Confused about what you want to do after school, college or sixth form? Do you feel like you’ve done every questionnaire that supposedly helps you to pick the ‘right career for you', but you still don’t have a clue? It’s perfectly OK to still be figuring it all out and believe us when we tell you you’re not the only one, even though it may feel like that right now!
Life after school or college can feel completely overwhelming, you have so many options and it can be difficult to decide what your next steps should be. From A Levels to BTECs, NVQs, apprenticeships, internships, university or even taking a gap year, there is so much to choose from. And don’t forget; there is no right or wrong pathway!
What to do if you don’t have a clue?
You might feel like your friends have everything under control, they know what they want to do next and you don’t. But you’re all in the same boat and what you think you want to do right now might not even be what you want to do in a years time. Don’t ever feel under pressure to make a rushed decision in the here and now. Consider your options, take time to think and plan...
1. Make a decision that you think is right for you
Although it can be tempting to follow in your peers' footsteps, it’s important not to allow this to influence your decision. Take your own direction, not what your teachers, family or friends think you should do. Sure, seek their advice and take it on board but remember it’s your choice and it’s about doing what is best for you.
2. Learn new skills
Whether you continue your journey in education or begin to pave your career route, learning new skills is vital. You often associate learning with a classroom in a school, college or university, however, lifelong learning is crucial and exploring your curiosity is a must!
As children, you constantly asked ‘why?’ helping you to build knowledge of the world. It’s important to continue this into adulthood. Why? Without continuous learning you’re unable to expand your abilities, to develop skills and to innovate.
Learning new skills can put you on the right path to discovering what it is you want to do with your life, it can help you to build self awareness and to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can grow.
3. Step out of your comfort zone
It’s easy to continue with your studies even if it’s not particularly what you want to do, purely because it’s the safe option, it’s familiar and offers security. Stepping out of your comfort zone opens doors to new opportunities, broadening your perspective and releasing your passions.
So whether you’re interested in taking a particular subject at college or taking a shot at something completely different, like your first ever job, it’s perfectly normal to be worried that you might not like it but sometimes it’s better to take the risk at times rather than wonder what if.
Not only might you enjoy the experience but even if you don’t at least you tried and you can use this as a learning curb for future references. These can be great learning experiences and can help you to build your confidence and transferable skills. So if you want to learn a new language, take up a course in politics or do an apprenticeship - go for it! It could be the best choice you’ve ever made!
4. Meet new people
Like we touched on previously, it’s easy to follow the crowd or to even get lost in it. Just because your friends are off to college or university, doesn’t mean you have to, unless of course, you want to! You’ve got to make the decision for yourself and not for other people. Take the lead of your career and life.
It can be daunting choosing a different option from your friends. You might worry that you’ll lose touch with them but don’t! If you put the effort in then that shouldn’t be a problem and even if you do, you’re bound to meet new people along the way. Embrace the importance of networking, expand your knowledge, look at things from a different perspective and unlock your potential.
5. Don’t ever give up
From seeing the world to getting a degree or following your passions in a career industry you’re keen to pursue. The world really is your oyster! Nothing is set in stone when deciding what to do next after school or college. If you want a career or subject change that’s perfectly fine and realising what you don’t enjoy takes you one step closer to what you do like. It’s important to keep on moving, one step at a time. Don’t ever give up on finding a route that’s right for you.
The job market of today
Today's job market differs from that of your parents. It used to be that you’d follow a predictable career route, jobs were for life and adult-stability was defined by staying in one job for an extended period of time. Career changes were seen as job hopping but this isn’t the case anymore.
Take a look at today's career marketplace and you’ll find that careers are no longer considered a straight path, they are more like zigzags and young people, like yourselves, are breaking away from what used to be considered the ‘norm’. The advancement of technology plays a huge part in this, it’s created new jobs, increased productivity and altogether making people more connected.
Nobody knows what the future holds for technology and careers. Jobs which don’t exist today will do in the future. In today’s career market, it’s okay to allow space for predictions, discovery, trial and error. Remember, it’s ok to not know and if you do know that’s perfectly ok too!