Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Planning a better future
Planning a better future

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

6.2 Finding out how to refine your ideas

However clear you feel about your preferred work options, it is useful to bear in mind how well they match you as a person, your current circumstances and your life plans. In this section, you are invited to find out more about one type of work and what it would demand of you.

This will work best if you can identify a particular type of work or specific career path as one that interests you. For instance, you might have identified a career in the retail sector as something you feel would suit you. Alternatively, you might be interested in voluntary work and feel that working at a food bank, or another charity that helps people, would be rewarding. Whatever your thoughts, you need to do a bit of research on what the opportunities for this type of work are in practice.

To do this you need to know where to look, and help may not always come from the most obvious place. Table 1 lists the possible people or organisations that you could use, and what information you could find out from them.

Table _unit4.6.1 Table 1 Finding out information
Source Description of information
Business columns of newspapers May include features forecasting which employment sectors will be recruiting or are in decline.
Your local contacts May hear of local jobs and, if they know you are looking, mention it to you.
National Careers Service website A government website that includes information about training and apprenticeship opportunities.
Jobcentre Plus As well as paid job vacancies, they have information on volunteer work and your rights in relation to seeking work.
Friends and family They may have direct knowledge of the type of work you want to do, know if their organisations are recruiting or making people redundant in some areas, or may have good contacts that they can introduce you to.
Jobs pages of local newspapers Give a good idea of what employers are looking for in certain types of work, and a sense of how frequently those jobs are advertised.
Professional institute magazines Advertise jobs specific to their profession and this can give you a good idea of specialisms within the field.
Professional institute websites Explain the knowledge and skills requirements for the type of work and the training available.
Organisation’s own websites Many have a ‘careers’ or ‘working with us’ section that tells you what kind of work environment they offer and the types of job for which they recruit.
Office of National Statistics Provides information on jobs in the public and private sectors, and gives an analysis of the UK workforce jobs by sector. It also looks at industry changes.
Social media networks A new and developing source of information about jobs and organisations.
Radio programmes Local programmes might report on new businesses starting up in the area.
Community notice boards They will occasionally carry job advertisements for local jobs, such as acting as clerk to the council.
Local Chamber of Commerce Meeting people through this network may mean that you hear of jobs that are not advertised. This is true of many professional networks.

Activity _unit4.6.3 Activity 9

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

In this activity you will need to select three of these potential sources of information that you can use now. This will vary depending on where you are located, but may mean that you are limited currently to searching on the internet. You can explore other useful sources at another time.

Spend a few moments thinking about which three sources you want to consult and why. Then note down your thoughts in the box below. For instance, you might be interested in a retail career and decide to look at supermarket or department store websites. You might also want to check if there is a specialist magazine for the retail sector and visit your local library to look at a few copies.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


As you completed this activity, you may have found that your reason for choosing certain sources was simple curiosity because they directly relate to the type of work you are interested in, or they are easy or practical, or enjoyable for you in some way.

Before going to your sources for information it is vital to start out knowing what you want to find out. You’ll be helped with how to organise your thoughts on this next.