When it comes to decisions about subjects, or your career, there are lots of different people you could turn to.
Friends, family, teachers, officials, careers advisors... We weighed up the pros and cons of each so you know where to seek the best advice – and what to expect.
When choosing subjects or careers, your friends are good people to bounce back and forth ideas with. You’re all in the same situation – so they can relate to how you’re feeling.
However, just like you, they don’t necessarily have enough experience to give thorough careers advice – so parents, teachers and careers advisers are probably a better bet. As you get older, though, your friends will build more experience with work. Soon you’ll all be more able to help each other out and share, tips, resources and working knowledge.
Another con? Your friends might be a bit biased. For example, they might not want you to pick a particular subject because they don’t like it and would rather you‘re in the same class together. But you should always pick subjects because YOU want to do them – not because someone else has told you to. Be true to yourself.
Your parents, family or carers
Parents might not know everything about you but they still know a lot. They play a big part in the main choices that you make.
Parents are a good place to turn for an open, honest chat about what career path you should follow. They really care about you, so they’ll try to give you the best solutions and advice. After all, they want you to reach your full potential as much as you do.
Parents will keep a look out for opportunities in your area. They can help you find local courses and jobs, and will always have you in mind whenever they see something that maybe you haven’t like job ads in the paper. They always have your best interests at heart.
Parents may find it hard to give impartial advice. They might need reminded that you’re not the little kid you once were.
They might have their own ideas of what your career path may look like. They could try and steer you into a career that you’re not keen on – for example, the family business.
As they’re from an older generation, they might not know about all of the career options available. This could include new jobs (like Digital Marketing) that have come about since they were in school.
Teachers are a great people for advice. You see them every day, so you can arrange a chat with them at anytime.
They’ll help you find resources on their subject, and give recommendations on what courses to take (or what not to take). They may also have a network of contacts in their subject who could help you.
Teachers know about your working abilities and academic strengths. They understand what subjects you’re good at as well as your weaknesses.
They can help you identify abilities you never thought you had. They’ve watched you work, so they’re in a good position to help you spot if you’re good at helping others, team work, or communication.
Teachers may not be fully aware of all the career options or courses that are available – especially outwith their own subject. So it’s important that you do your own research as well and ask others. Also, who the teacher is may have an impact on how you take there advice. You’re more likely to take advice from a teacher you like than one you hate.
- You can also find out about your strengths by taking the strengths test
People in the industry (officials)
People who work in the industry you’re interested in have been there and done that. So, they’re going to have the best insight into that kind of work. They can tell you about their experience in the job and how they themselves got into that particular line of work. They can help you find useful opportunities, like setting you up for work experience.
Take advantage of employer visits at school. These are a great opportunity to get information first hand and ask relevant questions.
At careers events, you should be keen to start conversations with employers that you’re interested in. Ask as many questions as you want, especially on things that you’re not sure of.
They may be biased towards their particular field of work, making out that their company is the best company in the world.
- If you want an idea of what different jobs involve, take a look through our job profiles
Careers advisers are trained to give you the best advice. They have lots of experience working with people who aren’t sure what options they have. Whatever questions you ask, they can show you how to break it down and look at it the right way. So you can reach decisions that are perfectly tailored for you.
Careers advisers can help you figure out your skills, interests and achievements, show you how to find opportunities, and use careers resources to give you the information you need. Most importantly, they’ll help you make a plan of action and stay on track to carry it out.
It’s not so much a con as a bit of homework for you. In order to get the most out of your careers adviser you should be prepared. Try writing up a CV, take some time to think about what you are actually interested in, and do a bit of research on that specific industry you’d like to see yourself in.
- If you’re still at school, you can make an appointment with the SDS careers adviser at your school. If you’re finished, you can make an appointment at your local Skills Development Scotland centre.
So, to sum it up...
- Explore all of your options for advice, before you make a decision – speak to everyone on the list!
- Do what you want to do! Not what someone else tells you
- Make use of all the available opportunities to explore your career options such as attending careers fairs, events and speaking to an adviser