Being unsure about your future career direction can feel a little daunting, especially if you’re surrounded by people who all seem to have a clear idea in mind of what they want.
It’s actually extremely common to not be sure of your career direction and career decision making is something that you will continue to do throughout your life.
We are in an age where people change careers more often and remaining in one job for your whole career is almost unheard of. This is a good thing for people who are a little more undecided as it means there are more options and more acceptance of changing career direction at any stage. This should take the pressure off when deciding on your first job as the most important factor to consider is whether it moves you forward in some way and helps develop skills and expertise you may want to use in future roles.
If you are keen to start thinking about steps that may help to bring you some clarity in your thinking, we’ve outlined some steps below:
- Brainstorm. One of the best ways to get started is to sit down with those who know you best and spend some time plotting potential career options. These can be as varied as you like, at this point there should be no limits to your thinking. You could use a mind map to consider the kind of roles you’re willing to do, the type of environment and company culture you’re looking for, through to any specific organisations that have stood out to you in the past.It can be helpful to look back at your career decision making to date and try to connect the dots as to why you have made the choices you have to get to this point. For example, why did you choose the LSE? How did you select which course to take? Understanding these choices can help you understand what is important for you going forward. If you’re interested in exploring more, we have lots of resources on the career planning part of the website to help you work out the best career fit for you.
- Research. Once you’ve identified some areas you might be interested in, you can start the research. Attend LSE Careers events, look out for trends in the sector and use the organisations’ websites and professional bodies to help gain labour market information and self-knowledge.
- Talk to people. Once you have some ideas in mind – get talking to people. Conduct career conversations with people who will either support you in your career research or provide you with key information. This could involve participants at career events, interviewing a LinkedIn alum contact, or booking an appointment with a career consultant.
- Get a feel for the work. Brainstorming and talking to people to get a feel for the work are one thing but if you really want to get a feel for a job then it’s best to try and gain some experience and skills in the workplace This might involve organising a work shadowing opportunity with an alum, organising an employer site visit, or volunteering to gain experience of a particular activity or sector.
- Be creative and curious. As an LSE student, your analytical skills and intellectual curiosity are well above the average. Give yourself permission and the space to apply these skills to your career decision making process. Understanding how external influences and your learning will impact how your career develops.
- Ask for help. Your career decisions will form part of a lifelong journey – we all need help to make the best decisions. We’re here to help Monday-Friday with late opening on Thursdays so do book an appointment to come and find out more.
We hope to see you soon!