skip to primary navigation skip to content

Haven't got a clue?


After self-reflection comes exploration using the awareness of your wants, needs, and values in order to research what options out there might suit you. Again, there's no ideal or preferred method for doing this, and you should go with your preferences for how you like to seek, record, and analyse information.

However you tackle the process, it's important to be systematic. The vast majority of today's career information can be found on the web, so it's easy to slip into bad habits, spend hours clicking from one interesting link to the next, and not have anything to show for it at the end. To avoid this, use your academic skills and treat your exploration as a proper research project. Twenty minutes every day, if the time is well used, adds up quickly and you'll be amazed at your progress.

Job research, not job search

In your academic work, you would never read a whole stack of papers and books without taking any notes. Nor would you simply jot down all of the information without analysing and critiquing it. Instead, you would always ask yourself whether the data you've collected is or isn't useful in answering your key research question.

Exploring your career options researching what jobs you would like to do needs the same kind of approach. If you take notes, you will be able to see your progress. And if you evaluate what you're finding out, you can be more efficient in your next research steps.

Top tip: The point here is that the analysis of the data, not merely the collecting of it, is what really counts. Have you found out enough to decide whether you want to explore a particular type of job further? If not, why not? What else would help you to decide? Where will you go next for more information? If you have decided, what swung it for you? And what are you going to do next? Be sure to make time to do this.

For a list of sources of information to help you get started in your research, see Gathering your data.