You’ve done everything right: an internship at a top organisation in your field, a couple of years spent doing grunt work while you build up your experience, extracurricular courses to build up skills in new areas. And now you’re comfortably entrenched in your career – there’s just one problem. You hate it.
Once you reach adulthood and get some way down your chosen career, it can seem almost impossible to start again if you realise that you’d rather be doing something different. This is especially true if you’re unsure of what you should be doing instead: some people plan a particular career when they’re young, study and qualify for it, and then feel stuck with their decision. Luckily, there are a few places to go for careers advice as an adult.
National Careers Service
The Government’s National Career Service is currently in beta, but it’s already a great tool for finding out more about what roles are out there. Although you won’t get tailored, personal advice, there’s a wealth of information designed to help match your skills with different careers. As well as providing in depth profiles for an enormous range of different roles, they also have a skills quiz that will help you pinpoint the areas that suit you best.
Looking at the wide range of information provided by groups like the National Careers Service can present you with a new problem: it’s overwhelming. You may find that you need some help in actually deciding where to go next, and if that’s the case it may be time to speak to a careers coach.
While there are plenty of private coaches out there, we recommend looking into free options first. Plenty of charities offer career coaching for people who live in a certain area or meet criteria. For instance, the Young Women’s Trust can provide free coaching to women under 30, whilst Career Connect makes career coaching available to people in the North West of England. Your local council or even the nearby library may be able to give you more information about what’s available in your area.
Find a mentor
Mentorship is a buzzword that’s thrown around easily these days, often to describe little more than a professional relationship with a senior colleague. However, in this instance, seeking out a ‘mentor’ outside your current industry could be really helpful. While it’s not an option that’s available to everyone, if you know somebody who does a job that you think would be a good match for your skills, don’t be afraid to ask a few polite questions. Just be prepared to compensate for their time – for instance, by buying them coffee.
Go to a private advice company
With so much free information and coaching out there, you might wonder why anyone would pay to get careers advice. For the most part, we agree, however it’s worth noting that the advisers you pay for can often dedicate more time to your individual needs. It’s also a useful last resort if there isn’t any free coaching available in your area.