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Career Options

career centre
Once you have a good idea of the career you want, the next step is to consider how you’re going to make it happen. As well as practical issues like location, salary and the job market, you may need to look into updating your skills and qualifications.

After you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential careers, there are a number of issues you’ll want to consider before putting your plan into action.

If you’re not prepared to move, you’ll need to consider location. While you can probably find work as a travel agent in most large towns, if you’re looking to get into TV production there are likely to be more opportunities in London and other major cities.

You’ll have opportunities for promotion in most careers – but this doesn’t always translate to lots more pay. Is doing something you love more important than a large salary?

The job market
There’s competition in most careers, but some are more competitive than others. Careers that are seen as ‘glamorous’ can be difficult to get into without plenty of unpaid work experience, enthusiasm and a certain amount of luck. If you’re attracted to a career like this, are you prepared to put in the extra effort?

Career progression
What opportunities are there to progress within the careers you’re looking at? Once you’re in, how would you get to the next stage - either within the same line of work, or in a related field? What training is likely to be on offer?

Working conditions
What will doing the job actually mean day-to-day? If it involves meeting lots of people and that's not your thing, you might want to think again. Would you prefer a job indoors, or wouldn’t you mind being outside in the depths of winter?

Your circumstances
Your circumstances needn’t limit your career options. There may be extra support available if, for example, you’re a lone parent or you have a disability. Follow the link below to find out more.
Once you’ve considered the factors listed above, making a list may help focus your mind. Try listing those which are essential, and those which are ‘nice to have’. An example might look like this:

  • involves dealing with people
  • close to your current home
  • earning at least £15,000 in your first year

‘Nice to have’
  • in public or ‘not for profit’ sectors
  • opportunities to travel abroad
  • linked to a favourite subject you’ve studied
Looking at career profiles should give you a good idea of the qualifications you’ll need: see ‘Learning for work’ for information on how to get them.

Adult learning or higher education can be a great way of opening up new career opportunities. Remember that it’s never too late to return to learning.