Becoming the author of your future career story!
It’s time to pick up your pen and become the author of your future career story! Your career story starts in high school! During your high school years, you are already starting to prepare yourself for your future career, even if you are not aware of it. This starts when you choose which subjects you will be studying in your Grade 10 year and continues as you progress to Grade 11 and 12 where you will start to think about what and where you are going to study, or what you are going to pursue after your high school career. This all forms part of the beginning of your unique career story.
During my high school career my future career pursuits and where I wanted to be in the next five years were not on my list of priorities and therefore I didn’t play an active role in writing the first chapter of my career story. When it was time for me to start thinking about what I was going to pursue after high school, I didn’t put in much thought or effort. This left me feeling lost and confused when I started University with no clear goals of why I was there and what I wanted to achieve. In order to avoid this from happening, I want to encourage you to start playing an active role and become the author of your own career story!
In order to become the author of your career story it is important to be aware of the career development process. How does career development unfold and what are the key tasks that need to be accomplished within this process? These are important questions that will assist you as you start to write your own career story. At the very heart of the career development process is self-exploration. This entails getting to know yourself, finding out about your strengths, skills, values, interests, goals, aptitudes and personality. This stage of self-exploration is the first stage of the career development process and will form the core of your career story. Self-exploration will inform the overall plot of your entire career story. During this stage, it is also important to think about who will be the key characters in your story. These might be people you admire or who you may even consider to be your role models. They may have a great influence on you and thus your career story.
Once the plot of your story has been well defined and established you can start to further develop your career story. The next stage of the career development process entails discovering the many different careers that may be of interest to you. You can do this by gathering as much information about careers as possible. There are many different resources that will help you to do this. Check out these websites as a guide to jump start your journey into discovering the world of work:
The information that you gather during this stage is going to provide you with the concrete, practical information that you will need to make well informed career decisions. It is very important to learn as much as possible about different careers and hopefully develop a curiosity about the careers that interest you. In order to get more practical experience and insight into a specific career field you might consider conducting informal interviews: this involves chatting to someone who is currently in your field of interest and getting a real life account of what it would be like to work within that field and job shadowing: this would entail getting firsthand experience of what you might be doing if you were to get involved in a given career.
Self-exploration + career exploration= Awareness of appropriate career options.
Now that you have a better understanding of yourself and have matched this to a career of interest, you need to find out how you are going to bring your story to life. This is a crucial step in the process and involves gaining experience and credentials. This entails discovering exactly what you need to do (e.g. study further/complete a learnership etc.) in order to achieve your ultimate career goal. You need to do your research and find out what type of qualifications or experience is needed to pursue a career in your field of interest as well as the specific admission requirements that are needed to gain the above mentioned qualifications or experience.
The final two stages of the career development process involves job searching skills and career management. Once you have obtained the necessary qualifications needed to enter into a specific career field, you need to start thinking about how you will obtain your dream job (how are you going to achieve your happily ever after). This stage therefore entails networking, developing your CV, writing cover letters and learning about job interview skills. Career management is the final stage of the process and involves keeping current with your profession and making sure that you participate in ongoing skills development and enhancement in order to promote growth and development.
It is important to remember that your story might not unfold according to your pre-determined vision and that challenges and opportunities might lead your story in new directions.
If you are uncertain about any aspect of this process and would like assistance, consider utilising the services of UJ’s Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD). PsyCaD offers an array of services and resources that will assist you, as you begin to write your career story. Please see below for a list of these services and resources:
Career Related Services:
· Subject Choice Assessments
· Career Assessments (Individual and computerized)
· Career Counselling
· Qualitative Career/ Subject Choice Workshops
· Career Workbook: http://www.ujcareers.co.za/default.php/139
· PACE Interest Questionnaire: www.pacecareers.com/uj/
· Career Services Online: http://www.ujcareers.co.za/
Come and visit PsyCaD at any one of our sites:
Auckland Park Kingsway Campus (APK): 011 559 3106 / 3324, B5 Building / C-Ring 1
Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus (APB): 011 559 1318, Impala Court
Doornfontein Campus (DFC):011 559 6042, House 2, next to the Student Centre
Soweto Campus (SWC): 011 559 5752, Academic Block B
PsyCaD Reception is open:
Mondays – Fridays, from 07:30 – 16:00
(Closed on Public Holidays and during the UJ December recess)