Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Many people don’t figure out what they want to do until well into their twenties, or sometimes even later.
The main thing is to not to let your indecision paralyse you. Instead, think of it as a positive thing and use it to your advantage. Not having a set career plan gives you the freedom to explore different career options and maybe even try out a few graduate jobs that you couldn’t ever possibly imagine yourself doing for a living.
So how can you start considering your different career options? One option is to have a go on a couple of career tests, and, for starters, you might want to try our free career test. We think it does its job pretty well (and it’s quite fun too). The test matches your skills, personality and interests with different industry sectors so you’ve narrowed down your choices, but you still have more than one option.
Once you’ve got your shortlist of potential industry sectors, you can start researching them in more detail and see which ones appeal to you the most. Read our sector overviews, rifle through our occupational profiles and dip into some of the sector-specific articles. Career tests don’t necessarily have to be taken at face value, but they are a fantastic way of giving you some inspiration.
Practical research is so important when it comes to choosing your career, but it should be coupled with a bit of self-reflection too. When choosing a career, you need to identify your skills, your personality, your motivations and your interests.
What are you good at? And we don’t just mean academically. Are you imaginative? Great with people? Always organising things? Think about what motivates you and what you’re interested in.
The career test and your own research should give you a good idea of the kind of direction you want to head in. Next, it’s up to you to secure some work experience to test out what careers best suit you.
Yes, that’s right, work experience isn’t just CV fodder. If you do it right, it’s a great way to find out where your future career path lies.
Once you’ve got your shortlist of potential sectors, it’s always a good idea to find work experience in those areas.
You can read about things as much as you want, but only once you get your hands dirty and gain practical experience of the working world will you be able to suss out whether certain jobs are right for you. Work experience is also a great chance to talk to employees and get their own take on their profession.
AN ACTIVE APPROACH
The main thing is to take a positive step forward. Actively exploring your career options is far more productive than banging your head against a wall and wailing, “I don’t know what career I want.” You might even find the whole process — dare we say it — enjoyable.
And even if you’ve figured out what it is you want to do, remember that you don’t have to stick with your choice for the rest of your life. Often starting one job, or striking out in one direction, will open up doors in other areas.