career influence

March 12, 2018, by Carla Froggatt

What Do You Want to Do When You Graduate?

By Jennifer Balloch, Employability Education Projects Officer: Faculty of Science

How did I get from wanting to be a marine biologist to becoming an Employability Education Projects Officer? The link isn’t obvious, and it’s actually why I’m writing this blog. Not so you can read about my career journey, but so you can think of the influences that will affect your own career planning.

Children start to form ideas or fantasies about what their future career will entail. These can be based on numerous beliefs, role models or ideas. They can even be based on popular films or TV programmes. For me, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Why? I’d seen the film Free Willy when I was in primary school, and thought working with orca whales would be pretty cool. However, that’s about as far as that childhood fantasy ever went.

Now you may know exactly what career you want to progress into, you might have a vague idea, or you might still be trying to figure it out. Whatever stage you’re at, it’s fine.

How do you decide what you want to do after graduating?

When you stop to think about what you want to do, there are certain factors that will influence your decision. For instance, what are your skills and abilities? They will play an integral part in the career you decide to do. I’ve learned that one of my particular skills is active listening, so this is something I draw upon in one-to-one appointments.

Previous experience is also influential. As are positive experiences in the workplace. For example, having a role model or mentor may affect whether you choose to stay or leave a work environment.

Another important factor to think is your personality preferences. Where do your interests lie? For example, if you like working with people and are drawn to the routine of an office environment, you probably wouldn’t be best suited to a job as a tree surgeon. Having a good understanding of your self – what your interests are, where your skills and strengths lie and your preferences for particular working environments – and researching what opportunities are available to you, will ultimately help you to decide which career is best suited to you.

So, what does this mean for me?

It’s important to understand that there are lots of choices and influences that have helped you make your decisions to date. Some may be cultural, some may have been role models, and others may be based on your own personal experience. There will also be a lot of other career influences that I have not mentioned in this short blog post.

Booking an appointment with a career adviser will help you make sense of some of these influences. It’s also a great way to start thinking about how to take the next steps in your personal career journey. 

Posted in Choosing your career