Choosing the right career cluster from day one is something that can make all the difference to the way things turn out for you. There are no scare stories here, and it is possible to change pathways. But making a smart decision first time round can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. Take a look at these 5 simple steps and you’ll be all the better for it.
Understand What a Career Cluster is
The purpose of a career cluster is to group jobs in similar sectors and industries that require overlapping skills. This allows you to think about broad areas for your career to begin with so that you don’t get lost in the detail of which is better: a solicitor or a barrister.
Embracing the idea of finding the right cluster for you will allow you to expose yourself to a whole host of different opportunities that you may not have first thought about. The translators at The Word Point are another good example. Their specialist language skills didn’t happen overnight. They were developed over weeks, months, and years of specialist training and practice. This kind of targeted learning and training is precisely why career clusters are such an important concept to get onboard with.
Once you have an idea of where you would like to get to. You’ll be able to take the steps that make it happen.
Gauge Your Own Interest
Career interest tests are something certainly worth considering. If you already have a really strong urge to pursue a particular career path then, by all means, go with it and move onto step three. Most of us don’t have such strong inclinations and that’s absolutely fine. There’s nothing wrong with being unsure what you want to do with your life. Think of it as being open minded and you can really start to embrace the testing process.
The tests work by asking you questions based on your interests and achievements so that you can receive some feedback on clusters that are likely to interest you. Don’t worry if the test produces an answer you’re not happy with — they aren’t definitive and there is no harm in exploring a wider range of options.
If you do have even a vague interest or curiosity about the cluster(s) that you’re recommended then make sure you research things a little further. That way you’ll be sure to expose yourself to a whole host of new ideas and opportunities that you may not have thought about before.
Take a Detailed Personality Test
The next thing to consider is how your personality is likely to fit with the types of jobs your intended career cluster contains. If you’ve scored high levels of interest in a fast-paced area like Finance then you may want to consider a wider range of clusters if you’re quite introverted. Professionals in these types of roles have a reputation for being quite forceful and extroverted. If that sounds like a company you’d rather not keep. Then there’s certainly no shame in returning to step two and exploring some new options. It’s not a sign of failure or an indicator that you’re doomed to fail in the world of work. You’re just being pragmatic about how you’re likely to get on in the types of jobs that you already have some degree of interest in.
Be sure to put some careful thought into this step because no matter how intellectually stimulating you to find the work. If you feel like your personality isn’t well suited then you’re unlikely to settle in your new career.
Explore Your Local Options
Giving some thought to your local options is also something that you should ensure you do. If you find a niche career that requires travel and relocation to a different country then you could enjoy it. But you should explore your local opportunities. So that you know what you can expect when you enter the world of work.
Clusters such as education, healthcare, and retail have new openings all the time and are not specific to certain regions. Every town and city will need these types of skills. So this is something well worth considering if you don’t fancy the idea of moving away from friends and family.
At the same time, you’ll want to consider the local training options. Law is a good example because whilst there are universities in most major towns and cities. They each have their specialisms and strengths. Top law firms look for high achieving graduates from a select number of the most prestigious institutions. So you’ll want to research how far away from home they are.
Avoid Short-Term Decisions
The final step is to avoid short-term decisions. Whilst there’s no shame in changing your mind and gravitating towards a different cluster. You don’t want to be flitting between half a dozen of them in the first few years of working life.
Take some time to weigh up your options. Then take a step back before you set out on your new pathway. Write down the various pros and cons of your decision and discuss them with family or a few close friends. That way you’ll be able to gain a much-needed sense of perspective that will allow you to see the bigger picture.
By all means be decisive when the time comes, but avoid the trap of short-term thinking. If you feel that something else will be better than whatever it is you’re currently working towards. Then the chances are that you’re mistaken. Take your time to get it right, and you’ll be all the better for it.
Discovering the right career cluster for you is all about being open minded and curious. If you do that then you’ll be able to expose yourself to a whole host of new options that have never come to mind before.
BIO: Pauline Farris speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She travelled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.