Career FAQ: what next

What to do when you’re asking ‘what next’ for your career…

This is the latest in our FAQ series – which aims to answer as many of your most common CV, interview, recruitment and career questions as possible!

The question of ‘what next’…

And this question can crop up at any time in your career. Many people encounter this post-studies when they’ve gathered their qualifications and have to enter a career role for the first time.

Yet it also has a habit of popping up when you’re least expecting it. You’ve been working in a particular role, or series of roles, for a while when you get this niggle that there’s something else you should be doing but you don’t know precisely what this is.

The first step towards your answer:

Work out why you’re asking yourself this now. If it’s the post-uni scenario, the answer is usually more obvious (and driven by the necessity of needing to make some money/spark up a career). However, if it’s a more random experience then you’ve got to dig a little deeper.

  • Are you feeling bored of your work? And, if so, is it the role, company, and/or industry that you’re tired of?
  • Is there something you’ve always planned on doing that you haven’t achieved yet? What is this?
  • Is it the case that you’ve got to where you are today by somewhat of an accident and you’re now feeling ready to make a plan?
  • Do you feel you’ve made a mistake with your career decisions to date?
  • Has something changed outside of work that’s pushing you in a new direction?

It can be a combination of factors. Whatever they are, it’s wise to note these down – both for your next steps and future reference.

TIP: if you’re struggling to pinpoint your ‘whys’, try setting a timer (even if it’s just for 10/15 minutes) and brainstorming all the possibilities; without editing yourself. You may be surprised by your answers. You could also chat with one or a few of the closest people in your life and see if there’s anything that they’ve picked up on from previous conversations and decisions. Of course, you’re not obliged to take any advice that ensues!

Once you’ve got your ‘why’…

Don’t put that notebook away or close that spreadsheet just yet! It’s time to whip up your skills and achievements master-list. A shiny gold star to any longer-term readers who’ve already been keeping one of these on the go!

And once this skills list is at the ready, take a look at all of your findings so far. Are there any obvious correlations between your whys and your skills and achievements?

Take the above situations for example:

  1. You’re bored in your role, company and/or industry. Your skills & achievements list can help you see where else you could apply yourself. Look at some current job specs to see what recruiters and employers are looking for and where you might fit. See which of these vacancies most appeals to you and start putting your CV together.
  2. There’s something you’ve always planned on doing & you haven’t achieved it yet. Well, what steps do you need to take to get you there? Again, it’s worth researching some job specs to see if there are any gaps in your skills and achievements list that you could easily fill to improve your chances. See our next TIP section below!
  3. You’ve got to this point in your career by accident and you now want to make a plan. This is similar to the boredom scenario above, yet your route may not be quite so obvious. Follow the advice from Day 3 of our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips and pin down your specifics! Work out the musts of your next role. Then, using your skills and achievements master list, start researching job adverts to see what’s possible and interesting for you.
  4. You’ve made a mistake in your career decisions to date. It’s unlikely to be a major mistake! Take a closer look at your skills list and see what you’ve learned so far. If you’ve struggled to come up with anything, it’s likely that your confidence has been knocked; get someone else to support you in this process. There are always ways to retrain and reroute. Again, job specs are super helpful here, as is speaking to a local recruitment agency that covers your target industry. Make sure you’ve got a CV at the ready for their review.
  5. Something else has changed in your life that’s pushing you in a new direction. Break-ups, bereavements, relocations…there are so many life changes that can prompt us to seek a fresh start. Re-read Day 1 of our 7 days of tips – for this is often one of those times you should think before you leap! Again, use the data you’ve gathered so far to help you work out what else you might be suited to.

TIP: for each of the latter four scenarios our career change advice FAQ is also well worth a read! Plus, following the rest of the advice in our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips could really boost your job search success in general.

So, what next?

Use your findings to take action, even if that’s just more research and consideration at first. As soon as you’re feeling ready, update and tailor your CV to those roles that you’ve identified and then start making your applications.

In need of more advice: let us know what you most want to see here on our News blog. We look forward to sharing it with you!

Got any questions regarding the roles you’ve seen advertised on our jobs page? Email these along with your latest CV today. You can also register your CV as a general applicant. Please note: we primarily recruit for the commercial office industry in Bath, Wiltshire and the surrounding area.