Discovering Your Perfect Career Path

Deciding on a career path can be a real head-scratcher for new graduates. There are some degrees like Medicine, Law, or Teaching that instantly spell out your future, so you have zero doubt about which direction to take. But, if you’ve pursued a versatile degree such as Media or History, it may feel like you’re standing at a crossroads. Which way do you turn?

This freedom may sound like an exciting adventure — all of those possibilities — but being realistic, having so many options may leave you confused and overwhelmed about making the right choice.

If you’re uncertain about which career path to follow, you’re in the right spot. In this blog, we’ll provide you with valuable tips to help you make a well-informed decision that leads to both inner satisfaction and professional success.

Start with a self-assessment

Self-assessment is like taking a deep dive into your preferences, strengths, and values. It helps you understand what you’re really passionate about, what you excel at, and what truly matters to you in your career. This soul-searching process is crucial for making well-informed career decisions.

Begin by considering what genuinely excites and motivates you. Take a moment to make a list of these activities; they’ll serve as valuable reference points as you explore your career options, as to what makes you tick.

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Next, identify your strengths and skills. What do you naturally excel at? What have you learned and developed through your degree? By identifying your skillset from the off, you’ll have a clearer idea of the type of roles and industries you’ll shine.

Finally, be sure to think about your personal values when choosing your ideal career. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Is a good salary non-negotiable?
  • Do you value a laid-back company culture?
  • Is work-life balance important to you?
  • Are you passionate about making a positive impact and supporting others?

When you align your career with your values, it becomes more than just a job, but a rewarding journey where you have a sense of purpose and satisfaction in your daily work.

Get advice

In the early days following university, don’t feel isolated in making decisions independently; you have resources available to guide you. Reach out and ask for support if you need it.

Firstly, your university lecturers are experts in their fields and can provide insights into practical applications of your studies in different careers. They may even be willing to research the latest roles suitable for you and connect you with their own network of contacts.

On the flip side, university career advisors are there to guide students through the transition into the professional realm. They’ll collaborate with you to pinpoint your strengths and career objectives, offering valuable insights into job search strategies and refining your CV. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about any other areas where you need assistance.

In your free time, make it your priority to attend career fairs, workshops, and networking events, if possible. Career fairs give you the chance to build relationships with potential employers who are looking to source their next hire. Workshops are an opportunity to develop practical skills to enhance your CV, and networking events create meaningful connections, potentially leading to future mentorship and job opportunities.

Test the waters

If you feel you’d like to get a better understanding of what it’s like to work in your preferred industry, you could decide to take on some hands-on experience. Over a short period of time, you’ll get an insight into the typical day-to-day challenges and your compatibility for the job. Some options you may like to consider include:

Internships: These short-term (often paid) work experiences offered by companies provide a first-hand glimpse into working within a specific industry or job role. Internships allow you to apply your academic knowledge to real-world situations, helping you determine if the career aligns with your expectations and aspirations. Find hundreds of graduate internships at Inspiring Interns.

Volunteer opportunities: Volunteering in your preferred field is not only a selfless way to give back to the community but also a means of getting to grips with a certain career path, before committing. Much like internships, you’ll get a clearer insight into the industry and use your passion to make a meaningful contribution. In some lucky cases, volunteer roles can lead you paid positions within the organisation.