What's your perfect job?
Unless you have a trust fund the size of Canada, sooner or later you're gonna have to work for a living. If you're unsure what you want to do, this might help you make your mind up.
It's only a job, right?
Maybe, but it's going to take up a huge chunk of your waking life, so it should at least be something you're suited to. Imagine coming home every day from a job you hate, knowing that tomorrow you've got to get up and do it all again. Depressing. Avoid.
You don't have to decide on a specific career too early on, but it helps if you know the rough direction that you want to take. Think about your interests and your personal strengths, and it will lead on from there.
What are you really like?
Take a long look at who you really are. Think hard about what interests you, and pay some attention to things you hate as well. How would you describe your personality? You might be shy, friendly, artistic, caring, outgoing, or technically-minded. Do the people who know you best agree with your view of yourself?
We all have our own personal strengths (such as good memory, physical fitness, organisation, or problem solving) and weaknesses (like a bad temper, fear of animals, not good with money, and so on). The trick is to find a job that makes the most of your strengths, and where your weaknesses do not matter too much.
What do you want from a job?
Do you want something safe that pays regular wages, or would you like to do something riskier that pays a lot more money? You might want to work flexible hours, or prefer a nine to five. Perhaps you like working alone, or want to deal with the public. Maybe you want to be your own boss, with all the responsibilities it will bring. Do you want to work in an office, near your home town, or outdoors?
Take all these things into account when looking at particular types of employment. But be aware that you may have to make some compromises.
I'm still not sure...
If you want to go into more detail, try filling out an employment personality questionnaire. These are available from local careers centres, schools and colleges. Prospects has a great online questionnaire to work out the best job for you. Try to be really honest with your answers because that gives the most accurate results.
You are usually given some brief information about your strongest personality traits, and then a range of jobs are suggested that play to your individual strengths. Bear in mind that your exact personality is not set in stone, it can change over the years with different life experiences. You are just looking for some general ideas.
Do your research
Start by taking a look at our Careers A-Z section, and other resources like Prospects' guide to different careers to see what different jobs entail. Speak to friends and family and do some research on the kinds of companies that appeal. You'll probably be surprised at how many jobs are out there that you've never even heard of before. If something takes your fancy but you don't know much about the industry, target appropriate companies for a work experience placement so you can get some first-hand experience before applying.
OK, now what?
If you now have some ideas about a possible career, it's time to work out how to get there. Find out what is required for these jobs, and don't despair if you can't walk straight into the employment that you want. If needed, go out and get that extra work experience or those qualifications. You are investing in yourself, and the effort will be worth it in the long run.
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