There isn’t one right way to make a career decision, but there are a few things worth considering in order to make an informed choice:
Don’t limit yourself to one option
Making a shortlist of preferred options can be a useful strategy. Transferable skills can be gained from any type of work experience, so even if your work experience relates to one area, that won’t restrict you from moving into a different one.
Research options related to your degree
Take a look at these Careers Resources by University School and Work Sector
Read what graduates do – an in-depth look at Higher Education Statistics Agency’s latest survey to see where graduates have ended up after finishing university.
Also have a look at LinkedIn’s alumni tool (Topic 5 on the LinkedIn for students website) to see the career paths of other Queen’s alumni on LinkedIn.
Some external websites have useful guides on options related to specific degree subjects, such as:
Research options related to your skills and interests
There are a number of tools that can help you identify career options related to your skills and interests. It's worth doing a few of these to compare and contrast. Here are some of the ones that we like:
- Prospects: Career Planner
- Targetjobs: Careers Report
- All About Careers: Careers Test - takes a different approach to the others. Asks you to make decisions about different scenarios and suggests career areas based on those decisions
- Start Making Better Choices - there are lots of questions in this "game" so set aside at least 30 minutes for this one.
Discover emerging career options
Things change so quickly, the tools and career information above don't cover every possible career option. A good way to find out about other options is to look at job websites and speak to employers.
Chat to employers
Speak to company representatives at on-campus events (including fairs and employer presentations) to get an idea of the types of roles available within different organisations. Keep an eye on MyFuture for these opportunities.
Think about what is important to you
Everyone has different criteria that are important to them in making career decisions. For example, think about where you want to live, how much you want to earn, how much flexibility you have around working hours.
This Work Values test will help you to think about what things that could make you happy or unhappy in your career.
Apply those criteria in your job search
Look for evidence of those things when exploring your options e.g. if it is a priority for you to stay in Northern Ireland, look at job websites for career areas that interest you to see how many job adverts you can find for that type of work here.
Ask for more information
Approach any contacts you have, or speculatively approach companies, to set-up an information interview.
See if you can work-shadow someone
If you’ve managed to successfully make use of an information interview, you could ask for a brief period of work-shadowing, i.e. observing someone while they work. As little as a few hours of work-shadowing can give you a real insight into a job and company, and it is often easier for a company to agree to this than it would be to agree to a period of work experience.
Try it for yourself
Sometimes you can only truly get a feel for whether a certain job is for you by trying it out. Short-term work experience for students is a great method for trying-out different jobs and companies. If you are a graduate, remember, even a permanent job isn’t necessarily a job for life!
If you’d like to discuss any of this with a Careers Consultant please book an appointment through MyFuture
Careers Service | 028 9097 2727 | firstname.lastname@example.org