Choosing A Career: How do I work out where to start?

If you really have no idea what to do, then coming up with a career action plan (CAP) will help you work out what to do next in order to finally come to that decision. The CAP helps you set out and summarise your academic achievements and professional skills, and will highlight the necessary steps you will need to take for the development of your career. This plan will increase your chances of achieving these targets and will, at the same time, reduce the amount of uncertainty you have surrounding your career.

The first thing you need to do is make a list of the following things and try to make notes in as detailed a way as possible.

Career exploration

– Subjects/courses I’ve explored (i.e. considered and researched)

– Subjects/courses I’ve studied

– Advice I have taken from talking to people

– Careers I have explored (i.e. considered and researched)

– Careers I am considering

– Professionals I have talked to

Gaining experience

I have or plan to gain experience by…

– Shadowing

– Internships

– Joining groups and events

– Working

– Talking and related classes

 

Check out this example below for tips:

     Career exploration                 Gaining experience
Subjects/courses I’ve explored: Business Management, Economics and Philosophy I have or plan to gain experience by…
Subjects/courses I’ve studied:  Economics Shadowing: Head of EU sales for Cuthbert LLC
Advice I have taken: Professor Smith (Economics Professor) Internships: Cuthbert LLC & MTM LLC
Careers I have explored: Banking, International trade and Business Consultancy Joining Groups & Events: CIMA, RICS, Association of young professionals
Careers I am considering: international trade and Business Consultancy Working: Caller for Reading Alumni foundation
Professionals I have talked to: Head of EU Sales for Cuthbert LLC Talking and related classes: online classes, attend open events where discussions will focus on International trade

 

After making these detailed notes, see which careers you are considering match best with the experience you have gained, or planned to gain. Even if you’re unsure about it, choose something which fits and roll with it, and decide to explore working in that sector. After deciding to focus on a particular career, create some targets using the GOAT framework: goal, objective, action, and timing. See the example below for help.

I want to explore working in: international trade

Goal

Objective

Action

Timing

Learn more about the theoretical side of the international trade market place Pursue certification in trade finance Take introductory classes in trade finance Summer Term
Apply education from School and University to real world situations Pursue summer internships and work experience with relevant organisations to build understanding and relationships Use Career Camel to search available summer jobs and internships available; prepare CV and Video CV July/August 2014

 

Now it’s your turn to create a career action plan. Click here to download a Word document template, and here to download a PDF template.