Research has shown
that people often choose
careers based on a small
list of jobs they have been exposed to through friends and family
members or perhaps seen on television. As a result they often miss
highly suitable job options.
You need to cast your net wide at this time and expand your awareness
of all your options that are out there. This is the time to have some
fun, let your critical mind take a small vacation and search out all
the things that might appeal to you.
Options Discovery Process
Look at the previous webpages – your self-knowledge, purpose
and personal vision – what do they suggest? Keeping them in
mind look at a range of idea sources and develop your “Long
List” of between 15 to 40 possibilities.
Idea sources include:
- Job suggestions
you may receive from career
assessments at Self
- Products and
services you like
- Causes and
groups you identify with
– talk to as many people as
possible, find out about what they do and ask for ideas
- Yellow pages
phone directory, job sites such as www.seek.com.au
Be sure to
consider lots of jobs you are not
familiar with and don’t limit your thinking to just
traditional careers. There are new types of work being created every
day and some of the more rewarding work doesn’t even have job
names yet. Consider a wide range of possibilities such as:
- Same career but
in a new organization or
- Combination and
hybrid careers (eg. a software
programmer who develops an interest in real estate and develops a new
computer program for the real estate industry.)
careers (2 or 3 part-time jobs)
consulting or temp work
- Small business
or home businesses
- Part time and/or
- Tertiary study
For some people the
best reason for them to get a
traditional job is for them to gain skills, knowledge, and contacts
that will enable them to start their own business later. This is how
most independent contractors & consultants got started.
Your Top 3 or 4 Most Promising Options
When selecting your top options consider your
alternatives from these perspectives:
gets you excited?
What would you love to do – your dream? Your excitement is
your best guide to a positive future.
What do you have the entry requirements, money or connections for?
Where do you want to live and what is the work availability there? What
meets your minimum requirements regarding financial income, hours of
work, and lifestyle?
could you bring together
your excitement and your practical situation?
with your long term “big picture?” What might be a
“stepping stone” option? For example: working as a
restaurant waiter in a resort before or while studying tourism and
hospitality at university to eventually become a resort manager.
Research Your Top Options
In-depth Before Committing
Become as knowledgeable as possible on every aspect of your top options
using the internet.
Also include other written sources, such as brochures, annual reports
and information packs, which professional and industry associations,
universities, and the PR departments of large companies will usually
send you upon your request.
For your top 2 or 3 options set up information meetings with people who
work in those fields.
You can find these people by asking around in your existing network or
just calling businesses in the Yellow Pages. Just tell them you are
researching your career options and would like to ask a few
questions... preferably over a cup of coffee you have bought for them
or even lunch.
These meetings, which are sometimes also called “information
interviews”, are a crucial step in career decision-making.
People will tell you things face-to-face that you will never find in
writing. You will get a much clearer sense of the realities of working
in the occupation. You may also be offered help in unexpected ways.
Information meetings are normally short, focused discussions. You
should prepare specific questions prior to the meeting.
The questions should cover the following topics:
- Job content
– what do you do?
environment – what is it
like working here?
implications – hours,
stress, travel demands?
- Job rewards
– what do you like about
the job, what don’t they like?
requirements and short cuts –
what tips and advice can they offer?
- Job prospects
and local conditions –
what is happening in the local area?
If you want to be
more certain of an option,
before making a major commitment of time and money, look for ways to do
some real world testing. Set up limited, but tangible, career
experiments that allow you to experience different options.
Some ways to do
- Volunteer work
- Helping a friend
- Vacation job
- Short term
contract, casual or consulting work
For more on how to expand, explore and evaluate your options see The Complete Career