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Employment

What job should I do? How to build a career on your unique strengths

"I think sometimes we don’t recognise how much we do have to offer as people and how great we are."

If you ever find yourself asking: “What job should I do?” then identifying your unique strengths and interests could be a good place to start.

We spoke to Yasmina Kone, Senior Partnerships Manager at Beam, a social enterprise that has the world’s first crowdfunding platform for homeless people. Kone shares how caseworkers help Beam‘s service users build a career based on their unique strengths and interests and how you can too.

How can I identify my unique strengths and interests?

The first step in finding a job based on your unique strengths and interests is identifying what they are. One tool that can help is Beam’s careers quiz, which is available to everyone online.

The quiz, which takes about two minutes to complete, asks questions such as whether you’d rather work in a team or independently, be on your feet all day or at a desk as well as engaging with customers or behind the scenes. It then matches you to a set of careers that might be of interest.

Kone says: “This is really helpful because it gives them a big overview of things that are matched to them on the basis of those skills and interests. That’s key because some people might think they want to be a carer but not realise that they actually could be a barista, chef or baker too.”

UCAS also offers a free careers quiz that matches your personality with different jobs, and provides you a list of courses previous students studied in order to get there. 

Here’s what you might want to think about when figuring out what job is right for you. 

How do I find a career I love?

Kone says a really good question to ask yourself is what you like to do in your spare time and then think about how it could transfer into a work context.

She says: “What do you get excited about? What do you like to put energy into when you’ve got a couple of hours to spare?” This might be cooking or crafts or being around people.

Another way of looking at it could be asking yourself what you enjoyed doing at school, says Kone: “What were you good at? What lessons were you excited about going to? What made you want to go and do extra research?” Thinking this way could help you on the path to a career you find fulfilling.

If you have had work experience or previous jobs, ask yourself what elements of it you really enjoyed, such as engaging with customers, or focusing on finances when packing up the tills.

“Think about what you have received praise for – if you’ve worked before, what did your boss say you were particularly good at? Did you ever get employee of the month? If so, what for?” she added.

It can sometimes be difficult for us to see our unique strengths, so it can be good to ask friends and family for help.

“Ask your friends and family what they really respect and love about you because I think sometimes we don’t recognise how much we do have to offer as people and how great we are,” says Kone.

How do I find a job that fits with my lifestyle? 

Kone says some good questions to ask yourself are what salary you need to be better off, whether you want to work part-time or full-time and what sort of hours will fit with your needs such as childcare.

It’s important that the career you want to pursue will fit with the lifestyle that you need or want. You can find out what salaries different careers could earn at the government’s National Careers Service.

What jobs are in demand in the UK?

Many sectors are seeing severe shortages of workers, meaning that they may be open to hiring people with little or no experience in the sector, but who are keen to learn. There are around 1.3 million job vacancies being advertised in the UK, and certain sectors are desperate to hire.  

The start of 2022 saw ads in the hospitality sector shoot up, and most recently, health and social care tops the list as the most in-demand sector.

The NHS in particular is facing a staffing crisis that has caused serious delays in treatment of patients. Midwives, doctors and paramedics are in high demand, so if you’ve ever considered working in medicine – your NHS needs you.

The accomodation and food services comes in second, in the analysis by Statistica, followed by scientific and technical jobs, and retail jobs in fourth. 

But remember to think about your long-term career aspirations, says Kone, who recommends looking for roles that offer career progression.

Career tips and advice from our Jobs and Training series:

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