Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Deciding on a career may seem difficult but it is easier when you give yourself a lot of options and some time to consider it.

Here are some quick tips on how to start your career quest.

Begin by determining what you like to do. A lot of people look to others to determine their career paths: teachers, parents, neighbours and peers. Think about people you respect and what they do for work. Take time to map out your wants and to match your skills with skills that are actively sought within certain fields of work. This will involve a fair bit of research work but it is well worth it.

Identify the skills you use when you’re doing the thing(s) you enjoy

. Look at the things you are good at doing already. These will give you a very good indication of what you are likely to enjoy doing by way of a career. For instance, perhaps you like being with animals. Already this simple but important enjoyment opens up a very broad field of work for you that encompasses such possible jobs as caring for animals, veterinary work, animal advocacy, transporting animals, calming animals (e.g., horse whispering), making animal clothing and feed items and running a pet store etc. Once you have identified a potential field, you are then ready to match your skills.

Think of fields broadly. A field of work is far more than a single job. It is an area in which many jobs or trades are possible and you should be able to consider your training and interests in terms of looking for a career path that will give you a shot at at least five related types of jobs that are available within that field. For instance if you study law, you may want to be a lawyer in a large law firm, a lawyer in a non-profit organization, a team leader in an office of any type (even non-law), a manager of a company or a writer of corporate compliance manuals.

Learn as much as possible about the qualifications required for fields that interest you. Library, Internet and direct contact research will be required here. It is also helpful to ask your school, local community services, university etc. for assistance in career choices and development.

Find people who work in the field and learn from them. Once you have worked out which specific jobs interest you, speak to those already working in these areas. This will enable you to hear their suggestions and to ask them what they like and dislike about the field in which they work.

Evaluate your choice of field according to your own perceptions and the information you have gathered. Assess the comments you’ve received, weigh these up with your research work and add in your own feelings about your potential career path.

Sign up for an educational or training program in the career of your choice. While studying, do not neglect to take advantage of networking opportunities and chances to work in your career field either as a volunteer or in short-term paid positions. These opportunities will give you the best possible feel for the work and the types of people in the field that you will be working with.

Keep positive. When you are finally trained and ready to find that dream career, the most important thing is to maintain a positive outlook about your life and to be ready for change, difference and shifts in your comfort zones.

Although the idea of a “job for life” is fast becoming a thing of the past, the field of work which you choose is important because it will determine where you will spend a good deal of your working life and will also define how many opportunities you will have to branch out using your basic skills set. So, choose wisely and select a field that will utilize as many of your talents as possible.

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