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How to choose a career

Want the perfect career, but not sure how to get it? We've picked out some top tips to help you discover your dream job, and easily map out how to achieve it.

Whether you’re young and at school, you’ve recently graduated, or you’ve been in the same job for some time, there’s the chance you haven’t quite yet got to where you want to be in terms of having your dream job. 

The issue for many is either how to get to their final destination, or perhaps even not knowing what their ideal career looks like.

This article lays out some of the questions you need to answer and the hurdles you need to cross before choosing your perfect career.

What would you love to do if money wasn’t a barrier?

Although this isn’t going to be the question that puts the entire issue to bed, working out what your dream job is, regardless of money, is a great step to finding out what exactly you want to do. 

Even if not the perfect guide to the job you’re likely to take, this is a quick and easy method of eliminating some types of work that you would entirely avoid if given the opportunity. Whilst a “money is no object” thought experiment won’t resolve the problem, it narrows it down to a smaller list of solutions that you can use to identify your next career move.

How can you make money and do something you love?

Once you have a shortlist of things you’d like to do from the above question, you can further narrow down your career options by seeing which of them could realistically provide you with a living in the near-term future. 

There might be some roles that require you to work voluntarily rather than as a paid position, and, whilst you might enjoy the role, they won’t help you pay the bills. 

By taking into account the monetary factor, you can work out what career gives you the chance to do what you love and live comfortably without having to worry about your cost of living.

What sort of environment are you comfortable working in?

If you’re really ill-suited to working in an office environment or wouldn’t enjoy working from home, you’ll need to factor this into your decision. Although it can be difficult to find a job that also allows you to work where you want, working in the wrong environment can have detrimental effects, including work-related stress. 

Working in the wrong environment, even in what you consider to be a dream job, could be harmful to your mental health, and even make you dislike your passion.

What’s stopping you from changing career now?

When you’re moving from one career to another, there are always going to be some bumps in the road. 

For some, this comes in the form of a sparse CV. In other cases, there’s a skills gap that needs to be filled in order to do the job right in the case that you do change careers. 

In both cases, or any others you might come across, if you don’t make sure that these roadblocks are out of the way, then moving to your dream job could prove to be impossible. Training in cutting-edge areas, boosting your CV and your skillset in the process, could be a big jump along the path to job satisfaction.

What is my first step to a new career?

To start moving towards your new career, you’ll need to make sure you have the skills to do the job. FutureLearn can provide you with the courses and training you need to get up to speed.

We use a variety of online learning modules, including free short courses, to improve your skills level and prepare individuals for the role of their dreams. All our courses are 100% online, which means you can retrain in your own time, at your own pace, with a global community of learners.

If you still don’t know what your dream career looks like, explore FutureLearn’s Career Mapper. This uses a series of detailed questions to help you narrow down what exactly you want your career to look like – starting today.


Category Careers