How to approach ‘career’ decisions

How to approach ‘career’ decisions

Many students now will be looking ahead to what they want to do when they have finished their education.

Some children will be organising work experience and others will be deciding what A levels or other qualifications they will be taking.

A small minority of children know for certain from an early age what it is they want to do and will ruthlessly pursue it.

But for most, they need guidance and will have to investigate various paths.

Careers staff will often say that the jobs schoolchildren will do in the future don’t yet exist.

But that is no reason for them not to think ahead about the type of future they see for themselves.

Here are a few tips for those who are turning their minds to what career they want – and for their parents, guardians and teachers whose influence is crucial.

It is worth asking children to decide whether they are more of an introvert or an extrovert? Or in other words, would they be happier being in front, or behind, a camera?

Just telling a child he or she is an introvert or extrovert is not good enough. The youngsters have to understand this aspect of their character. They may never have thought about it before.

It indicates whether or not working closely with others would be suitable.

It is a generalisation to some extent as we all have to engage with other people, but some people are more energised by this and for others, it saps their energy if they are constantly dealing with others.

For example, those in the retail trade or working in restaurants and hotels can spend a significant part of the job dealing with the general public.

Other jobs can function more behind the scenes and be dealing with issues rather than individuals, or with other staff whom they get to know, making interaction easier.

It is also worth thinking about the things children enjoy doing most as it may be possible for them to follow a passion.

Obviously, some careers, such as acting, are very difficult to pursue because it requires a particular talent.

However, careful thought about what children most like doing might have some bearing on a career.

At the very least it might be possible to incorporate what they enjoy with some aspect of a job.

It is also worth encouraging children to consider what they are good at.

For example, some people love administrative and organisational work while others find this a chore. Usually, we don’t enjoy the things that we find difficult and boring.

Children should also decide whether they are more academic or practical-minded.

Many may of course be both, but it is worth being honest.

For example, working as a university researcher or lecturer would require academic skills, whereas working as a carpenter would be very practical.

When I was at school, we generally followed a humanities/artistic pathway or a scientific/mathematical pathway when considering A Levels.

This kind of distinction can still be useful in identifying which kind of skills a child might have. There are of course some who are equally balanced in both directions.

What about technology? In the 21st century, we all have to have a modicum of technical skills and be computer literate.

However, someone may have a particular aptitude in this area. So when considering a career this could be an important factor.

Most people in the modern world will change careers or adjust their pathways as they go along.

Nevertheless, it is important to try and identify and pinpoint what might work for a particular individual.

There are some people who are absolutely certain about what they want to do, but many people have little idea when they leave formal education.

If they have some idea about what they are good at, what type of personality they have and what is realistic in a career then they are more likely to be happy in their work.