find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

Choosing A Job


So, you’ve graduated, and it’s time to get a job. You know where to look, and how to get ahead in the hunt, but the big question is how do you choose a job? In this article we’ll take a look through how to choose a job that’s right for you.

How to choose a job

Firstly, you need to think about how long you’re going to want this job for. If you’ve graduated and you’re looking for a career, you’ll hopefully be aiming at something that has the possibility of being long term. If you’re merely taking a year out between degrees, maybe to fund a gap year for example, you should probably be looking at more temporary roles.

Now you’ve got that down, let’s look at the other important considerations. When choosing a job, you should be able to answer a few questions:

What is your driving motivation?

Is your driving motivation a good income, a job you love, or perhaps helping those in need? The answer to this will really affect how you begin to choose. If it’s a good income you’re after, you may want to start looking into business and finance roles, but if it’s something more involved with helping others, chance are you’ll be wanting to start looking at charities. Make sure you choose something that fits with your motivations!

What aspects of a job would you love?

Choosing a Job Perhaps what you would really love is the chance to interact with a whole variety of people. In which case, you should be looking at something customer/client-focused – there’s no point in looking at jobs with very little interaction with others in this case. Perhaps it’d be setting goals and hitting them – in which case, jobs with high targets like sales, or stock trading, may suit you. Whatever it is that you think you’d enjoy most, try and choose a job that would fulfil this.

What aspects of a job would you hate?

People often say that you won’t always love your job, but that doesn’t mean you have to hate it. If there’s something you know that you wouldn’t be able to stand, then you should try to avoiding choosing a job that involves that. For instance, if you don’t think you could stand a truly high pressure job, then financial trading isn’t for you. If you don’t enjoy customer interaction, you should probably avoid sales. Whilst you might not be able to guarantee a job you love, you should be able to avoid a job you hate!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is a very important consideration. If you’re not sure, then don’t worry about it too much – you do still have time to plan – but if you have set goals, you should be choosing jobs that will lead you towards these roles. Want to lead a research laboratory? You should probably start by applying to lab assistant roles. Fancy being head of marketing somewhere? Start by taking on a junior role in a company. It’s never too early to start heading towards that goal, so take the opportunity! If you don’t know where you want to be in five years, try and choose a job that leaves you plenty of options. After all, not everyone knows what they want to do straight away.

Here are a few more specific questions you should ask yourself:

#1 What size of company would you like best?

What sort of company would suit you best? Do you want to work for a large, sprawling international corporation, or a small local business? This will massively change both the jobs available to you (smaller businesses will often not have ‘graduate roles’) and how you go about applying, so think carefully.

#2 What area of employment do you want to work?

There’s a variety of areas of employment, but the big ones are:

1. The private sector – this is where your big businesses, corporations, and profit-driven roles are to be found.
2. The public sector – this is anything ran by the government, from the NHS, to the civil service, to schools.
3. Self employment – as obvious as it sounds self employment is where you run what you want to do. This is often best for freelancers, such as graphic designers.
4. Charity work – the goal of this sector is to make money for the charity, rather than profits.

Make sure you’re applying to the ones that suit you best!

If you’re still really stuck, ask for help. There are tests available online, or perhaps visit a careers advisor . They’ll be able to help you take your vague ideas about what you want, and whittle them down into something that’ll help you work out where to apply.

Finally, don’t get too hung up on that perfect job. Apply for the jobs you want, but also apply for jobs you could do. Paid employment will look better than a gap in your work history, and you can continue to apply to the jobs you want whilst working somewhere you don’t intend to stay. It might not be ideal, but it’s always worth bearing in mind.

More advice on careers can be found here .