How to Get Some Clarity Around Career Direction (Part 1: Interests)

‘When I grow up I want to be a……’

Can you remember how you finished that sentence all those years ago?

If you’re reading this, then chances are your career aspirations as a kid have long faded away.

Perhaps you have a few options but you’re struggling to narrow them down. Or you’re not sure what jobs you can do with your degree? Or you think you ‘should’ be doing a certain career because that’s what your parents and tutors expect, but a little voice inside you is saying ‘no, don’t go there’!

Remember that the career choices you make now won’t tie you down forever.

What’s most important is choosing one or two industries and roles that appeal to your interests, play to your strengths and match your values and ideal work environment.

Getting clarity in these areas will help focus your search for work experience. And give you a much better chance of enjoying your early career.

Here are 10 questions to get you started with reflecting on your interests... 

What defines you beyond your degree?

We make time for the things we enjoy. Could you turn your passion into a career?

  1. What do you like to do in your free time?

  2. When are you at your happiest? Why?

  3. What do you like helping friends or family with?

  4. What do you get fired up about when chatting with friends and family?

Who do you admire?

Have a think about your role models, and why they inspire you.

5. Who has a career that you think sounds interesting?
6. What is it about their career that appeals to you?

What brands, organisations or campaigns do you respect?

Now that everyone has social media, we are bombarded by brands every time we scroll through our phones.

7. Which brands, organisations or campaigns have stood out to you recently?
8. What have you noticed about them? (i.e. Have they made an impact? What cause do they stand for?)

Which media stories have caused a strong reaction in you?

Certain stories in the press can really hit home. If your values motivate your decisions, this could be a good starting point in deciding your career...

9. Which media stories have caused you to feel real emotion?
10. What is it about the story that prompted that reaction?

I lied about the ten questions. There’s one more!

Have the questions above sparked any ideas about where you’d like to take your career? 

After a varied career across marketing, recruitment and training Rachel Harrison qualified as a career coach and founded My Professional Hat. Her coaching and training business inspires students and graduates to set out on the right career path for them, by helping them with career direction, mindset, practical skills, and focused action planning. She is co-author of the Lonely Planet Volunteering Book, loves tennis, travel and hanging out with friends.