Choosing a career is an exciting time in life, but can be daunting too. Some people will know exactly what they want to do and where they want to work, whilst others maybe overwhelmed with uncertainty and apprehension. There are some people who have no idea of what career to pursue and anxiously seek guidance. With this mind, some practical steps are outlined below to support students choose the right career.

Step 1

Gathering thoughts

  • First think of the area of occupation you are interested in and something you are passionate about.
  • Think about the reasons for choosing your career; choose a career that motivates and is meaningful to you.
  • Make a list of the occupations you want to pursue.

Step 2

Use the internet to:
  • Find out what qualifications, skills or experience you will need for your choice of occupation.

  • Find out what the work actually involves and the responsibilities of the job.

  • Then contact the organisation for more information on the role you are interested in.

Step 3

Review your position in terms of qualifications, skills and experience. If you are suited for the job then move on to the next step.

Step 4
  • Consider the hours and the average salaries for the work you are interest in. See if there are any perks too.

  • Consider the demands of the job and whether you may have to sacrifice your own time.

Step 5

To help you make the right career choice, get advice and guidance from the following:
  • Career office within schools and colleges
  • Connexions
  • Job centre
  • Job fares
  • Job agencies
  • Internet

Step 6

Based on the above, if you qualify then start searching for work:
  • On-line
  • Newspapers
  • Job centres
  • Contacting relevant organisations directly via phone or letter
  • Monthly Magazines issued by the professions
  • Visit job fairs
  • Contact family and friends


1. If you don't meet the criteria for the job, then plan what you can do to apply for this job in the future.

For example:
  • Attend college to get some qualifications. There are an array of courses available in the daytime and evenings. There are part-time and fulltime courses available.

  • Apprentice courses - learn and earn - getting experience is essential and this allows you to do both.

  • Access to Higher education courses - the certificate awarded is equivalent to A-levels and will allow you entry into university.

  • Foundation degree courses - available in some universities that give both young and mature students to gain entry qualifcations for subsequent degree courses.

  • On-line courses - Open University courses, Distant learning offered by colleges and independent organisations

  • Do some voluntary work to learn new skills and get some experience.

2. If you are uncertain about which career to pursue, then make a list of the following points:

  • Identify your interest, hobbies and ambitions

  • Identify your passions in life

  • Identify your strengths in terms of personal attributes

  • Identify your skills or talents

  • Identify your qualifications or experience

  • Think about long-term goals - where do you see yourself in the future.

  • Make a list of all the different types of jobs there are.

  • Highlight the jobs that attract you and match your strengths, skills and qualities.

Once you have decided what to do, begin looking in your area of interest.