Plan your career
Careers are not just for those who know what they want, and who work and strive for positions, status and money. Everybody has a career, including students!
Career planning is not just about getting the job you want – it is about getting the life you want. What you work with is important, especially for those who invest a lot of time on a longer education. This investment may pay off even more if you start thinking about career planning at an early point in your studies!
You are already on your way
As a student you are already shaping your career. You have already made several choices that will affect your career. These choices may have closed some doors – but will open others. Career planning should make you more aware of what your long term goals are, and make you able to see whether your choices are bringing you in the right direction. It can be difficult to tell for sure, so it may be a good idea to seek out a student counsellor to discuss with when you are unsure about the choices you are about to make.
What is a good career?
A career can be many things; it’s up to you to figure out what will be a good career for you. Maybe it is important for you to make use of your education, or be in a position where you can influence others. Is it important for you to be able to make a difference to others, or are you more interested in a solid salary? Or maybe you just want an OK job, that gives you the opportunity to spend time doing all the other things you are interested in. Or maybe you want all of these things – but at different stages in your career.
”But I don’t know what I want!”
Of course it is OK if you, at the age of 20-25, don’t know what your “dream job” is. But maybe you know more than you think! In our experience, the question “What do you want to do?” gives you some answers. These answers are often vague, like for example “I think it is important for me to work with people” or “Writing and analyzing is what I enjoy the most”. Maybe you know something about what you do not want to do: “It is out of the question for me to do something I cannot defend”, “I do not want to work commercially”, or “I do not want to become a teacher”. You can get far in your career planning by focusing on what is important to you, and what you like to do. You can use this as a starting point, and set some goals for yourself, and figure out how to reach these goals.
Opportunities and limitations
Even if you plan and set goals for yourself, life does not always turn out like you want it to. Your career will form in the meeting between your wishes and goals, abilities and resources – and the opportunities and limitations in your surroundings. Some of these things you can influence yourself. Other things are not within your control, so: have a plan, but be open to make some changes. What you can achieve will depend on many things: You competencies, situation in life, personal economy, wishes and goals, but also the situation in the job market, the general economical situation, the needs of employers and so on. Have a plan, but be open to making changes. Perhaps you will have to make some detours in order to reach your goal. Perhaps your career will turn out differently that you expected, because you discovered opportunities that brought you in a completely new direction. Most people experience this. Your career is not something you plan once and for all. You will keep developing your career throughout you work life. But if you set some goals for yourself, and decide to take control of your own career, you are more likely to be happy with your work than if you just act as a passive passenger.