Career Advice

Choosing a career

When thinking about a career path most people look first at the obvious factors e.g. is this my dream job? or, will I make lots of money doing this? While these are important, there are other considerations that should be taken into account.  We have listed some of these below:

  • What interests you?

When choosing a career, the first thing to look at would be what interests you. Whatever you choose, it needs to be able to keep your interest and attention. Perhaps there was a particular subject you loved at school, or maybe you have a hobby that you really enjoy. If you were good at English in school, and did well in your exams, you might think about teaching as a possible career. Likewise if you enjoy cooking, perhaps a career in catering is an option.

Narrowing down your interests is the best way to begin defining what might be your career options.

  • Ask yourself what you want and don’t want from a job

First you’ll need to reflect on this and ask yourself some relevant questions:

  • do you prefer an office based job or do you enjoy a job that involves travel, or being outdoors?
  • would you prefer a manual job or more knowledge based career?
  • do you prefer working under pressure or in a more relaxed and flexible environment?
  • is job satisfaction or job security more important to you?
  • would you like (and be able to discipline yourself enough) to be self-employed?

What factors are important to you when you think of work?

  • some careers offer less earning potential but more flexibility
  • others may have a more rigid structure but are stable positions
  • some people enjoy the buzz of having to meet strict deadlines but others enjoy being able to create their own hours

These are all important considerations.

Asking yourself the simple question “what do I want from a job?” helps you to begin to define your options.

  • How would this career fit with your personality and values?

It may surprise you to learn, but your personality type can significantly influence how well you do in a chosen career and whether or not you actually enjoy going to work!

By asking yourself what personality type are you, (or actually consulting a Career Guidance Counsellor or Career Coach to carry out a personality test) you can determine your work-related values. When you better understand your personality, you’ll then be better able to answer these questions:

  • Do you prefer to work alone rather than with others?
  • If you are a sociable person with good communication skills, then the obvious choice would be to work in an environment where you deal with different people.
  • On the other hand if you like working alone for the majority of your day, you might be better suited to a job in IT, for example, or academia or research where you have more opportunity to work on your own for quite a lot of the time.

Every career will have its set of values too, and these should be somewhat in harmony with your work related values. If the job requires high levels of efficiency but you are a more creative type who values artistic freedom, then your work values are going to conflict with those of that particular career.

  • Do your research!

Once you have an idea of a possible career that would suit you, research it! What skills or qualifications do you need? Do you need a degree or diploma to get the job? If so, do you have the relevant education level – if not, how can you acquire the necessary qualification? Where can you get the information that you need to help you access the required education? What are the typical duties and responsibilities of someone who works in such a position, and would you be able to fulfil the role? The job market is also constantly changing; make sure that there are employment opportunities in your chosen career field. Find out what your potential earnings will be when you decide on your chosen career.

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Sample Interview Questions

When people are preparing for interview, it often helps to formulate answers to some of the questions that may arise in the course of the session.  Many of these will be standard questions, whilst others will relate specifically to the job in question.  Below you will find some of the standard questions for you to practice by preparing your answers to these. It may help if you get a friend or family member to go through these with you as if it were an actual interview.

1.       Tell us about yourself
2.       Can you take us through your C.V?
3.       Tell us about your last job:
4.       Why did you leave it?
5.       What made you apply for this particular position with us?
6.       Why do you think you’re a suitable candidate for this role?
7.       What do you think you can bring to this role / company?
8.       There is a gap in your CV from year A to year B, what were you doing during this period?
9.       What do you know about this Company?
10.    This vacancy is for __________________. Can you give us some examples of what would be key qualities in a person fulfilling this role?
11.    Can you use your own initiative? Can you give us some examples of times or situations where you had to do this?
12.    This role will involve heavy lifting/ digging/ working at heights, would this /these pose any problems for you?
13.    What are the qualities of a team player?
14.    Do you like working with people and why?
15.    We require a certain level of flexibility regarding working hours as, at times, we need to cover absences; would you be able to work with us on this?
16.    Have you ever had to deal with a difficult situation?
17.    How did you deal with it?
18.    If we were to ask your friends to describe your weaknesses, what would they say?