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Making Informed Choices when Career Planning

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Trying to plan a career path can be a difficult and daunting task for any student thinking about what to do after they leave school. To determine which option is best for the student, they need to research what jobs are available for them to apply for at the end of their course of study and they need to research what skills and qualifications are needed for a particular career. To help the student determine which option is the best for them, the following sources of information will help them to make a balanced and well-informed choice.

Careers Teacher

Careers teachers in school are able to give careers advice and guidance on information about the student's chosen career path or possible courses at Institutes of Further and Higher Education. They can arrange a mock (practice) interview, help find work experience in a sector in which the student is interested in and can advise on filling in application forms and creating a Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Government agencies

Careers Service NI employ careers advisers to go in to schools and interview students about their interests, plans and ambitions. They will be knowledgeable in all aspects of the recruitment process and therefore can advise students what employers are looking for. The Northern Ireland direct website ( has information on different careers, training opportunities and skills needed to succeed. There are other internet and careers programmes like JED (Job Explorer Database) and CASCAID that are useful when investigating careers and career options.

Subject teachers

Students can get a lot of advice from their subject teachers. Their teacher will know what careers there are using their subject and will be able to advise the student about a possible careers path, the opportunities and the knowledge and skills required for that career. They will also be able to talk to the student about the ability and interest the student has in that subject.

Friends and Family

Friends and family of a student are the people that know them best. They can talk to them about their personality, interests, skills and ambitions. They may give ideas that the student could investigate for career opportunities. Friends and family are also a great resource because if they have their own careers, the student can ask them about the path that they took and the roles, responsibilities and opportunities there are in that chosen career.

Attending Careers Conventions

A student can attend a careers convention if their school has organised it for them to attend or if the school has offered to host a convention. Students may also find out where careers conventions are taking place and attend these in their own time. Attending careers conventions are a good opportunity to get information from a variety of organisations where the student can speak to representatives from many organisations and ask questions about the job, the place of work and what would be the career path to take to get to work in that organisation.

Media Reports

It is important for the student to follow news reports and social media to discover new career opportunities, where new jobs are being created and in what sectors they are being created. This helps to keep them informed about careers and opportunities that may be relevant to the them.

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