Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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3.1 Types of question to ask

If you don’t know what you want to know, you will have no way of starting your research into different job opportunities. You just won’t know where to begin.

So the next activity is designed to help you to identify a few questions that you want answers to.

At this stage, these sorts of question might be useful:

  • What is the availability of a particular kind of work?
  • What is the nature of a particular kind of work?
  • Is the work associated with a specific type of organisation?
  • What are the practicalities, such as pay, working patterns or location?

Which of these questions are most important to you right now?

Your answer might depend on how clear you are about the type of work you want, your motivations for pursuing the work and the time frames you have in mind. For example, if you are already in work but short of money, you might want to look for additional work that fits around your existing job. In this scenario you would be more concerned with the availability of work and with the practicalities, such as weekend or evening working options. If, however, you are already on a career path but considering a different employment sector, you might have questions about organisation types and availability in your geographical area.

To help you decide what questions to ask, you’re going to look again at Christopher’s situation from Activity 2.

Activity 5 Identifying Christopher’s questions

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Imagine that Christopher is your friend. He tells you he has decided that he wants to pursue his idea of becoming a car mechanic but wants to test the possibility. What questions do you think he needs to ask, which are related to:

  • availability of the work
  • nature of the work
  • types of organisation
  • practicalities of the work.

Write the questions you think would be useful for him to research below. As this information is not about you, there is no need to write it in your notebook.

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This is not a full set of the questions that could be asked, but it illustrates how using the different question categories can help you to identify useful questions to explore.

  • How many garages are there in my town? (Availability)
  • How many advertisements for mechanics are there at the moment/have there been over the past six months? (Availability)
  • What qualifications do you need to be a mechanic? (Practicalities)
  • What does a car mechanic spend most time doing? (Nature of the work)
  • Does a car mechanic spend all his/her time fixing cars or are there other tasks they have to do? (Nature of the work)
  • Is there a difference between working for a chain of garages (like Quick Fit) and an independent garage (Organisation type)?
  • How much could I expect to earn as a mechanic? (Practicalities)
  • How long would it take me to train as a mechanic? (Practicalities)

Use these ideas for questions when you think about your own situation in the next section.

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