So you know what you want to do with your life – career-wise at least – but what do you do now? School life is vastly different from work life and the path from A to B isn’t always clear. What do you study? What work experience do you need? Is it realistic to jump straight into that job or will you have to take less exciting jobs first? To get the job you want, you really need to work out a clear path.

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What Should You Study?

So you finish school and the next step is obviously further study, right? Well maybe, but maybe not. And further study might not be uni, maybe it’s a short course or a diploma. It all depends on your dream job. So how do you find out? Good old-fashioned research I’m afraid. Start at the job and work backwards. What other roles do people who get the job you want tend to have held? What courses did they study?

You’ll also want to get an idea of the realistic number of jobs available in the field you want to be in. Trust me, some industries can be hard to get straight into. Does that mean you should give up? Heck no. It just means you need to work out what will separate you from the crowd and that you need to be prepared to work in other areas before you get there.

Who Should You Talk To?

You want to talk to as many people in the know as possible. High school teachers and guidance counsellors are a good place to start, but I have to be honest, in my experience the scope you get is minimal and not always correct.

Go to Open Days at universities, TAFE campuses, private colleges. Anywhere that offers the type of study you’re looking at so you can get a better idea of what to expect from it, and where it led past graduates. Also ask professionals in the field you’re hoping to get into. The more they can tell you about their journey from school to job, the better.

What Should You Ask?

No point chatting with helpful resources if you don’t know what to ask them. Work out important questions beforehand and write them down. You’ll want to know things like how they find their job now they’re in it, after all you never know if your expectation will fit the reality. Ask them about previous jobs they held, how long in the graduate workforce did it take them to get where they are now? What types of roles did they hold? Then of course, ask about their studies, if there’s anything else they’d wish they’d learned.

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Try It Out

Who knows, maybe one of those people you talk to will have some work experience opportunities available for you. Even if they don’t you should look for your own. Yeah, I know working for free kind of sucks, but nothing will show you a better glimpse of what it’d be like if you get the job than IRL experience. Sure you may only be doing simple jobs, but take the opportunity to observe and ask a million more questions.

Keep An Open Mind

The funny thing about looking into a particular job is that you may find it’s actually not for you. Keep an open mind and remember there are so many option open to you, this is the time to explore them. An open mind might also lead to you finding a different direction you actually enjoy more once you start asking questions and gaining work experience.

Image: Instagram / [@victoriabeckham]