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Your Career Path is a Straight Line – No Turns Allowed

Imagine that you’re fixed on your career path from the moment you start your education. New film Divergent focusses on a dystopian future (yes, another one) where young people are categorised into their life groups based on a psychological test…


Luckily we’re not at this stage yet! You still have a choice over the job you are interested in or the career path you want to follow, it doesn’t have to be a straight line. Sometimes it might not feel that way, you might feel pushed towards a particular career path from those first awkward conversations with parents or guardians about what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.

The reason for this might be that it’s easier to help you the more defined your career path is. For some sectors it’s extremely easy to know what you have to do on your career path (think medical school – Doctor) for others it’s less clear. With the vast array of different opportunities out there you can have the “agony of choice” moment, where you have so many options, you’re not sure which to pick. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a starting point for your career, a goal to head towards. (Finding out what options with your course are available as well is a great starting point.)

“Today you will take a test that will help you discover who you truly are. The future belongs to those who know where they belong.”

– Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet in Divergent)

Career tools can be useful for this; giving you a ‘jumping off point’ and some direction at the start of your search. Some tools help you find out about yourself, your personality, values, and learning styles in order to help you understand your choices. Others give suggestions on what could be a good career options for you, based on your preferences. The important word here is ‘suggestions’. Unlike the test Kate Winslet talks about in Divergent, you are not locked into the choices you make in these tests forever. In fact, you don’t even have to take the choices they offer you. You might go through the test and be presented with a list of jobs you aren’t interested in at all! The benefit of this though is that you will understand a bit more about yourself, what you really don’t want to do as a job, often just as important in identifying your career.

  • Profiling for Success – Profiling for Success offers a range of personalised assessments and information on becoming self-aware, learning styles, personality and values based indicator of motivation. (Free access to University of Hertfordshire students and grads via StudyNet)
  • Prospects Career Planner – Prospects Career Planner identifies suitable job matches based on your skills, motivations and desires and gives you the opportunity to research the options.
  • Targetjobs Career Report – Free  online  report  based  on  skills,  motivations,  personality  and  preferences  using  questionnaires  and psychometric tests. The personalised report is clear and easy to read and has an action plan option



“For many – nearly eight out of ten of us – the job search never ends… we’re always looking.”

So you’re never really locked into a career, there are always options open to move into different sectors and opportunities; your career path can offer you many twists and turns throughout your working life. And hopefully no one will be hunting you down because you haven’t fit into a specific category…

Find out a bit more about your career path by talking to with a Careers Adviser. Current University of Hertfordshire students and graduates can book appointments through CareerHub

photo credit: Ian Sane (edited: HDR Toning & Crop) via cc


Jerome Price Photograph

Jerome Price is the Online and Digital Content Manager in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire.

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