What work?

Exploring your strengths and opportunities.

Taking time to set some goals and plan your journey towards them will help to keep you on track, whether you want to move into further education, move into work for the first time or return to work after a long absence.

The first steps in deciding what work you want to do is to identify your skills, strengths and personal resources. There are many tools available to help you do this and to consider the different types of jobs that match your skills.

These can be found on recruitment agency websites, government websites, local libraries and via your Routes adviser. The National Careers Service also offers a free tool to help you kick start your journey. Prospects has another tool that helps you to find out What job would suit me?

Factors to consider in your planning will be your personal circumstances, what interests you and the practical opportunities available to you.

Your health: You may be at the peak of your fitness or you may have some health limiting factors that need to be accommodated. For example, you may only be able to commit to a part-time job or be able to work in certain environments.

Your financial circumstances: You may need to find work really quickly and so this will set your immediate actions, or you may have time to prepare for work over a longer period.

Your benefits may be affected if you are earning a salary. You will want to understand the impact of working on your benefits. There are free and anonymous calculators available to help you calculate any impact: entitledto or Turn2Us.

Personal circumstances: You may be a carer or a single parent for example, which may mean you are only able to work around your caring duties and this will to some extent dictate which types of roles you may be able to apply for.

Skills and qualifications: How up to date is your experience and the qualifications you need for your chosen goal? If you haven’t worked for some time you might need to consider brushing up on your existing skills or to identify new skills and/or qualifications. Set realistic goals and plan your journey into work by allowing yourself the time to build your confidence and get new skills or qualifications.

Some key generic skills that employers look for include teamwork and interpersonal skills, reliability and punctuality. They also increasingly include IT skills. Consider whether you may need to work and develop on any of these areas.

Getting started: If you want to start thinking about your options, try using one of the above tools or explore careers at the National Careers Service.

The internship did a lot for my confidence having been out of work for a long time. It is not just about developing skills but social interaction and re-acclimatising to work. It gave me confidence to work with others.

Thank you, you’ve been really helpful and helped me to get on the right path.

Your Routes adviser will support you in working through your options. They will help you to consider jobs that match your skills. They can also help you to develop confidence, learn new skills and to complete qualifications so that you can achieve your ambitions. Then, when you are ready, they will help you search for job opportunities.

Our Advisers' Top Tips:

Aradhana says: Writing down your goal will make it official and add to your sense of commitment. Perhaps share your ideas with a friend and ask them to help you identify any gaps. Keep it fun and creative though.

Claire says: Imagine yourself having achieved the goal – how good will it feel?

Jayne says: Make a plan and stick to it.  However, make it flexible enough so that you can adjust it as you go along, or as unexpected opportunities or challenges arise.

Mirco says: Frequently re-examine your goal to ensure it’s still what you really want. Recognise and celebrate each small success along the way. Adapt it if necessary but keep to your main objective. Work hard and stay focussed on the result.

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