Choosing a career that suits you
Choosing a career or job role can feel like the start of an exciting journey, but it can also feel daunting with so many options to choose from. There are many ways you can approach this, such as looking at roles that make the most of your skills or those that suit your interests. Understanding what you can offer and what you like and dislike are important first steps in the process. This article provides information and activities to help you work towards choosing a career that suits you.
Choose a career that motivates you
Planning and managing a career takes time and effort, so it’s helpful to understand what the main motivation for your career is. What do you want to get out of your career? What particular aspects are important to you? Understanding your motivations will help you choose a career that suits you.
How to identify what motivates you
Take some time to look at the activities below to help identify your motivations and reflect on what you want to get out of work.
- Evaluate your work life balance – Activity 1.8 (PDF, 28 KB)
- What do you want from work – Activity 1.14 (PDF, 28 KB)
- Rate your current (or last) job – Activity 1.15 (PDF, 28 KB)
Choose a career related to your studies and qualification
If you’re studying for your career, then exploring careers information related to your qualification can give you some ideas about typical job roles and careers. Think about why you chose your qualification and modules and what you enjoy or enjoyed most about them. This can help you narrow down your choices.
How to use your OU subject and qualification to explore suitable careers
Explore the links below to research job roles information related to your OU subject and qualification. Read about how other students who have studied similar subjects have entered their careers.
- OU study and your career - General careers information related to the subject you're studying.
- Study Home - Your Study Home site provides careers information and advice tailored to your qualification.
- What do OU students do - see the journeys of OU students succeeding in their chosen careers or in further study.
While you’re exploring possible careers, keep in mind your reflections on what motivates you and what your skills and strengths are.
- Are there particular aspects of your subject you have enjoyed more than others?
- Are there particular approaches to learning you've enjoyed, e.g. project work?
Choose a career that makes the most of your skills and strengths
You’re more likely to enjoy a job if it makes the most of your skills and strengths and gives you a chance to develop them further. There are different ways to approach this. You could look at your current skill set and see what you’re good at. You could also look at your past achievements and assess the skills you used to make them happen.
This can help you learn what you’re good at and where your strengths lie. It can also help you identify the skills you want to develop for your chosen career.
How to identify your skills and strengths
Work through the activities below to help you assess your skills and reflect on your strengths and achievements. Don't just think about your work skills, reflect on the knowledge and skills you've gained through your Open University (OU) study and other activities you do.
While working through the activities, ask yourself what do you want to improve? And what new skills do you want to learn?
- What are your employability skills – Activity 1.13 (PDF, 28 KB)
- Listing your work achievements and skills – Activity 1.12 (PDF, 28 KB)
- Identifying your leisure activities and skills – Activity 1.7 (PDF, 28 KB)
- Recognise your main achievements – Activity 1.3 (PDF, 28 KB)
You can also use Kudos AD to assess your skills to identify suitable careers.Back to top
Choose a career based on your interests
Understanding your interests means that when you explore job profiles and information you’ll be able to evaluate them for how well they meet your needs.
Perhaps one of your hobbies or interests could lead to a career. For example, if you’re interested in conservation or sport, you can explore careers in these areas to find one that suits you. Thinking about the activities or interests you choose to do or follow in your free time can lead you to a rewarding career that suits you.
How to recognise your interests, your likes and dislikes
Take a look at the activities below to help you recognise your interests, likes and dislikes.
- Rate the work you’d like to do – Activity 1.17 (PDF, 28 KB)
- Recognise your style of working– Activity 1.11 (PDF, 28 KB)
KudosAD can help you identify suitable careers based on your interests and skills.
- Answer questions about your likes and dislikes to get a list of career ideas using MyFuture.
- Explore work areas and types of work based on what you’re interested in.
Talk to us
If you want to talk to us about what you have found out about yourself and what you can do next, you can request a careers consultation.Back to top