Not sure about what you want to do? Whether you’re mid-career or still in study, you need to approach any career move in the same way. Your first step is to understand who you are and what you want - both from your work and your life.
First consider yourself - what are your interests, skills, values and qualities?
Other questions to ask are:
Looking at the broad areas of work that interest you is an important first step when planning your career or thinking of making changes to it. Take these interests into account when considering jobs or study. If you are able to find an environment that suits your interests, you are likely to be happier in what you do.
Your personal values can play a part in your career decisions. Knowing what is important to you in a job can help you narrow down your career options. And finding a career that fits with your values can help you feel more satisfied in your work.
Working out what skills you have, then matching them to different jobs, can open up career options you may never have thought of.
Think of broad areas of skills, and what level of skill you have in each area. Then try to think of examples of how you have used those skills at work, or in some other area of your life.
The people around you and your personal circumstances play a part in your career choices. Understanding these effects will help you in your decision-making.
Things to consider include:
Perhaps your parents or extended family have a strong opinion about what career you should pursue, or wantyou to follow a course that they think will make you the best person you can be.
This could include anything from sporting or community group commitments that mean you have to be free at certain times, to family commitments such as needing to look after or financially support family members.
If you’re just starting out, you may be willing to spend more time and effort on training / studying toward a career than if you’ve been working for 15 years already. Knowing where you're at, and what you're willing to commit, will help you with your career decisions.
These may be big or small. Maybe you feel your age is a barrier to moving into a new job, ormaybe you live in a rural area, so have fewer training or study options.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time, and beyond? What do you want to be doing, and what do you want to be like as a person? Knowing this can affect your choices, for example:
Thinking about the type of thing that you want to be doing will help you with your career ideas, but so will thinking about how you will get there. What’s involved in getting to the place that you want to go? Are you prepared to take the necessary steps to get there?
For example, do you have the drive to devote yourself to a long training period? Can you afford to not be working while you study toward your goal? Can you put in the long hours needed to be successful in certain types of jobs?
Once you’ve explored your own ideas about yourself, and narrowed down some career options, it’s good to talk through your thoughts with others. Bouncing your ideas off someone else can help things become clearer to you.
Other people may also have some insights into your character or situation that you had not considered.
Talk to people who know you well and who you can trust. Ask them what they think are your strengths and skills. These may include family, friends, church leaders, and teachers.
If you have a part-time job, or if you do volunteer work, think about asking your employer what parts of the job they think you do well.
These people may have career suggestions based on what they know about you.