create a vision board with images, quotes, articles, souvenirs, and information. Add to it, change it around, cut things out of magazines to stick on it. Make it original.
Remember your dream job can change but your focus doesn’t have to!
For more information on finding the right career for you, check out Success at School's career finder database.