Know you need to think about what comes after school, but not sure where to start? That’s ok, we can help.
Not up for reading? Watch this short video instead:
Here are 5 top tips for finding career inspiration:
Tip 1 – Get tested
Not for the virus; take a personality quiz. These tests won’t be able to peer deep into your soul or uncover your perfect match, but they can be a half-decent place to start, especially if you don’t know what else to do. Many of them are based on a relatively outdated but somehow still accurate career profile called the Holland or ‘RIASEC’ Codes, which looks at the types of things you like and suggests styles of jobs which may suit you.
Tip 2 – Get some distance
It’s pretty hard to contemplate your future while you’re also thinking about your next shift at work, that assignment you need to finish (or start), and whether or not you should post again today.
You’re unlikely to find inspiration while you’re busy with everything else, so give yourself some space. You don’t need to go on a week-long health retreat (although that does sound quite nice…), start with a walk by yourself around the block. Don’t take music or your phone – just get outside with just your thoughts for company. Not into moving? Find something else that works for you.
If there’s anything that’s super urgent get that out of the way first – it’ll make it easier to clear your mind, so you can fill it with ideas about jobs.
What you need:
What you don’t need:
- Your phone
- Your friends
While you’re getting some space, allow your mind to wander to jobs you’ve seen, jobs you think you might like, and jobs you know you don’t like.
Tip 3 – Think jobs, not courses
It’s really easy to focus on the course you want to do when school is finished and forget that the course (either uni or VET) is leading you somewhere. We see it all the time; students are more worried about ‘using up’ their ATAR to get into the most exclusive course, and completely forget that you should be choosing a course that leads towards the career you want to work in.
The truth is that post-school study goes even quicker than high school. The average VET or university course will be finished in around three years, and once it’s over you’ll be off in the big world and working. Most of us will spend around forty or fifty years in the workforce, so that’s a long time to spend doing something you don’t like because it was the best you could get with your ATAR…
If you’re thinking about your future then avoid spending large amounts of time working out which course you want to study – the vast majority of time should be spent identifying possible future career paths, then once you’ve got that sorted move on to working out your course.
Tip 4 – Start exploring
And start with an open mind. Look at every job, even the ones you’ve already ruled out, and think about them again. There may be something you’ve ruled out years ago as too easy/too hard, but it may be perfect for you – don’t rule anything out until you’ve looked at it properly.
There are lots of places to explore jobs. We have a huge range of Job Spotlights to kick things off, Seek have a brilliant section where you can explore careers, and you can even learn about jobs on TikTok.
If you want to learn more about the types of things you would do in a specific role then don’t hesitate to look at actual job listings on a site like Seek – every job is different, so you’ll need to read a few to build up a picture, but you’ll be able to learn about things like the roles and responsibilities, the pay and conditions, and the types of skills, experience, and qualifications they’ll be looking for.
Tip 5 – Reflect
To really get inspired, you need to reflect on what you’ve learnt. Deep, critical reflection helps us work out what we like, what we don’t, and how we can do things differently.
One idea is to keep a career journal throughout your senior high school years – write down all the different jobs you come across that you are interested in, and make some notes about your thoughts. When it’s time to reflect, come back to your career journal and read through your entries, then see if anything pops out.
If you’re not into journaling and want to reflect then start by asking yourself these three questions, and making a note of what comes up:
- What types of things make me happy?
- What do I want to achieve?
- Who do I want to be like?
Just recognising that you need to look for career inspiration, and deciding to do something about it is the first step – if you’ve read this entire post then the hardest part is over. Finding something that inspires you is easy when you know how to look, so start with tip one and work through each, and you should be well on your way to finding a job that fits.