Figuring out what career you want to pursue can be extremely difficult. Questions like ‘What do you find the most interesting?’, ‘Where would you like to be in 5 years?’, ‘What are your dreams?’ can often breed many results and raise a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about what to do next. Another way to look at it is to investigate what it is the world currently needs; what jobs are in demand. Then, if you find any of those roles appealing you could research them further and see if you might want to pursue any of those careers.
Since Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic, the working landscape has drastically altered. Sectors have been entirely re-structured, and many people have left careers or changed to something new. In this article we outline those positions that are experiencing shortages and are looking for new talent to bolster the workforce.
The healthcare sector has endured a demanding and intensive few years due to the recent Coronavirus pandemic. Despite the heroic efforts of the NHS and other medical professionals, the industry is still under huge strain to meet the requirements of the country. There are many jobs within this sector which have high vacancies that need to be filled.
Engineering is another industry experiencing a shortage of workers. Jobs in this industry require skilled workers with a high standard of expertise. This also means that salaries tend to be higher, and therefore it is definitely worth considering a potential career. This sector is extremely broad with a vast number of sub-disciplines, but the occupations currently in demand include:
As technology becomes more prominent and the recent pandemic forced many businesses to move online, the world has become even more reliant on IT. With this need for highly functioning software and computer tech, our need for IT professionals has also risen drastically. More and more positions are opening up as this industry continues to boom. If you think you might be interested in a career in technology then consider these roles:
The UK is currently experiencing a severe lack of teachers, with certain subjects suffering more than others. In fact, the Department for Education revealed that it has been unsuccessful in meeting recruitment targets for the seventh year running. This applies to both primary and secondary education. However, in order to incentivise people into these jobs the Government has increased the starting salary for teachers and this is forecast to reach £30,000 by 2023. So, if think a career in teaching sounds interesting you could find yourself, not only in high demand, but with a higher wage as well.
All companies and organisations require managers and directors to ensure operations run smoothly and efficiently. The need for these senior members in business is rising. Are you good at motivating others, being organised, and performing well under pressure? Then you might consider a future role in management.
Transport & Logistics
One of the biggest shortages in workers comes from the Transport & Logistics sector. Demand for delivery drivers has trebled since 2021. This is partly due to the number of retail businesses that shifted online during the pandemic, but also because many people picked up delivery jobs during this time, as a way of maintaining an income, but then left their position once the UK came out of lockdown. This then increased the gap between online sales and the number of delivery drivers, and so demand for these jobs surged rapidly.
The UK’s construction industry is trying to create a greater influx of new young workers to help meet growing demand. There are over 210,000 positions that need to be filled by 2025 in order to stay on track. As such, there are a great number of opportunities available to young people should they want to start a career in construction. For instance, apprenticeship opportunities are increasing as this is a great way to get new talent trained, qualified and prepared to start working, so it is worth keeping an eye out for these.
For more information check out our store where we have an extensive range of infographics and posters on the labour market, industry trends and statistics. Our Career and Employment Series contains a series of artworks covering jobs in demand, apprenticeships, the job market, and 2022 employment statistics, to name a few.
See the range here: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/c16/Career_and_Employment_Series.html
Starting to think about your future career and entering working life can be a little daunting. It is normal to feel unsure and uncertain about what you want to do in the future due to the sheer number of jobs that are out there. However, there are things you can do to help figure out what route you might want to take and how to get there. The key is to try and learn as much as possible about the world of work and also reflect on yourself and your own traits and skills. This will enable you to start realising the jobs that are best suited to you and uncover what such jobs entail.
1. Personality tests
Personality tests are a really useful tool for learning more about which jobs complement you and your own characteristics and strengths. Visit our website (https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/career-assessments.html) to access a range of short, free assessments that will help you reflect on your own traits and aptitudes. Other tests you should take include: Holland’s, Myers Briggs and Redbull, Wingfinder, to name a few. All of these tests will ask you a series of questions in order to decipher how you perceive the world around you and what motivates you into acting and making decisions. Completing these tests will give you a better awareness of yourself and your capabilities. This is extremely useful when looking for work because you will be able to recognise which sorts of occupations you would excel in and which you should avoid. For example, if you find out that you are a very efficient, logical, independent and organised then you will be best suited to organisational and planning roles such as event planner, real estate agent or assistant positions.
2. Career Information Websites
There are a number of websites that you can access which have information available on an extensive list of jobs and industries. For example, our Career Guidance Charts App (http://app.careerguidancecharts.com/) has a large database of maps on career sectors, as well as occupation descriptions, links to company websites and sector outlooks. Other useful sites include Prospects.ac.uk, National Careers Service and UCAS. These websites contain details on what various jobs entail, what skills are required, routes into the role, as well as information on average salary, big companies, typical hours and career progression. If you are considering a few different jobs or career paths, it is worthwhile finding out as much information as possible about the roles to check that it is the right fit for you and to discover what qualifications you might need to get there.
3. Speak to people in the field
One of the most effective methods of finding out about a job is to actually speak with someone currently in the sector. Talk to your family members and see if they know of anyone in that sector or role, making connections is an extremely valuable resource when job hunting. Social media is another great tool for this. Platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to reach out to professionals and network with people already in your chosen field. Once you have made contact, be sure to ask questions, accept any advice they may have, and reflect on whether you think the job is right for you.
4. Lived Experience
It is also important to reflect on the experience you already have. Have you done any volunteering, work experience or been involved with any events or activities within your community? Think about what skills and capabilities you have acquired that lend themselves to certain jobs. Research which careers play to your strengths and experiences.
5. Career games or quizzes
Online games and quizzes based on careers and skills can be a quick, easy and fun way to learn more about what you are looking for in a future career. The Career Guidance Charts website has 7 free quizzes, such as the Career Values Quiz and the Strengths Exercises, that you can complete to reflect on your career ambitions and job searching activities. They take no more than a few minutes and will help you to evaluate your decisions, skills and what motivates you. Visit https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/career-assessments.html to access the quizzes.
Keep an eye out in schools, job centres and community centres for any leaflets or brochures on career opportunities currently being advertised. Often companies will promote any local opportunities, be that work experience or new vacancies, in leaflets and posters so be sure to take home any that you come across in case there is a role that interests you. Leaflets and posters are also used to market any local events that might be coming up and with events comes the opportunity to volunteer or simply to get involved with your community where you can meet and network with more people.
We do provide a range of job guides in leaflet format which can be purchased in print or downloaded digitally. See our products here: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/c38/Job_Guides.html
7. Looking at LMI
Visit www.lmiforall.org.uk to find out more about the current labour market and industry statistics. It is extremely useful to be clued up on the present state of the labour market as this will help you to see which sectors are growing, what jobs are in demand, and where you might want to pursue a career. For a broader outlook on the labour market and industry trends you can also visit websites such as www.nomisweb.co.uk or www.cipd.co.uk/.
8. Use a Careers Platform
An online careers platform is a great space for you to continue your own exploration of a range of potential occupations. Platforms such as http://app.careerguidancecharts.com/ , START profile, Unifrog or Kudos all contain a wealth of career information. You will be able to learn more about what jobs entail and in which sectors, how to enter into roles, what university courses or apprenticeships are available, how to build your CV, and much more. Be sure to make the most of what these platforms have to offer because they will equip you with all the necessary information on jobs you might want to pursue and show you how to get there.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in the world of work, get involved with your local community, and connect and network with people. Whilst you do not receive any payment for your labour, the benefits you will gain from volunteering are far more valuable. You will get real hands-on experience in the real world, and assess whether you might want to start a career in a given sector or industry. For example you might become a conservation volunteer at a national park and realise you would like a career in preserving and protecting the environment. Furthermore, having experience as a volunteer really boosts your CV and profile because it shows that you have strong work ethic and are enthusiastic about the sector. To find opportunities near you visit https://doit.life/volunteer or https://reachvolunteering.org.uk/.
10. YouTube and/or Vlogs
YouTube is rapidly expanding platform with millions of videos posted each day. Research and watch videos on specific careers, routes into the sector, what jobs actually involve. You could also watch Vlogs of people currently in your desired field and see what their day-to-day life consists of, giving you more insight into what the job requires. This will help you to reflect on whether you feel that job or industry is right for you. Try using hashtags such as #careerpath #careergoals #careeradvice to find relevant content and information. Check out websites such as icould.com for more videos.
11. Reading blogs, newspapers or magazines
The internet contains a vast amount of useful information on industries and careers so make the most of it. Google your desired field and read through any online articles or blogs to stay up-to-date on industry trends and future projections. Furthermore, being up-to-date about the current and future state of your chosen sector will make you a strong candidate during the job application process and you will stand out as someone who is already passionate about the field. As well as online resources there are a number of useful print materials which you should utilise such as newspapers and physical magazines. For example, if you want to work as a nurse you could subscribe to The Nursing Times or the British Journal of Nursing.
12. Careers appointment with advisors
Another great way to learn more about the world of work is to talk with your careers advisor in school or as an adult contact the National Careers Service for an appointment local to you. They are trained professionals whose job is to support people into work so they will be able to guide you on how to pursue a certain career or how to figure out which job might be right for you.
13. Visits to employers
Take advantage of the opportunities given to you in school. Often schools will organise trips to employers or taster days, be sure to sign up for a place on these visits. These trips will allow you to enter a working environment and see what working life is really like. You will gain further insight into what different jobs involve and might be inspired to pursue a role you hadn’t considered before. You will also be able to chat with people already in the field and find out more about what they do and how they got to where they are now.
14. Visits to education
Other worthwhile trips include visiting other educational institutions such as colleges or universities. If you have a subject or course in mind attending an open day will allow you to learn more about the modules you could take and what jobs they could lead to. You will also be able to chat to students who are currently taking the course and find out how they have found it and further assess whether you think it’s the right choice for you. Getting as qualified as possible will really support your job search and give you a far stronger job profile increasingly your chance for success during applications.
Check out https://www.opendays.com/ to find out dates for open days coming up.
15. Work experience
One of the best and most effective ways to learn about the world of work is to gain some work experience. This will help you to gain insight into the field, build and develop necessary skills, connect with professionals already in the industry, and massively boost your profile should you decide to pursue a career in the sector. To obtain work experience you can email or phone companies directly asking for opportunities they might have available. Alternatively you can look on career websites as listed above, or talk to your careers advisor in school to see if they can put you in contact with anyone.
16. Social Media research
Utilise social media to help you uncover more about the working world. Follow relevant hashtags such as #careerpath #careergoals #careeradvice to receive useful information and advice. You can also join Facebook groups relating to your chosen field where you will connect with likeminded people and access shared resources relating to work. You should also follow influencers who are in jobs you would like to learn more about, you can get a sneak peek into their daily lives and reflect on whether you can see yourself in their position. LinkedIn is another great tool for learning about careers. By connecting with people in your chosen field or following company pages you will keep updated on trends in the market and improve your knowledge of the sector.
Leaving the structure and routine of education can be extremely daunting. Suddenly, we have to make our lives for ourselves. Finding a job and figuring out next steps can be overwhelming and a seemingly impossible task; where do I start? How do I make myself stand out against the next person? But there are actually a number of practices and exercises you can do to give yourself the best chance of success in entering the world of work. That is the focus of this article. Whether you have just left University, or you are still currently in school, this article will equip you with a range of ways to improve your employability.
By employability, I mean those aptitudes and capabilities which make you appealing to employers. Those qualities that give you the edge and serve you up as the ideal candidate for a given role.
Work through the checklist provided here and you will enhance your employability and ensure your job search and working life is successful.
1. Construct and refine your CV
Having a strong CV will be hugely beneficial in your job search. It serves as the first impression that a potential employer will have of you. Their initial opinion of you will be based on these 1 or 2 pages, so it is vital that you build your CV to present you in the best possible way. Make sure your CV is up to date with all your qualifications, work experience, skills etc, as well as being strongly written and appropriately structured.
If you would like further guidance on building a strong CV then check out our CV Job Guide: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/p222/Job_Guide_-_Writing_a_CV.html
2. Gain work experience in your chosen sector
If you can acquire some practical experience in your desired industry then this will immediately give you an upper hand with potential employers. By seeing that you have already actively sought out work shows, not only that you will have skills and knowledge of the role, but also that you are genuinely interested and will work hard. There are many ways to find work experience. You can apply for an apprenticeship or a traineeship in your field, or you can directly contact businesses that you are interested in and see if they have any work experience available.
For more information on apprenticeships you can read our Apprenticeship Job Guide: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/p251/Apprenticeship_Job_Guide.html
Similar to work experience, volunteering also helps show a desire to work as well as allowing you to develop valuable skills. Evidence of past voluntary work will appeal to prospective employers as it shows you are not purely driven by monetary reward but rather by an interest in the role. Having a more ethical backbone to your working motivation will help you stand out against other applicants and reassure employers that you have a good work ethic. There are many places and websites to find volunteering opportunities in your local area. Check out sites such as do-it.org, charityjob.co.uk and reachvolunteering.org.uk.
4. Build a good social media presence
Increasingly employers are sourcing and hiring new talent on social media platforms. Therefore, it is essential that you ensure your accounts are secure and professional. Check all your personal profiles across various platforms and remove any images or content that could harm your job search. After you have cleansed your profiles you can then start networking and following organisations or business profiles that are relevant to your career interests.
Use our Job Guides on Facebook and LinkedIn to help support you during your job search: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/c38/Job_Guides.html
5. Grow your network
Use LinkedIn to grow and develop your network. Make connections with people already in your desired sector, follow relevant pages and accounts, and keep up to date with what’s happening in your market. There are around 50 million businesses active on LinkedIn, and 3 people are hired through the platform every minute. Therefore, it is worthwhile for you to try and be consistently active on LinkedIn because you will likely come across a range of businesses and opportunities.
For more information on how to use LinkedIn in your job search, buy our LinkedIn Job Guide: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/p216/Guide_to_Jobseeking_on_Linkedin.html
6. Build your skill set
Having a range of relevant skills and competencies will make your application far more appealing to employers. You can develop such aptitudes in a variety of ways. For instance, by taking part in extracurricular activities at school or University you will build leadership and teamworking abilities. Similarly, if you have any hobbies or interests these might display certain skills or a drive for learning. Playing violin for 8 years to grade 5 level, for example, shows a high level of discipline and dedication. You can use your interests to boost your profile and show employers that you have what it takes. Another way to build your skill set is to actually take a related course. For instance, you could take an online course in marketing if you are wanting to enter into that industry. This tells employers that you are driven and hardworking as you have sought out and completed training yourself.
7. Assess your skills
Once you have developed and built up your skill set you can then reflect on these and identify your core strengths. By understanding where you excel you will be able to find jobs that are better suited to you and your personality. This will mean you have a higher likelihood of success in acquiring such jobs as they are well-matched to you and you will come across as a good fit. But you need to make sure you show employers that you are the best candidate for them. You can do this by using concrete examples during the application process where you have showcased these strengths. Furthermore, if you are struggling to identify your strengths you can take our short free Career Values Quiz which assess your core principles and personality: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/career-values-test.html
8. Know how to learn
This might sound strange but it is crucial. Knowing how to learn means displaying resilience. Markets and businesses are constantly changing and evolving, so if you can show an ability to learn and evolve too then employers will see you as a good fit for them. Improving our capacity to learn and cope with shifting circumstances can be done in a number of easy ways:
9. Be open and alert to opportunities
This may sound vague but consciously making an effort to be aware of opportunities can make a huge difference to your job hunt. This can be in the form of small changes such as browsing through job alerts on LinkedIn for half an hour every day, or regularly reading and keeping up to date with news in your industry. This will increase your chances of coming across an opportunity that is applicable to you. Such opportunities may seem out of your depth but you can always learn something and gain valuable experience. Even from failure. We learn and develop by doing. So if you do come across an opportunity; it could be work experience or volunteering for instance, then go for it! Apply or send in your information and see where it takes you.
Another important thing to remember is to be proactive. Some opportunities may land at your feet but often you will have to seek them out yourself. This could be inquiring with local businesses to see if they have any work available, or directly messaging any experts on LinkedIn to see if they know of any available openings.
10. Find out as much as possible about your chosen field
Get clued up on what your future job might entail, and how the industry works and is structured. Basically, just research and find out as much as you can about your chosen field. Not only will this mean you can display expertise during your application and interview, but also so that you can reflect and assess whether it is actually the right career for you.
Ways to research your chosen field:
11. Be prepared for interviews
Interviews are possible the most significant part of the application process. Here your employer will decide whether or not you are right for the job. Whilst this might seem daunting, with the right technique you will be able to perform highly at any interview. It all comes down to the preparation.
Tips for interview preparation:
If you want a more thorough guide on how to prepare for interviews then check out our Interview Success Job Guide: https://www.careerguidancecharts.com/store/p227/Interview_Success_Guide.html
12. Prepare your STAR stories
Your STAR stories are real-life examples where you have showcased key qualities and aptitudes which make you the ideal candidate for the job. It is essentially a way for you to highlight your unique selling points to potential employers. They should all follow the STAR method:
These stories don’t have to be directly related to the job or work that you will be doing, but rather need to display your strengths and competencies. They are responses to behavioural questions, depicting your ability to react and behave in certain situations. For example, one could be about hosting a party, and you could talk about your organisational skills and ability to juggle various tasks at once. Try creating 3 to 4 STAR stories which you can keep at the forefront of your mind and use during interviews or in cover letters. These will show your employer that you don’t just look good on paper, you also have the practical skills and aptitudes to back it up. Moreover, once you have created your set of STAR stories, you should practice talking about them regularly. This will make you come across as more compelling and confident in interviews, which goes a long way.
13. Be honest
Although it may be tempting to claim that you are proficient with certain software systems, for example, if this is actually untrue it will likely end up doing more damage than good in the long run. Throughout the entire job searching process, make sure you are being authentic and creating a true depiction of yourself. You can still show an enhanced version of yourself, for instance highlighting your strengths, but don’t state anything that is actually untrue. If a potential employer were to find out that you have not been honest they are unlikely to hire you as you will come across as deceptive and manipulative. Therefore, whilst it may seem obvious, be extra careful that you are telling the complete truth during the application process.
14. Be organised
Being organised will greatly help your employability. Use schedules and calendars to make sure you are using your time efficiently. For instance, allocate a 30 min slot every day at 5:30 to networking on LinkedIn. You can also use this to keep on track of any other job searching activities, such as interviews, application deadlines etc. This will greatly reduce your stress levels and also show prospective employers that you are an efficient and organised individual.
15. Maintain a positive outlook
Lastly, maintain a positive outlook. This sounds obvious but it is extremely important for increasing your employability. Having a bright and positive attitude will improve how recruiters and employers perceive you. Positive people are more likely to be problem-solvers and increase productivity in the workplace. Also, all businesses experience shifts and fluctuations, and having an optimistic and confident personality will assure employers that you are the sort of person who can continue to thrive despite changing circumstances. This will make you a valuable asset to the team.
Moreover, maintaining a positive attitude will help you when dealing with the job searching process. You will likely experience rejection and disappointment, but by consciously trying to remain optimistic you will learn to use rejection as constructive criticism. This will then help you to develop and be more likely to find success in the next application.
For more resources on the areas covered in this article please take a look at our range of Job guides here:
To access a variety of posters and infographics see our Career and Employment series here:
I have 10 years experience of working in careers guidance and am director of CGC. We publish career infographics for schools and colleges