When you have decided, through self introspection, on the careers of most interest to you, the next stage is to investigate and research. Career investigations should begin with the day to day aspects of a typical job. This is crucial before embarking on a particular career.
Apart from finding out everything you can about your chosen field, you will also need to research which employers and organisations offer the best opportunities, working conditions, prospects and benefits that suit you most.
But before you begin researching, bear in mind there are two main type of sources of information. The first are sources from within the relevant industry sector. These sources tend to gloss their literature with promotional and partial advice, designed to lure recruits into their sector. The other sources of information are independent resources that provide impartial and detailed assessment of job descriptions. Try to obtain information from both industry related sources as well as those that are independent in your research to get a balanced perspective of the field you are seeking.
Where Do I Start To Research Careers?
Start your research by checking the essentials such as the day to day duties the job entails. Also find out the working hours, salary, the likely promotion prospects, entry routes and entry level qualifications you may need to undertake.
Find out everything you can about the field and continually ask yourself if it really is for you. Information can be gathered quite readily on all industry sectors in the UK. Check the websites of relevant companies and professional bodies and request for brochures. Check specialist publications to glean aspects of the job that are less often publicised.
Weigh Up The Pros And Cons
Listen to what people within the industry and outside it have to say about the job. Further information can be gathered through networking with people who are already in your chosen field. If you are fortunate enough to have relevant networking connections, they can be an invaluable source on various aspects related to the new field, including the practicalities and daily demands.
Essentially, throughout your research, you should aim to seek out both the good and not so good aspects of the job in order to gauge a balanced view; so find out what admirers and detractors have to say and decide for yourself.
There are a number of excellent online sites that provide exhaustive, balanced and detailed job descriptions, including qualifications and courses. Some also maintain employer databases along with current vacancies. The main UK portals are listed in our career resources page and they include CareersFair.com Hobsons and Prospect.
Test The Water Before You Jump
Transition to a new career ought to be phased rather than sudden, allowing you time to acclimatize and assess if your chosen field really is for you. It is advisable to hold on to your current job while you do the necessary research. If you need to train for relevant qualifications, this too can be done while still in your current job.
Even when all seems well and you think the job is suitable for you, the only way to really know unequivocally is to try the job for yourself. This can be done while still retaining your current post through either voluntary or part time work.
There are two notable and excellent UK websites which promote work experience and voluntary work and are listed in our career reources links page. They include the National Council For Work Experience which promotes work experience for students and organisations. Do-it.org.uk is a comprehensive web resource dealing with all aspects relating to voluntary work and they have a searchable database of voluntary work opportunities covering the entire United Kingdom.
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