Career Planning Part 2: Do Your Research

Career Planning Part 2: Do Your Research

Have you read Career Planning Part 1: Getting Started?

Finding your perfect career is tricky, especially when new roles are emerging all the time. Who was hiring for UX designers, GDPR consultants or indeed blog writers ten years ago? You need to do your research and you may just discover your dream role.

Identify Your Interests

This is where we get out a big sheet of paper. Brainstorm and brainstorm again – give your brain a good work out. You may be interested in golf or cooking or foreign travel but has it got career potential? Write down everything, realistic or not. Then think of the things you enjoy doing. Do you enjoy organising events? Do you enjoy reading and understanding complicated concepts? Do you enjoy being outside or would you rather be in a warm office? Do you enjoy working with a team to complete a project or are you more solitary and want full control of your work? This is the time to really question yourself. Why not do a random search of jobs available in your area and really analyse what you like and dislike about them. This will focus your mind and is likely to reveal things you hadn’t thought of. By this time you should have some job titles in mind. Search all the job sites like and to get a good understanding of what these jobs involve and the diversity within the field.

Identify the Corporate Landscape

By this time you should have a better idea of potential careers. Now you need to look at the companies that you could work for and get to know the corporate landscape. The same job title can describe totally different roles in different companies. Titles such as account manager, associate or evensecretary can denote widely differing positions and tasks. A junior software developer in a small design consultancy will have lots more creative input that a junior software developer at a multinational publishers. It’s really important to have an idea of the sort of company you want to work for as some people thrive in huge corporations whereas some would much rather the agility of a small startup. List the major players and start to explore the smaller operations. If you want to work in aviation, for example, you may be drawn initially to Rolls Royce or Boeing whereas actually a job at a smaller fabricator that supplies them may well provide more job satisfaction.

Explore the Prospects

Yes we’d all like to work for the ideal company, doing a job we love but sufficient remuneration and job security should always be considerations. Location is key too. Some jobs really only exist in metropolitan centres and if you love village life it will likely involve a painful commute.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what you’d like to do and where, explore the prospects for career development, promotion or perhaps even setting up your own company in the future. Lots of jobs have progression ‘ceilings’ and however much experience you rack up you’ll essentially be doing the same thing on the same wage. For some people that’s no bad thing. If the pay’s good, it’s in a stable industry and it’s an engaging role then that can provide all the satisfaction your need. What do you want from life? If you are very ambitious don’t get stuck in a cul-de-sac and if you value stability avoid highly competitive cut-throat industries.