dad walking down the street with his two kids

How do I know what kind of job I’d like to do?

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, you might not know what kind of job you’d like or what you’d be good at.

People might tell you to “follow your passion” or to “do something you love”, but what if you don’t know what that is?

Answering the following questions can help you decide what kind of work you might like. Write down a list of responses for each.

1. What type of work environment do I prefer?

Would you like:

  • Working outside or indoors
  • Interacting with people or working alone
  • A fast-paced environment or a slower, more detailed workplace
  • A variety of tasks or a single project
  • Being at a desk all day or moving around
  • Set hours or rotating shifts
  • Daytime or night-time work
  • Part-time or full-time work

2. What skills do I have?

What skills or interests do you already have? For example, are you good at:

  • Helping people
  • Working with numbers
  • Thinking creatively
  • Planning and organising
  • Solving problems

If you get stuck, fill in a skills worksheet to get more ideas. Do a web search for “skills worksheet” to find heaps of free examples online.

Going back to work as a single parent can seem daunting but it's also rewarding.

3. Take a career quiz

Career quizzes were designed for this reason – to help you work out what job you would like to do. There are many free career quizzes available online. Try the Job Outlook Career Quiz or myfuture website as a starting point.

4. Is there anything else that affects the kind of job I can do?

Do you have a health condition that will affect your ability to carry out certain tasks? Do you have any other needs that will affect your choice of job?

For example, some jobs involve physical tasks like heavy lifting, being on your feet all day or repetitive movements.

What next?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can use your responses to find jobs that suit you. Career websites like Job Outlook can help by listing the tasks involved in different types of jobs.

If you need help turning your ideas into reality, a ParentsNext provider may be able to lend a hand. If you’re eligible, you could get free, one-on-one advice to help you get the job you want now, or in the future.

ParentsNext can help with:

  • Setting employment and education goals
  • Connecting you to services in your local community
  • Finding training courses
  • Writing your resume and cover letter
  • Preparing for interviews

Images: Jason Reekie, Department of Jobs and Small Business

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