Research studies show that finding out more about yourself is an essential part of the research you need to do when choosing your career. The clearer you are in your own mind about your strengths, skills, interests and motivations, the easier career decisions will be.
This is all very well, but for many getting started is a challenge – so here are some ideas. Choose from the selection of activities – there’s something for everyone!
Think of it like another piece of academic ‘project’ work. Start collecting your project material, create your own ‘careers folder’, insert relevant resources, add comments…
Use your career action plan
As you do these activities you can complete the "All about you" section of your career action plan (Word - 188KB).
The five-minute starter
Short of time? Try the following activity.
Sit back, relax, and imagine your ideal workday.
Start from the minute you wake up, and imagine what an ideal day at work would be like for you from start to finish.
- What time do you wake up?
- What kind of clothes do you put on – suit, casual, uniform?
- What time do you need to leave to get there on time?
- How do you get there? How far is it?
- You get to work. Where are you (city, small town, rural &c.)?
- What kind of place is it: factory, office, home, on site?
- What sort of activities do you do: meetings, interviews with colleagues, liaise with the public, computer facing work, planning schedules…
- How long have you worked there?
- What are your hours?
- What do you get paid?
- Do you plan your work or does someone do it for you?
- How do you work? (alone, in a group, contact with others)
- What are your colleagues like?
- What do you like about your job?
- How long do you see yourself remaining at this job?
This is your ideal. Which parts are essential for you? Which is a ‘nice to have’ category? Try to get your list down to five or six ‘essentials’. Use these ideas every time you:
- Talk to someone about their job
- Read an article about work
- Meet an employer
- Look at job adverts.
It can to help you decide if you are interested enough in this area of work to spend more time on further research.
Twenty minutes to spare?
You could start to think in more depth. Do one of the following – or, if you have any more time to spare, try both.
Itemise your skills to identify what you are good at.
Understanding your skills helps you decide if the job appeals to you and increases your chances of getting in. Compare your skills with those demanded by the jobs you consider.
How do you prefer to learn and what is your personality like?
Consider how this could affect your choice of career. If a job requires you to work and learn on your own, and you prefer working or learning with others, that job may not be for you. Our pages on psychometric testing provide some resources to help you determine your learning styles and personality type.
Download our skills questionnaire (PDF - 277KB)