What do you want to be when you grow up? Studying with your future career in mind

When it comes to deciding on what course you should study, you need to look to your future. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Whilst some courses of study automatically lend themselves to a particular job - doctors, dentists, veterinarians and so on - other jobs require some additional thinking about - as believe it or not a lot of courses can lend themselves to many different careers. I am a qualified librarian, whilst I still consult in my original field of study - usually - how best to create a new information centre for businesses, I don't practice the daily running of a library anymore. What I do do however, is use those original skills, plus a lot of others I've picked up along the way and have moved into marketing, training, administration and of course writing.

But when you don't know what job you want to do, just have a vague notion of - well that might be OK, what do you do? How can you choose a course of study based on that?

One of the easiest ways is to use job boards or newspaper job advertisements.

Job ads can be a very important starting point when it comes to determining your choice of degree and the modules you choose within that degree. If you know what job you would like to have when you finish school or study, go to one of the major job boards such as Seek - locate a job that sounds like it may suit you and download the job specification. In the job spec you will be given a variety of employer wants, needs and would like candidates to have statements - including years of experience and type of qualifications required. 

Armed with this information, you can then make an informed decision on the type of courses or training you need to have in order to reach that particular level. 

If you are already part way through your study, this can be a good way to test to make sure you will be able to apply for that perfect job when you graduate. If you find there are a few gaps, this technique also allows you to determine what (if any) additional study units you may need.

One of the other ways you can check this is to ask friends and family members what skills and abilities they need to do their jobs. You'd be surprised at how similar a lot of these are. Good time management, good interpersonal skills, good communication skills etc etc. The rest of course tend to be more job specific - which pieces of software should you know and so on.

Answering the question - what do you want to be when you grow up? is a great way to determine if you are studying the right things.

It is easy to make an informed decision if you have done a little bit of homework.