Researching Careers

Once you have a few career ideas it is vital to investigate your ideas throughly so that you can be sure that you making a well informed choice. Try following the suggestions below to give yourself a good starting point.

Researching your ideas

When weighing up the pros and cons of each idea, ask yourself questions such as:

  • What does the job involve?  What would my typical day look like?
  • What skills, qualities, interests and values would I need to be good at this job and happy in my work?
  • What would the work environment be like?
  • What are the entry requirements?
  • How easy/ difficult is it to get in?
  • How would my career progress in the future?

The suggestions below are good ways to research your options. Once you have a career firmly in mind, plan the action you need to take to achieve your goals.

Analyse occupational profiles on career sites 

The occupational profiles on Prospects and Target Jobs contain information on daily work activities, entry requirements, vacancy sources, salaries and useful contacts. Also view the video accounts of people in different professions on I Could.

Use sites specific to the sector you're interested in

Sites for organisations such as sector skills councils and professional bodies provide information on career options in a specific sector, training, vacancies and industry news and events. Find sites specific to your sector via

Read journals/ magazines/ newspapers for your sector  

These provide crucial information about the challenges facing your industry, the skills in demand and employers you may want to work for.

Engage in networking activities

These can give you a personal insight into a role, sector or company. See our tips on networking for details. 

Evaluating Information

With so much information out there, it can be difficult to assess exactly how useful and reliable it is. This is particularly true of careers information on the Internet.  The following check list can be useful in evaluating information, no matter what format it is in.

  • Presentation - Is the information well presented and easy to follow? What is the language and layout like? Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?
  • Relevance - Look at the introduction and overview. Is it appropriate for the type of information you are looking for?
  • Objectivity - Is the information balanced or is it biased in some way? Is the information based on facts or personal opinions? What is the balance between advertising and hard information?
  • Currency - Is there a date given for when the information was written? Is it up to date? Does the date of the information meet your requirements or is it obsolete? Remember information on salaries and entry requirements can change frequently.
  • Source - Is it clear where the information has come from? Is there a named author or organisation? Are they reputable in their field?