For the past three years during my summers, I have worked with a London-based company that works with students and young people across the country to identify and raise their aspirations, and to equip them with some valuable tools to achieve their educational, personal, and career goals. For some reason, I had always thought of this summer work was separate to my career development, but now, as I focus on a possible future in arts and museum learning, I realise how important this experience has been.
Working with these students has not only provided valuable experience for my CV and future career, but also the opportunity to learn along with them about myself and my own goals and aspirations. I wanted to share one of the activities that we do with the students that I found surprisingly useful, despite its simplicity: career mapping. Career mapping allows you to lay out visually some of the different career routes available in any field – this is particularly useful for the CCIs, which we have seen over this past year to be hugely varied. Although this map isn’t meant to be at all exhaustive, it’s a useful first step in generating ideas about what kinds of jobs one does (and equally importantly: DOESN’T) want. Here’s an example of the one that I was working on for myself on paper – this isn’t a complete version but shows its general shape:
I took the added step of colour coding the map a bit: Green indicates my definite interest and opportunities that I am actively seeking, Purple indicates something that I might consider if an opportunity arose or a something that I’m interesting in learning more about, and Red indicates a pretty definite lack of interest in, at least at this point.
It’s remarkable to think back to October 2011 and how vague my career ambitions were. Job-hunting is so much more exciting when you actually know what you’re looking for.