Leaving school can be both exciting and daunting, knowing the next step and being sure of what career path you want to pursue is not easy. It will be one of the most important decisions you will ever make and with the endless amount of different career opportunities that are available, it can make decision making feel like an arduous task.
We have put together some top tips and useful links to help make the process a little easier.
1. It’s okay not to know
The first thing to remember is that it’s alright not to know what you want to do! ‘The average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during his or her career’ according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you choose a profession and find that it’s not quite right for you, it’s okay to change. On average you will work for 50 years of your life, so finding the right job is really important!
2. Think about what you enjoy and what puts fire in your belly
When thinking about your career choice, a good starting point is looking at what you enjoy doing. Working 40 hours is a huge chunk of your week, so making sure you love what you do is essential.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
3. Keep in mind what you’re good at
The other major consideration is looking at what you are naturally good at. What are your talents? Are you good with your hands? Are you a dab hand with numbers? Are you incredibly organised? Are you creative? This can really help guide you in the right direction.
4. Find a mentor
Whether this is a family member, friend or someone at school, it’s really important to talk through options with a mentor. Talk to people with experience, find out about their careers and how they got to where they are now. You could even go online and read up on people that you aspire to be like. Gather as much advice and guidance as you can, this will make the decision much easier to make.
Use LinkedIn as a networking tool, follow companies that interest you and check back regularly to see when they are hiring.
5. Attend a taster session, do some work experience or volunteer
How will you know what you want to do, if you don’t try it! Attending a taster session, finding some work experience or volunteering can be a great way of getting some valuable experience int he areas you’re interested in. Whether this is over the summer or just for a couple of days, it can be extremely beneficial.
Skills Group hold Taster Sessions every Friday, you can come in to try a variety of industries; Construction, Automotive, Engineering, Hairdressing, Beauty…We can also provide you with advice and guidance if you are still trying to figure out what you want to do.
6. Take a test!
No, we’re only talking about a quiz type of test, there are plenty of “career quiz” tests online which can be really helpful, here a couple we found.
Career Test – What career suits your personality
The Guardian – What job would make you happiest
I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!
I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!
Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up
The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.
I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!