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If you don’t know what you want to do, choosing a career path can be a big deal. Learn about what a career pathway consists of, some of the worries we have thinking about it, great ways to figure it all out, and what to do if you’re still unsure.

This can help if:

  • you’re trying to decide what to do for a career
  • you want help in finding a career path
  • you’re worried that you’ll make the wrong career choice.
Girl and guy sitting on couch with artwork behind them

So, how to figure it all out?

‘What do you want to do with your life?’ is one of those, big, daunting questions that people throw at you now and again. Careers play a big role in our lives, and the idea of choosing one can be daunting.

Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What do I enjoy? Think about what you really love doing. Make a list of all the things you enjoy, and try to match them up with possible career choices. Think outside the box. There are millions of jobs you probably don’t even know exist, such as food scientist specialising in ice-cream flavouring. No joke, that’s a real job!
  • What am I good at? Are you a great communicator, good with your hands, a whiz at solving problems, or a creative person? Identifying your skills and personal qualities will go a long way in helping you to identify a possible career pathway.
  • What lifestyle appeals to me? Would you prefer an indoor or outdoor working environment? Travelling around or staying put? It’s handy to think about how working will fit into your lifestyle and be an enjoyable part of your life.
  • Do I need to study? Figure out what you need to study to achieve your goals, then go for it. TAFE? Uni? Design school? The options are endless.

Here are some things you can do if you can’t answer these questions easily:

  • Chat to someone: A lot of the time, we’re our own worst critic. Get a second opinion from a trusted friend or family member, and find out what they think you’re awesome at. For professional guidance, take all your questions to a careers adviser at school or uni.
  • Map it out: Go to town on a mind map, jotting down all the types of jobs you might be interested in, even if they seem a bit unrealistic. Then put it out of sight for a week. When you take another peek at it, are there any that stick out?
  • Do some work experience: Volunteer or intern with companies or organisations you like the look of. It’s one of the best ways to get a taste of what to expect in an industry. If you find that it’s not for you, you can simply cross it off the list. Done.
  • Imagine you’re offered every job in the whole world. Which job would you pick? Start from there and work backwards to something you feel you can achieve.

Still having a hard time?

It probably isn’t going to happen that you’ll fall into a job that you love straight away. It takes time, persistence and hard work. In the meantime, any experience is good experience. If you have absolutely no idea where to start, just choose anything – that way, you'll at least start acquiring skills that are valuable in any workplace and learning about the kinds of things you do and don’t like in a job, and about what it’s like to be employed. The good thing is, in this day and age, it’s not a big deal to shift careers. You can always change to something else down the track.

What can I do now?

  • Get tips for interview skills.
  • Talk to a careers adviser.
  • Start answering the questions listed above!