Once you've established what you want from your career, it's time to narrow down your options and consider specific careers. Thinking about what you could do is a minefield, so we've a few ways to help you understand what would be a good fit for you.
To start with, you need to work out a few career ideas that are of interest to you. Our two ways of achieving this is through our app, iShine, what's known as a Personal CV and our '3 Possible Selves' task. Once you've narrowed down your options, you can then research whether these careers really would be a good fit for you through branching projects and informational interviews.
Our app iShine helps you take control of your future by offering a unique way to plan, track and manage your career. Just enter your work, hobbies, responsibilities and any qualifications you might have and it comes up with the perfect career suggestions for you.
Your personal CV is a page which tells the world who you are and what you care about, incorporating the things you’ve learnt about yourself whilst doing these exercises, such as your soft skills, your technical skills, what you enjoy in a working day, and what you feel is most important in a career for you.
Once you've written it, list ten people you know from as broad walks of life as possible and email them your personal CV asking them to recommend no fewer than three careers that might fit the description. You’ll end up with a minimum of 30 career ideas, hopefully from a range of different industries and a number of different future possibilities.
What careers are you attracted to from the list? What attracts you to them? Do they live up to what’s most important to you in a career? Do you get to use your skills and talents?
3 Possible Selves
Now that you've got a list of career ideas, what stands out for you? We suggest that you narrow your choices down to three serious contenders that will require more research. They might range from something more conventional, such as marketing for a mental health charity to a more drastic change, such as setting up a hostel/cafe in beachside Colombia, however they all have to feel possible. They should be the three careers that you are drawn to the most.
Normally, once you’ve decided on the career you want, the next step is to look for jobs, but at Eluceo we do things a bit differently. The problem is that finding your ideal career is like finding your ideal partner. You may know what you want on paper, but you end up falling in love with someone else entirely. So your best solution is to get out there and test your notions, see whether the jobs you’ve chosen really are suitable.
You’ll test these notions through branching projects and informational interviews
In order to find a new career you enjoy, you don’t have to step down from your role immediately and start all over again, instead your time can be used wisely in researching the best career for you. One of the ways that you can do this is to take on a ‘branching project’. This is a project which can be taken on either inside or outside of work (or studying) which offers you the ability to experiment around your existing career.
Branching projects can include:
- Work shadowing to understand the day-to-day activities of your chosen career
- Volunteering to understand an industry you’ve yet to be involved in
- Taking a training courses/online course to get an idea of the software your new job might involve
- Developing a blog or website for a business idea you have
- Taking on a project at work to help understand a different side of the business
For more information on online courses, our database offers a range for you to choose from.
You can undertake a couple of branching projects for each career idea you are interested in.
The branching project process is not a quick one. However this small number relatively unrisky steps which lead to big results and can give you a firm idea of what career you actually want.
For each project, write down what you learnt from them. Did you enjoy them? Was there one you specifically enjoyed? Which project gave you the most flow (see the following page)? In what specific tasks did you feel the most flow? What more would you like to learn as a result of these projects? Are there projects that are a better fit for you, your values and your current lifestyle?
An informational interview is a 15-20 minute one-to-one meeting with someone who can give you information about an industry, a job, an organisation or a career you are interested in. They’ll help you gain valuable insight and information that can help you plot out a career path that’s suitable for your skills, experience and interests.
You can undertake a couple of informational interviews for each career that you are interested in.
Putting it All Together
As this is a learning process, you may decide that a chosen industry or career isn’t for you, and have to go back to the drawing board, reconsider your options and go through the whole process again. However, it’s much better than getting into a position, realising that it's not for you, and then not being able to escape!