Employability Edge You And Your Career Careers That Fit Your Interests

Careers That Fit Your Interests

Interest is defined as ‘a state of curiosity or concern about something – a quality, subject, or activity that evokes this mental state’.  It could be an interest in an area of academic expertise, human activity, or a political or social issue.  One can pursue their interests in a variety of ways, such as through a career, volunteering, or activism.

Nearly everyone has experienced the almost addictive nature of deep engagement with an activity that we are strongly interested in.  Our engagement and motivation to continue comes from within (intrinsic) and is a curiosity and desire to know and engage more.  If the challenge offered by our deep engagement with an area of our interest is sufficient, then we forget about the passage of time, which is referred to as ‘flow’ or ‘being in the zone’.  For this reason, an interest in your academic subject area or career can make completing your study and work tasks more effective, which helps improve your performance in a more effortless manner.  There is a good chance that whatever you are strongly interested in will become one of your strengths.

Gaining a clear understanding of your interests is one of the first steps in making a career decision. Career success and satisfaction depends heavily on being cognitively/intellectually stimulated, and challenged to grow, develop and excel.

Most of us have a number of professional (graphic design) and general or every-day-life interests (travelling or sports).  Some people choose to pursue some of their interests through paid employment and others through hobbies or volunteering.  However, a growing number of people develop portfolio careers based around these interests and work part-time in different professions (graphic designer, web developer, and in local tourism).

General interests vs work interests

Many people choose courses and careers based on their academic and general interests.  There are many ways to turn your interests into careers.  For example, if you have a strong interest in mathematics, you can pursue it through study and a career in mathematics, physics, engineering or data science; while if you are interested in languages and communication, you may pursue linguistics, modern or classical languages, teaching, psychology, sociology, anthropology, marketing and communications, international business or tourism.  If you are interested in sports, you can also pursue it in a variety of ways as a gym instructor/personal trainer, professional athlete coach, exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, but also in sporting club/venue management.

On the other hand, there are work interests or work styles that are related to types of work activities, tasks and environments you feel drawn to that are worth consideration when thinking about your career pathway.  John Holland (Career Counselling Psychologist) theorised that career pathways can be grouped based on six clusters of work interests or styles:

  • Practical/Realistic occupations involve work activities that include hands-on problems and solutions.  These occupations may require mechanical/practical skills or working with livestock and the environment.
  • Analytical/Investigative occupations involve working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking.  These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems.
  • Creative/Artistic occupations require creativity and self-expression.  These occupations may require independent thought and idea-generation.
  • Helpful/Social occupations involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people.  These occupations often involve helping, or providing service to others.
  • Enterprising occupations involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and decision-making.  Sometimes they require risk-taking.
  • Administrative/Conventional occupations involve following set procedures and routines.  These occupations include working with data and details. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Action: Go to your downloaded workbook and complete Activity 5