Over a third of British adults have not yet found the right career, according to research from our training partner Home Learning College. The only place many people receive any formal occupational guidance is at school. However, despite three quarters reporting this to be the case, 66% say the information they received at that time was not appropriate. In fact, 40% say they have never benefited from useful vocational advice at any point in their life!

If that’s ringing bells then don’t be disheartened. There are several things you can do to gain valuable insight that will underpin informed decisions about your professional development.

It’s all about you

As a starting point, it can be useful to write down all the things you want from a job and those you definitely wish to avoid. Be really honest with yourself. There’s nothing to be gained from trying to pursue a career that doesn’t reflect your personal aspirations.

The kinds of things you may wish to consider are whether you prefer to work individually or as part of a team, whether you would like to be office-based, what kind of working hours would best suit your lifestyle and whether you have a natural flair in certain areas such as a head for numbers or a love of writing.

This kind of self-analysis will help to define what the right career will look like, so when opportunities come along you will be able to make appropriate choices.

Use online resources

There are numerous free online information sources for anyone in need of career guidance. One such website is Next Step (https://nextstep.direct.gov.uk/Pages/Home.aspx) - a government initiative designed to help adults move forward in their professional lives. The site includes advice on development planning and improving your career through learning.

The website Careershifters (www.careershifters.org) contains lots of free interesting and useful articles from a range of expert career coaches, along with practical exercises, that will help you formulate a plan of action.

Other resources are available for a small investment. Home Learning College students, for example, have exclusive access to a comprehensive career advice service for just £30 a year. This includes guidance on interview techniques and understanding how to work with recruiters.

Organise a face to face session

If you want to take things a step further then you could think about working with a private career coach. Coaching focuses on the positive steps you can take to move forward in the direction you want. The coach is there to facilitate progress and suggest alternatives that you may not have considered on your own. They are also a source of inspiration who can keep you motivated until you find the right path.

Engage in training to make that move

You may not currently have the skills required to move into your dream profession but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to that position quite easily.

Gaining a new vocational qualification can be one of the most effective ways of stimulating change, whether by increasing your chances of promotion or by equipping you to move into an entirely new line of work.

In contrast to academic courses – such as A Levels or degrees – which tend to cover theoretical concepts, vocational courses generally teach practical skills relating to a specific profession. As a result, a vocational qualification is likely to have a more immediate effect on your job prospects.

Recent advances in further education mean that more options are available to anyone looking to learn new skills or take the first step on a different career path. New distance learning techniques mean that you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to gain a professionally accredited qualification.

You can find out more about Home Learning College’s range of vocational distance learning courses by clicking here.

Over to you

Bringing about positive change in life usually requires investment of time and energy. The great news is that if you’re prepared to take action then the resources are available to assist you in finding that perfect job.