6.3 Questions 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 have a clue where to begin! So the next activity is designed to help you identify a few questions that you want answered. At this stage, these sorts of questions 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 case 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 area.
To help you decide what questions to ask, in the next activity you’re going to look again at Christopher’s situation.
Christopher has decided that he wants to pursue the idea of becoming a car mechanic. Consider what questions 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.
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 their 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 (such as Kwik 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 activity.
Remind yourself of the three sources of information you chose in Activity 9, and identify three questions you think it might be helpful for you to answer. Use the types of question listed above to prompt your thinking. For example, you might have listed ‘National Office of Statistics’ as one of the sources you will consider. If so, your questions could be as follows:
- What is the trend for software developers in the UK – are the numbers of employed workers going up or down?
- In which industry sectors do most software developers tend to be employed?
- How up to date are the figures on the current website? Do I need to check elsewhere too?
You will see that the questions here are largely about availability. However, the type of question you ask will be related to the source that you are consulting – consider this carefully when constructing your own questions.
Now go to the template for this activity in the resource pack and note down the information sources you chose and the questions you think will guide your research. The table below provides an example of how to organise your thoughts.
|Information source||My three questions|
|Food bank website|
Are there any food banks close to my home?
Is it possible to get to them by bus?
What sort of work do they ask volunteers to do?
You are refining your ideas as you work through this process. At this point you should feel pleased with your progress. You already have:
- an idea of the work you want look into
- three information sources you are going to consult
- some questions to guide you as you go to the information sources.
Now you have a list of questions, you can start to research what you want to know.