Use this activity to work out how you really feel about a job
This activity helps you to analyse and evaluate possible jobs, firm up your career ideas and make decisions.
Identify a job that interests you and then answer the questions below.
You may not be able to answer all the questions immediately, but you can use the questions to structure further research. There are three parts to the activity.
To find out what is happening currently, read the business columns of the broadsheet newspapers and listen to the news on TV and radio. Are companies recruiting people in the field you are interested in? If not, why not? If they are recruiting, does the job have a shelf-life? Will it still be there in ten years or so? Does this job have built-in obsolescence? If so, could you see a short period in this job leading on to something else, or should you think again? Look at the employment market to find out more.
Have you identified your own interests and how they fit in with this job? If not, take some time to do this.
Have you identified your values? Consider words such as autonomy, variety, intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic, excitement. Will the job clash with any of your own values? Spend some time reflecting on your values with this activity.
How long are you prepared to take to develop your career and obtain the job you want? Have you set yourself short, medium and long-term goals? Do you have a time limit for entry to the job of your choice? Have you got time to study for any necessary qualifications? What would happen if you are unable to obtain that job? Do you have any other options? Action planning and decision making can help you to set goals and develop your career. Take some time to do this important activity.
Have you checked whether specific qualifications are essential? Are your qualifications appropriate? You may need to consider gaining additional qualifications through further study.
Go to finding out about jobs if you need to consider the types of qualification needed for particular career areas or jobs.
Make sure that employers value the qualification you choose to study. If you don’t have the essential qualifications, how do you propose to obtain them? Would you be able to study full time or part time?
You may have experience that is directly relevant: perhaps paid or voluntary work in an area that relates directly, for example having worked with children would be useful experience for a teaching post. You might have experience which is indirectly relevant: working on tasks that have been similar, such as supervision of staff, or using databases.
You will have developed skills and qualities in a number of areas of your life through, for example, study, work and your role in the community. Take some time to work through these activities that will help you focus on the skills you have.
Try breaking the job down into task ‘chunks’, such as contact with customers and suppliers, supervision, report writing, liaison with senior management, and so on. Now try to map your own skills onto those ‘chunks’.
Consider the individual parts of a job. How much of the job involves things you like doing? What will you dislike? Also, look for the hidden tasks – not all will be listed in a recruitment advertisement. Think about the more mundane tasks. How important are your dislikes? Would you be able to cope so long as you enjoyed the other aspects of the job, or would the things you dislike ruin the job for you? If so, you may want to think again.
By looking at the activities or tasks involved you should be able to identify the skills and qualities required. You will also find these listed in job descriptions.
First, identify relevant skills and qualities you have gained and developed through different areas of your life. Then identify a particular activity or task that you had to do and the skills or qualities needed to complete it successfully. For example, if you volunteered to be the treasurer of your local sports club, you may have learned rudimentary book keeping, become more organised, and become more prepared to be assertive when chasing members for long overdue subscriptions.
It is only by relating examples of your experience that you can demonstrate to the employer that you have the necessary skills and qualities for the job. You can use information given in job specifications to match your skills to the needs of the job.
You may have needs and responsibilities to consider. Take some time to do this activity which will help you to identify these. Have you identified all possible difficulties, or are there still some unacknowledged ones which might be important? How would you deal with these?
What other parts of your life will be affected by the hours of this job? For example, if you have to change from part-time to full-time work and do not finish until 5.00 pm, will you need to find an after-school club for your children? If you are required to work weekends will this ruin your leisure activities? Will this affect your choice?
Are you prepared to travel a long distance each day, even though this takes a good deal of time? Will you need to stay away from home? Would this add to the stress of the job? Would you be able to work from home?
Is career progression important to you? What are the chances of promotion in your current job, either within your organisation or outside it?
If you change career you may have to accept a drop in salary. However, if you have just graduated you may expect your new status to be reflected in an improved salary. Sometimes taking a short-term drop in salary may lead to greater long-term benefits. The salary you accept partly depends on your previous situation, but think about the implications.
If you haven't already done so, review the career planning activities in the About you section. It is worth spending some time to Produce an action plan so that you can recognise what you want to achieve, and consider how you can get there. Go here for more help with applying for jobs, and to try out our Interview simulation activity.
Note: You will need your OU computer username and password to access the interview simulation.
Contact a careers adviser if you would like some help after doing these activities.