The holidays can wait

Posted October 13, 2011, by Louisa Veidelis

If you're in Year 9 or 10 you're probably looking forward to getting your exams out of the way and heading off for the long summer holidays. But before you start daydreaming about the beach, take a moment to think about this: your future!

But hold on! Before you write this off as a guilt-inducing lecture, don't worry, we're not your parents, we wouldn't do that.

We just have a few handy hints to help you work through some tricky decisions.

If you're in Year 9, when you get back after the holidays (yes, we know you don't want to think about that yet) you'll be starting to decide what subjects you want to do in Year 11 and 12. If you're already in Year 10, you'll have made these decisions already but it's still worth spending a little bit of your time off thinking about what you want to do for a career (scary, we know).

So to help you, we at Career FAQs have put together some simple steps to help you figure out what career path you'd like to follow.

1. Write down your top five subjects or projects at school

These are the ones that you enjoy most and where you feel most proud of your work.

Hands-on: food tech, woodwork, electronics
Creative: drama, art, music, dance
Academic: English, languages, history, geography
Logical: maths, science, commerce
Physical: PE 

2. Rate these from favourite to least favourite

Chances are the ones at the top of the list are what you are good at and that's a good place to start when thinking about what you might want to do when you start working. As an example, perhaps your favourite subjects are maths and electronics. There are many career paths that come from an interest in these areas, from becoming an electrician to all the different types of engineering. 

3. Write down your top five hobbies and interests

Playing sport
Going to the theatre
Talking to people
Helping people
Using computers
Writing stories

If you don't have many hobbies, write down what you'd like to do.

Many people turn their hobby into their career. The winner of the Beachley Classic at Manly Beach in October 2008 was Tyler Wright, who was only 14 years old and the youngest ever winner of an Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour event. Tyler's love of surfing and her ability to compete at a very high level set her up for a successful surfing career. 

4. Look for connections between your favourite subjects and hobbies

You might have an extended list that includes maths, helping people and visiting friends in the country.

One career that suits this profile is teaching. You could become a maths teacher and work in the country. There is generally more demand for teachers outside capital cities so chances of getting work are high. Builders are often in demand in the bush as well so, if living in the country is something you want to prioritise, you can start from this point. 

5. Start networking now

Look at your list and start researching possible careers by talking to people working in the fields you're thinking about. That's right, it's time to start networking!

Tell your family, friends and teachers what you're interested in and ask if they know anyone in the industry who you could chat with. Change your MySpace headline to 'I want to be a designer – does anyone have any contacts?'

Networking allows you to speak with people working in the industry or profession that you are interested in. Talking to people helps you to find out what they love, what they don't and apply it to where you see yourself down the track. If you can, organise some work experience (paid or unpaid). It all helps you to make the right career decision.

A recent 2008 survey of Australians found that 47 per cent were dissatisfied with their current jobs (CareerOne, 20 February 2008) so a bit of work now can help you avoid ending up like this! 

6. Read everything you can about the careers you have identified

The Career FAQs range of 45 career specific books contain interviews with 25+ people in the field so you can read about what the jobs involve and how those people got started. You can get the latest information on how much you can earn, what qualifications you need and how to get a job.

Whether you are interested in journalism, building and construction, information technology, teaching, nursing, medicine or one of many other industries, you can find out all you need to know in a book that's all about the job. And right now you can buy a book for just $19.95 (33% off RRP) if you sign up to become a Career FAQs member.

Career FAQs also has online interviews and career resources (right here on our website!) so if there is something you want to know about a career, ask a question and we'll do our best to find out the answer.

And there are plenty of other websites with career information including government websites such as Jobsearch. Let Google do your walking for you.

Once you have decided where you are heading with your career, slap on the sunscreen, grab your cozzie and head for the surf and sand.

Louisa Veidelis

AIM Business School
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