Finding the right course for you

Rafael Washington industry trends, work placement

We are expected to have our life, study and career paths planned out while still in high school. For those who are very clear on what they want and when they want to achieve it by, this can be a blessing. However, this expectation can be upended, particularly when you find yourself choosing, or being forced into, a new direction in life. Research on employment trends in the early part of the 21st Century indicates we are predicted to change careers up to 5 times.

So, what does this mean for people who are at a crossroads and yet to decide on what to study? Normally I’d ask you a few questions to help guide your decision. It’s really easy to help you find which course is right for you. Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:

• What sort of job do you want to do?
• Why do you want to do this job?
• Do you want to make this a long-term career?
• What do you enjoy doing?
• What are you really good at?

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Answering these 5 questions will help give shape to those thoughts and feelings that are just flying around inside your head or heart. Identifying your purpose, or what gets you out of bed in the morning, is a great way to identify which direction you want to go. Pinpointing your skills will help you align these with your passion/purpose. It always helps to find a job that you are good at and enjoy.

It’s no coincidence that these questions are similar in theme to the type of questions you might be asked in a job interview. Choosing a course to study is generally a commitment you make to yourself to try and get the job you’re aiming to land. Having clarity about what you are studying and why you are studying it gives you the opportunity to provide clear answers in a job interview.

A job interview is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your value to a prospective employer. Organisations hire people who can do the job and fit the culture and team. This means they often prefer people who have strong interpersonal communication skills, or what are often referred to as ‘soft skills’. For students in certificate or diploma level qualifications, this can be invaluable if you have a work placement component for your course. You will be more comfortable having a conversation about what you can personally bring to the organisation.

James Bell

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