Stuck for career ideas? Inspiration may be only a piece of paper away.
Too often, careers are seen as an extension of school: ‘Like maths? Become an accountant.’ ‘Good at design and technology? What about an apprenticeship?’
There’s nothing wrong with this approach if it leads to what’s right for you but it doesn’t work for everyone. What if you’re average at most things? Or not inspired by school? And just because you like a subject in the classroom, it doesn’t follow that you’ll enjoy a job that uses a particular part of it, in a particular way, day in, day out.
In reality, careers draw different aspects of ourselves together, including ability, skills and personality. Subject knowledge, for example, may come second to more general or softer skills, such as problem solving or team work.
And with many people – including graduates – now working in areas unrelated to their studies – it makes sense to look for career inspiration across all parts of life.
Task: create a Me Map
1. Take a blank sheet of paper and jot down the things you like. You may want to divide the page into columns, create a spider diagram, draw pictures or make a collage – just choose a format that suits. You could even create a board on Pinterest or make a digital scrapbook. Include anything that appeals to you such as school subjects, hobbies or interests, issues, TV programmes, companies, organisations, products, and people you admire. You may also want to include your character traits – what are your top three qualities?
2. Start to look for patterns and themes. What connections are there between the items on your map? Does anything spark ideas? And can you see any links with possible job areas?
3. Think about next steps. Is there a particular job type you can research? Try:
- exploring icould career videos
- browsing websites of trade or professional associations and employers
- following a job type or area in the media – what issues is it facing?
4. Continue to add your Me Map, or after a period of time create a new one. Repeat the steps above and see where your ideas lead…
Find out more
Our Starting points series offers a range of short tasks, challenges and games to get you thinking about careers.