How to decide on a career

3 Jan 2024

Having a career is a great way for you to grow and strive toward your future goals, like learning new skills, earning a higher salary, buying a house or working in an industry you love. So it’s important to choose a career path that will help you achieve your aspirations.  

It’s important to remember that it’s perfectly okay to change your job role or not know what you want to do. Everyone works in different industries and roles throughout their professional life to help them find what they want to delve further into. 

Reflect on yourself

Thinking about what you enjoy doing and what your values are can help you figure out what job role or industry you may enjoy working in most. It’s understandable that you want to feel excited about what you’re working on, so if you can find a career that you want to explore this could be a great start. To help you find what you would like to do you could ask yourself questions like:

Interest-based questions 

●    What do I enjoy learning about?
●    How do I like to spend my time?
●    Do I prefer working inside or outside?

Value-based questions

●    What do I consider most important in my life?
●    What are my priorities?
●    How would I like to make a change?

Trait-based questions  

●    What do I consider as success?
●    What do I want to do more of?
●    What strengths do I enjoy most?

Think about what motivates you 

When figuring out what you want your career to be, thinking about what motivations you’re working toward can help you work out what type of role would best suit you. But remember, your job may not provide you with all the benefits you’re looking for. 

You may be interested in things like:
●    A higher salary
●    Employee and personal benefits
●    Work life balance 
●    Flexibility 
●    Career growth

Consider your long-term goals

Making a list of both your personal and professional long-term goals can give you an idea of what job requirements you’re looking for to help you achieve your targets. Example long-term goals include:
●    Buying a house
●    Travelling
●    Buying a car
●    Reaching a senior position in your job

You can use this list to refine your job search a bit more. For example, if you want to travel more you could look for something that allows you to do so as a part of your role.

Take self-assessment tests

There are a multitude of self-assessment tools out there evaluating things like your personality and strengths or what career could be a good fit for you. Use these tests as guidance towards what you could do, not as a definitive answer of what your career should be. 

Explore different sectors and industries

Researching different sectors, and their goals can help you determine whether they’re an industry you want to work in. You can consider each sector's goals and how they align with your own. 

Researching industries as well as sectors are a great way to narrow where you may want to work. Explore your options in industries including:
●    Marketing
●    Hospitality
●    Healthcare
●    Insurance
●    Finance 

You can make a list of any industries that interest you and conduct further research to understand whether they would be a good fit for you, the major roles within it and the potential growth opportunities they may have. 

Seek professional resources 

While there’s a lot of research you can do on your own to help you figure out your dream career, there are a lot of professionals out there that can help you as well. 

The National Careers Service has lots of information to help you, and if you’re receiving support from a Jobcentre Plus Work Coach, you might be eligible for personalised support to help you on your employment journey. Read more about employment support available on our website at

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