Career Myths: Thou shalt have all the answers now

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~ Lao Tzu ~
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu ~

At the Careers Service, we are asked ‘where do I start?’ a lot. So much in fact, that I think it’s important to share that simple fact with you. If you aren’t sure where to start thinking about a career now your degree is finished, you aren’t alone. It’s perfectly normal to be unsure, even a bit scared by the huge question that now beckons. It’s OK not to have the answers yet.

The question of ‘what do I do with my life?’ is too big a question to answer in one go. Break it down into smaller, more manageable steps and tackle those one by one. You could for example start by looking at yourself rather than at the vast amount of information and career options out there. Unless you know what your gut is telling you about what you like, what you are good at, it’s difficult to make any sense of the plethora of options, or know whether you would really like job X.

So where are the answers?

Here’s a great place to get started – our Getting started section.

The career decision-making cycle is a good tool for helping you work out where you are right now:

  1. Understanding yourself: What do you want/like? What are you good at? What’s important to you?
  2. Exploring options: What can you do? What do people from your degree do?
  3. Making decisions: What careers match your interests/skills/preferences?
  4. Taking action: What do I need to do next? How do I move forward?

If you are the type of person who prefers to explore and discover what they like rather than have a set ‘plan’, you could try a ‘Planned Happenstance’ approach to moving your career forward.

If you are aren’t sure what you want and are feeling pressure to pick something – anything – just to get a job, it may seem counter intuitive to go back to looking at yourself. But it’s worth it. You will need to convince employers that you want to work for them and see yourself in that organisation in the longer term. That’s going to be hard if you aren’t even vaguely sure yourself. So take some time out before using our Finding Work pagesCareersLink and other jobsites. Even a couple of hours using some of the tools on our Thinking about Yourself page can help you focus and take the right direction for you.

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