Choosing a career


Taking control of your career involves making a series of choices:  what to study, which types of jobs to research, which organisations to apply to, when to give up Plan A and go for Plan B, which offer to accept etc.

How do you define a good career choice?

Good choices depend on your goals, i.e , what you are looking for in a career.   Try to define what you want from your career for the next five years or so after your LSE degree.  Knowing your goals will help you form a basis for the decisions you make.  

What process should you adopt to make good career decisions?

Again, the answer will depend on you and your preferred decision-making style. But if you feel you have made bad decisions in the past then finding out about other decision-making styles may help you to strengthen your own.

Listed below are a series of tools and techniques that can help with decision making. They can help you rank options, manage the timing of choices, and identify what kind of information you need to tip the decision:

If you are faced with a difficult choice, consider booking a careers discussion with one of our careers consultants. They can't make the decision for you, but they can help you to clarify the elements of your choice and understand what makes it difficult for you to decide, and help you to explore options in detail, and maybe uncover new ones.

Some truths about career decisions:

  • You will never have perfect information about all the options. Gathering relevant factual information makes sense, but at some point, you have to stop analyzing and choose.
    "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" (Yogi Berra)
  • Your emotions and intuition also give you important data about alternatives and are worth paying attention to.
    "I believe in intuition and inspiration…at times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason." (Albert Einstein)
  • If you find closing off options particularly difficult and are prone to feelings of regret ( "if only..."). Consider that you can never know exactly what might have been the outcome of choosing a route you decide not to take.  
    "There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold." (Milan Kundera "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")
  • Luck, or chance plays a big role in every career. But people who seem lucky are often, on closer inspection, those who make the most of what comes their way and make the best of any decision they take.
    "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity" (Oprah Winfrey)