It’s time to think about your career!

Every kid dreams of what they want to become when they grow up! From fire fighters to teachers to astronauts – no matter how far-fetched the dreams might be, it always seems possible at the time. Of course, as we mature, reality starts to set in; things change, trends come and go, technology keeps evolving. At some point, dreams have to become plans!


Figuring out what you want your career to look like is a significant decision. Usually, these kinds of decisions come with a lot of pressure. We can bet you want to find something you enjoy or are passionate about, but then there are a whole range of other things you might want to consider – maybe you value other things such as work-life balance, travelling overseas, or even getting a big paycheck. Whatever you want from your career, it's never too early (or too late!) to start looking.


We know how difficult this journey can be, so we’ve compiled a few things you may want to consider while making this life-changing decision and how could you go about it.


First up… how do I know what I want to do?

It comes down to one word: explore! You're never going to find out want you like doing best if you don't try new things. The best way to find your passion is by trying a little bit of every new opportunity that comes your way.


Don't just focus on a single path, but keep a broad view open instead; you never know what opportunities you may come across! A good way to start is by researching different industries and what they offer.


List down the things you already enjoy doing, whether it's sports, problem-solving, writing, travel, or anything else, and break down your interests into basic principles. Do you like sports because you like being active and travelling? Or, do you like writing because it gives you the option to express yourself? If you’re clear about what you like doing, chances are there is a career out there for you that fulfils most if not all of your fundamental desires.


It also pays to be specific with your research; weigh up what each career would require from you. Think about things like timings (what times would you be required to work), how often would you have to travel, the flexibility of the job, how many hours it would take up, and how much will it pay you. After considering all these factors, start to narrow your list down.


Plan it out!

Once you’ve narrowed in on what you want to do, you’ll have a specific goal to work towards. This is your north star: visualise it, dream it, and keep working towards it! This goal will drive you to go to lengths you have never gone before.


After you have decided what you want your career to look like (which is a fantastic feeling, by the way), you're going to have to plan out each step that will get you closer to that end goal. This will reduce the risk of you getting sidetracked or losing focus – you're always going to have something to look forward to (and work to). 


Now, as we all know, life rarely tends to go according to plan; it's constantly changing things up for us. Well, we can't do much about that, so don't worry about the things you can't control! You don’t need to plan every step of the way, but by knowing where you’re ultimately headed, you can constantly review and alter the steps of your plan to suit your needs.


When you know what you want, you're going to feel in control – there will be no hesitation, only execution!


Goals are great, but what about the first steps?

Start by researching what study options you have available to you. If you’re at high school, this may include the Cambridge, NCEA, and IB curricula. After this, you’ll likely be looking at a University degree, an apprenticeship, or even an online course from Unitec. They all have advantages, but it's up to you to see which one works best for your career goal.


For example, if a university degree is required for your career, you should focus on achieving good results in Cambridge, NCEA or IB. However, if your career path involves experience over a degree, then an apprenticeship or internship would be a great start. 


Next up, make sure you study enough to get the grades required to pass. For example, some universities/courses will require a higher mark than others. Most universities will be clear about the grade requirements on their websites. Remember to involve yourself in a balanced portfolio of extracurricular activities as well if you’re aiming for the top universities!


And finally: think carefully before putting all your eggs in one basket! It’s usually best to apply for multiple courses, internships, or apprenticeships. This way, if you find yourself unlucky with your first picks, you’ll be thanking yourself for having backups.


Write it all down.

One thing you should always remember is that this process will take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day! The more you research, experiment, and try new things out, the more likely it is that your end goal will change over this time.


The best way to keep track of your plans is by writing them down, either in a diary, document, or just as a brainstorm on a piece of paper. That way, you can be clear about what it is you want, and refer to this time and again.


Are you still stuck?
A major life decision such as this one can be quite a daunting task. If you can't decide what you want to do for a large part of your life, that's completely okay! Just keep trying out different things until one of them ignites that flame in you. Make sure that you’re doing what you want, and not what others want for you!


If you’re nearing the end of school and you haven’t yet made up your mind, you might want to consider taking a gap year! Working or travelling right after school is a great way to expose yourself to the ‘real world’ and give you a stronger sense of what it is you want to do.


One thing that you’ll never regret is asking others for advice. Try talking to university students, teachers, or anyone else who does what you want to do and just chat with them about their experiences. They are the people who can give you the most insight.


Finally, always remember that – although it’s an important decision – you’re not signing yourself up to an entire life sentence with your career choice. It’s normal these days to have up to four or five (or more) changes in tack over the course of your career. So as we said before, always keep exploring!



EduExperts specialises in helping people like you achieve their educational goals. Want to know more? Get in touch with your local centre here.


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