Choosing your career is hard. Some of us are lucky, we know what we want to do, we land on our feet, we have mentors who have helped us decide. Others, however, are not so fortunate. They spend time and money on degrees they don’t wish to use, they work in professions they are not passionate about. So how, at a young age, do you decide what you wish to pursue?
Schools have fantastic careers advisors or links to institutions that will be able to advise based on your interests and strengths. Use these as much as possible to ensure you can place yourself in the best position to make informed decisions going forward. When choosing subjects, make sure you keep your true interests top of mind, and try to rule out biases - what your parents think, what your friends are studying, what teachers you like etc. The same can be said for University and career choices, but we are skipping ahead.
Choosing a course is a difficult decision, especially when the school subjects you have already chosen might impact the university and course you study. You may also choose not to go to university at all, but do ensure if this is the case, you have a clear career goal in mind before choosing to do so. If not, a gap year travelling or working may give you some insight into what you wish to achieve long-term. There are so many factors that go into choosing a university:
- Courses available
Remember that these are all relative. You will be studying for a few years, but you can change universities, change courses, change careers. The end goal is something to remember. You will be working in a profession for many years, so try and ensure this is something you believe will be long-term.
Obtaining real world experience before you decide what you want to do it invaluable. Not only does this help the decision-making process easier, but it adds to your personal experience, so universities and employers can see you are ambitious. References from these placements are also incredibly valuable. Ask your network - your parents friends, online forums, reaching out to people you may follow on social media in a similar profession, contacting people from courses you may have attended...asking is the first step!
People who are passionate about what they do, are the individuals that you can guarantee will be passionate about;
a) sharing their insights
b) giving relevant advice
Reach out to those in your network who work within your desired or related profession. They will give you practical advice and allow you to make more informed decisions.
The crux! How to decide your career? It is really, 100% up to you. Think about ultimately where you would like to take your career, and then devise a plan considering the various options available to assist you in achieving your goals.
Shauravi Malik, Founder of Slurrp Farm (leading innovative children’s food company) and Leadearly Advisory Board Member states; “
After finishing my Masters in Economics at Cambridge University, I began my career as an Investment Banker at JP Morgan and it was the very best place to learn finance. The rigorous training and client interaction were second to none.
After nearly a decade of work, I felt the entrepreneurial bug bite! I wanted to create an innovative business that could be a force for good. As an interim step, before having the courage to take this risky journey, I pursued a role within the strategy team at Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group Holding Company. This helped me get a closer understanding of private equity investing and the operational side of various companies.”
At Leadearly we enable our participants to figure out their own career goals, removing bias from this life-long decision through learning techniques including case studies, role plays, experiential learning and more. We always advice our participants to:
- Seek expert advice
- Build your professional profile
- Gain relevant experience
- Constantly evaluate your goals
- Don’t fear change
Remember - this is a choice that might seem like it is forever, but it isn't. Ideally everything is planned out and set in stone, but the world changes, and so do you.