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How to make good career decisions

We all need to make decisions and choices about our careers at different points of our lives. The decision you make now can affect your future career path. Make a choice that will help you achieve your career goals.

To make good career decisions:

1. Identify the decision you need to make

On your phone or on a piece of paper write down, "The decision I need to make is.....". This will help you keep it clear in your mind.

2. Find out all the options you have to choose from

You might have a lot of different options to choose from, or there could be just 2. To find out your options you can:

  • Research online. Our Plan your Career section has a lot of information about options at all different stages. To look at career options try our Job Matching Quiz.
  • Talk to a Careers Adviser. If you are in school or college you can also talk to your teachers or tutors.

3. Use good decision making techniques to help you choose

How do you usually make decisions? Below are some good decision making techniques, followed by some techniques you should avoid. To make a good decision you might use one or many of the good techniques.

Good decision making techniques include:

  • List the pros and cons of each of the options
  • Research the options. Our Job information section has a lot of information on what is involved in different careers and what qualifications and subjects you need. It also contains information on the routes into each career.
  • Talk with family and people you trust about your options
  • Discuss your ideas with people who specialise in helping you like a Careers Adviser or Teacher (if you are in school)
  • Choose options you are good at. If you are good at something you are more likely to succeed. Our Buzz Quiz and Know your Strengths pages can help you to identify what you are good at
  • Choose options you enjoy. If you enjoy something you are more likely to stick at it
  • Imagine your future self. What do you want to be doing in 5 years time? This can help you choose the right path to live the life you imagine for your future self 

Avoid these decision making techniques:

  • Don't choose things because your friends are doing them
  • Don't ask other people to make decisions for you 
  • Don't flip a coin to decide
  • Don't rush into a decision without thinking it through
  • Don't decide out of fear

4. Make a back up plan (just in case)

It's always a good idea to make a back up plan, a Plan B. Sometimes your first choice doesn't work out. For example, a course you choose may be cancelled. So, having a back up plan means that you won't have to panic if your first choice isn't available.

5. Act on your decision

You've made your decision. Now is the time to act on your decision. For example, this could mean, enrolling on a course or putting down your subject choices for next year. Taking the first step could even be as simple as contacting a college or university to find out about open days. 


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