What is a career?

A career is the type of work you take up over a significant period of time along with the opportunities you make use of to progress and develop further. Essentially, it is just the job that you do and one that you hopefully enjoy and see yourself doing long-term.

That may sound daunting, but often our interests and abilities are what guide us to what might suit us as a full-time job. And just remember that our current generation will have five to seven careers on average!

Finding the ‘dream job’…

Finding work that you like takes time. Many of us leave school with vague ideas of what we want, but once out in the world we can find ourselves no longer interested in what we had originally thought. College might not be for you – Steve Jobs (the Apple founder) never graduated from university, the Wright brothers who invented the aeroplane never finished secondary school. Neither did Malcolm X and Frieda Kahlo was self-trained.

The pathway into the working world can seem very linear when we are young. But life is never straightforward or anything like we see depicted in social media. In reality the path is winding and, as with other learning, mistakes happen. While some parts of the path we don’t like, there are others we love, but throughout our journey the most important thing is to stay true to our values.

Here are a few tips:

  • Remember: a job is only a job, your health and wellbeing are the most important.
  • It’s never too late to start with career goals, but don’t get too caught up in the search. You’ll get there and in between you’ll change course, you’ll make mistakes. And that’s all okay because it will all lead you to a destination – that’s part of life.
  • Know that exam scores are not everything.
  • Look for a good boss and nice colleagues, not just a company that pays well.
  • Work hard to develop a good work-life balance from the start.

Where can I get career advice?

If you are still in school, a guidance counsellor and other resources might be available to support you in finding a career path. However, there are also a number of helpful online resources. Careers Portal and Qualifax have helpful careers sections, including calendars of career events and further education open days.

You can also do free career guidance tests online, but don’t get too invested in these as they are quite generalised. If you’re looking for something like this, though, Myers Briggs is a well-regarded personality test that can help you identify the sort of work that might suit your personality best. Also helpful is chatting with friends, teachers, family, or a youth worker about your thoughts and hearing what they think might suit you.

Finally, The Right Course is a government resource giving information on a variety of career paths including apprenticeships in Ireland, free courses and even how to avail of free one-to-one career guidance from the Adult Education Guidance and Information Service.

Where can I look for job opportunities?

There are lots of helpful websites to turn to when looking for a job, and many of them you can upload your CV to and sign up to receive email notifications when job opportunities come up for you. Here is a list of the most well-known online job search engines in Ireland:

  • Monster.ie
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor (this website is also brilliant for finding out what a company is like to be employed by through employee reviews)
  • Simply Hired
  • Jobs.ie
  • Your local Intreo office is also very helpful for information and advice as a job seeker, you can find your local office here.
  • Lastly, some sectors have specific sites where jobs are posted, for example in the non-profit sector there is a site called activelink many use.