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February 15, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

Still Waiting for Your Career ‘Lightbulb Moment’?

By Jo Workman, Senior Careers Adviser

Are you waiting for a flash of inspiration, or a ‘Eureka!’ moment when the perfect career idea appears in front of you?  

You might be hoping that as you go through your course it will all become clear what you want to do. You’ll have your lightbulb moment and things will fall into place.

But what if that moment doesn’t come along? Does that mean you’ll end up in the wrong job, or somehow miss your calling? Rather than waiting and hoping that you’ll suddenly see the big picture, try instead looking for the small details, which will help you piece things together.

Pieces of a puzzle

Reflect back on the last week, or the last month and consider any activities that you really enjoyed, or things you did just because you wanted to do them. Maybe the time flew by because you were so caught up in what you were doing, or it left you buzzing afterwards. Little things can give us insight into what we might like to do, the things we value, and when we feel most authentically ‘us’ – all clues towards a job that might suit us. 

Who have you spoken with or listened to recently, who made you really pay attention? What topics do you feel strongly about, or most interested in? You may not see an immediate link to a job, but perhaps the issues or news articles that always catch your attention are a little hint towards the sector or industry that you might want to contribute to.

Consider your ‘must haves’ when it comes to things like location, salary, working environment, and working hours. These everyday considerations may not feel exciting compared to a flash of inspiration, but they can have a huge impact on deciding whether a job is right for you.

Connect the dots

Bringing your ideas together can be the hard part. Which jobs exist that include all the little things you’ve identified? Use your research skills to decide what you need to know and where and how you can find that information. Try reading job profiles or industry news. Come to employer talks and events. Make an appointment to talk to the Careers and Employability Service.

Test your ideas by seeking work experience opportunities, or by taking part in different activities offered by the Careers and Employability Service, to check how you feel applying your skills to work-based projects.

Keep reflecting on what you want

It’s also fair to say that the world of work is ever changing. Jobs will disappear, be refined, and appear as the world changes, and individuals change too. Your dream job at 21 might be very different to your dream job at 31. So whether or not your lightbulb moment comes along, by reflecting on what you want and knowing how to piece your ideas together now and in the future, you’ll be able to find the job that’s right for you.

Explore our website for tailored support and resources to help as you plan for life after university.

Posted in Careers AdviceChoosing Your CareerGraduating in 2022