Blackboard with chalk drawn lightbulb in the middle and careers written above it. seven circles around it saying talents, vision, goals, education, interests, values, skills

March 3, 2022, by Leonie Farrar

Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Career

By Leonie Farrar, religion, philosophy and ethics student blogger

Do you know what you want to do after university? At the start of my degree, I had no idea what future career I wanted. However, I took some time to think about the following key questions which helped me to narrow down my career options.

What do you want your future to look like?

When I think of my ideal future, there are a few things that are really important to me. I want to have a good balance between work life and my personal life. I want to have time to spend with family, friends, doing hobbies, and learning new things. Realising this helped me to rule out careers that would involve very high working hours or long periods of time working and living away from home.

Things to think about:

1. Do you want to move around to different locations or countries?

2. What would make you happy?

3. Is it important to you to have a permanent regular income?

What do you want from a career?

I want to go into a career that motivates me and gives me a sense of achievement. What motivates and gives a sense of achievement will be different for different people. For me, working towards deadlines, meeting targets, or having something to show for my work would keep me motivated and make me feel like I’d achieved something.

Another thing that is important to me is the opportunity to progress. I want there to be opportunities for promotion and progression into different job roles. This would allow me to develop myself and my skills. I would also be motivated knowing that I am always working to develop myself and working towards the next step in my career.

Things to think about:

1. Do you want to work indoors or outside?

2. How would you cope in a high-stress career?

3. Do you want your career to have a focus on working with people? If so, do you want to work with children, elderly people, patients, customers and so on?

4. Do you want to use your degree subject in your career?

5. How would you feel about doing shift work or working weekends or evenings?

What skills do you want to use in your career?

To answer this question I thought about what skills I enjoy using both in my university life and in my personal life. The main skill I enjoy using is planning and organising. I love creating a time plan for my university work, keeping it organised, and creating a daily plan for holidays. I would love for this to be one of the main skills I would use in a career.

Examples of skills to think about include public speaking, presentation, budgeting, IT, communication, problem-solving, negotiating, decision making, creativity, and leadership.

It’s okay if you have no idea what career you want to do. Thinking about these questions can be difficult and take time but it is worth it. They are really useful in helping you to decide what you do and don’t want from your future career.

Once you’ve thought about these questions, check out different job profiles or attend a careers event to see what’s involved in different careers and how they fit with your answers to the above questions.

Posted in Choosing Your CareerStudent Bloggers