What do you want to do when you finish college?
This is probably the most difficult question a student ever has to answer, and many have no clear idea of the answer. A casual approach to career planning can result in a great many final year students leaving university with a useless qualification and a big student debt, but still with no idea what career they wish to take up.
What is the importance of choosing the right career?
Who are you? Consider your current position. Where would you like to be? What do you need to achieve this? Next, think about your current skill set, interests and values, then ask yourself the following questions:
• Where am I at the moment?
• Where do I want to be?
• What do I want from my career?
• What activities do I really enjoy?
• What am I particularly good at?
• What’s important to me in my life?
Now you have a clear idea of your personal goals, preferences and the sort of work you would most like to do.
Consider in more detail what sort of work is of particular interest to you and what you most enjoy learning. Once this step is complete, you will be in a better position to look more deeply into which qualifications you will need to attain in order to achieve that goal.
• How do your current skills and experience align with your preferred career?
• What gaps are there in your knowledge base?
• Is it possible for you to study and gain additional qualifications to bridge these gaps?
• Are there opportunities in this field of work near where you live now or would you have to relocate?
Note your findings. Now you’ll have a list of potential career options and what you need to do to get there.
Making a decision
Now you need to create a shortlist of the most suitable career possibilities for you. Ask yourself questions like what best suits your skills, values and interests; what opportunities are presented by the current jobs market, and how would retraining fit in with your present domestic and work situation?
Carefully consider the pros and cons of each of the options on your shortlist. Look for potential stumbling blocks and think about what remedial action would be necessary to overcome them.
You’re now ready to formulate an action plan and put it in motion using everything you have learned through the previous steps.
Ask yourself what actions you will need to take to get to where you want to be and where can you obtain the assistance and support you need. At the end of the final step, you will have a definitive plan together with a clear idea of what career options are available to you, what you need to do to achieve them and a plan which clearly outlines the action you will need to take.