Career Choice
Don’t Know What Career You Want: A Guide for Researching Your Options
Careers in Depth
Career Choice
Don’t Know What Career You Want: A Guide for Researching Your Options
Careers in Depth

“I don’t know what career I want.” Has this thought crossed your mind? Perhaps you’ve even Googled the phrase in hopes that the internet might offer up an answer.

Many people struggle with this dilemma - high school students choosing subjects or deciding what to study at University, graduates doubting their choices after finishing their studies and looking for their first job or even seasoned professionals considering a career change. Whichever group you may fall into, uncertainty around your future and career path can be stressful and worrying.

We have written previously about, ‘How to Choose A Career Path When You Don’t Know What You Want to Be, with one of the most important steps you need to take being exploration and research.

Researching your options may sound like obvious advice, but with so much information out there and possibly no knowledge of where to start, exploring your options may seem like a daunting task. In this post, we have put together a guide for researching different professional paths if you don’t know what career you want.

Tips for Researching Your Career Options

While working through the guide below, it may be helpful to keep a log of information or record your findings to keep track of what appeals to you and what you learn about each field. You can also then look back at your findings and take some time to reflect on how each option aligns with your authentic self.

While you are researching, try to take note of what information excites you. Which field or roles do you find yourself reading more about? This process is not only for learning about different professions but also to try and understand more about how each career option resonates with your inner self.

Guide for Researching Your Career Options If You Don’t Know What Career You Want

Step 1: Desktop Research

The online world contains a wealth of information that you can access to get to know more about your career options and find out what specific fields or roles entail. Dedicating a few hours to doing some internet research over a period of time will require some effort and commitment but will help equip you with more insight to make your decision.

·       Job sites and career portals

A good way to kick off your research is to visit a few different job listing websites or career portals. Most of these websites will have categories of various industries. Spend some time browsing through the different industry categories,seeing what positions are available in each field, what the job descriptions entail and what the requirements are. Take note of what appeals to you and also of what doesn’t. Have a look at what the junior positions are and what the most senior positions involve and reflect on your thoughts on being in those positions. Here are a few job listing to get you started: Indeed, Reed, Trovit, Gumtree, Monster.

·        Career and industry blogs
Once you have an idea of some potential career fields that you’d like to explore further, have a look online for websites and blogs dedicated to each industry. Many industry websites will have helpful resources and blog sections that might help you understand the different career paths that exist in the field or the current state of the industry. You may also find information about the industry’s thought leaders, top professionals, events and general culture.When exploring this type of information, try to be aware of your own thoughts and feelings towards each aspect. Do the industry leaders inspire you in anyway? Do the events seem interesting? Perhaps there are elements of the roles that put you off or concern you? All of this information is helpful and worth noting or reflecting on. Here are some examples of different industry websites: Marketing and Advertising, Teaching, Medicine and Healthcare, Law, Entrepreneurship.

·        Websites of companies and brands
Next, look up some of the top companies or brands in the fields you are exploring.Visit their websites and have a read through their About Us page, their Services page, their Team page and their Careers page, if they have one. Doing this will give you more perspective on what your potential employers might be like in each career path. Take note of what appeals to you, what traits align with your own values and if what they do, resonates with you. For example, if you are looking into the Architecture industry, look for an article listing the top firms in London and review each of their websites.

·        University websites
Another great place to find more information and explore which career paths may interest you is to visit a few websites of Universities, colleges or other educational institutions and browse their courses. Which courses have subjects that you would like to know more about? Are there any programmes that you feel particularly drawn to? Here are some examples to have a look through: Top Ten UK Universities 2020

·       LinkedIn
This is a great way to see a more human perspective on your potential career options. By joining and browsing around this social network for professionals,you can gain insight into how the journeys have looked for others for a chosen career path. By searching for a particular job title, you can then view the profiles of different professionals who have that title. Have a look at their previous experience, what they studied and what their job description is like. Does this path appeal to you? Visit LinkedIn to do some searching and be sure to have a look at their job section too.


Step 2: Informal Interviews

After completing some desktop research, you might have a better idea on which industries or career paths appeal to you. Speaking to different people about your various career interests can also be helpful, however, keep in mind that the perspective of other’s is their own opinion. You will need to formulate your own opinion based on what fits with your morals, values, dreams and aspirations - what drives and energises others may not be aligned with your desires and vice versa.

·       Teachers or lecturers
If you are still at school or university, try talking to some of your teachers or lecturers about the research you have been doing. If there is a particular field of interest you are exploring, perhaps you can speak to a teacher involved in a related subject. If you have good relationships with your teachers and they know you well, they might be able to offer an outsider’s perspective on what career path they think you might enjoy or excel in.

·       Professionals
This might be one of the most eye-opening steps in your research. Speaking to professionals who work in your career of interest can give you a real sneak-peak into their working life. Try to set up an informal meeting or even a job shadowing session with someone who works in a job you are interested in.When speaking to these professionals, try to find out the day to day information about the job – what do they do on a daily basis? What is the best part of their job? What is the worst? Ask them questions that will help you understand if this job speaks to your true self – why did they choose this career path? What does it take to be successful in this job? Which personality traits are beneficial for this position?

Step 3: Career Counselling

Figuring out what career path you want to follow requires more than simply understanding what each option entails. It requires you to understand yourself. By having a higher level of self-awareness, you will be more in tune with your authentic self, making it easier to identify which path is right for you and resonates with you.

Seeking guidance from a professional career consultant can help you to understanding yourself better and increase your self-awareness. By talking to a career counsellor about there search you have done in the steps above and sharing your notes or findings with them, they can help you to further distil the results of your research towards identifying suitable career options based on your authentic self and aspirations.

At Careers in Depth,our experienced careers consultants help those who are uncertain about their career choice by following a bespoke four-step approach. This unique methodology helps people to:

·       Explore their goals, desires and inner selves.

·       Connect their talents, dreams and motivations to potential career paths.

·       Resolve any blocks to your decision making and progress.

·       Take action and make a more informed decision on the next step for your career.

Speak to A Professional Career Consultant

If you’d like some help in deciding what career you’d like to pursue, get in touch for a free phone consultation to chat about how we can help you.


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