Career advice?

Soldato
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I'm waiting for the abuse to role in on this one... Saying that, I'm pretty sure that considering the huge readership of these forums there will be a pretty strong chance that someone who reads this will be working in the various fields I'm looking into.

Basically, I'm currently doing a degree in Economics, and am in the process of applying to various internships etc...

I am however still unsure of which careers to apply to, so really was just wondering what people's own experiences are in the various fields I'm looking into going into.

However bad it is, I'd also be interested in information on possible salaries, careers/salary progression, competition in the market for the jobs, and what kind of experience would people recommend.

This is the 'small' list of possible careers I'm considering:
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Environmental Economics
  • Journalism
  • Something IT/technology based, possibly linked into the Journalism theme above, or maybe a buyer for one of the large Computer sales companies - to be honest, something like OCUK would be a great company xD

Frankly, I'm not even sure some of them even exist as careers! xD

Anyway, thanks for the advice :)

To all the doubters, no I'm not going to make my sole decision on this, but I figured it would be an idea to get a first hand idea of peoples experiences in the various fields.

kd
 
Soldato
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My first hand experience of people in finance is that they have lots of money. I would therefore recommend that you choose that career path and work in the City of London. If you are clever, work hard and play hard, you will become very wealthy.
 
Man of Honour
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accounting is what i would do if it didnt look so boring.

Accountancy can be boring but then so can most careers I'd imagine - possible exceptions being lion taming and wing walking, especially if you combine the two...

I'm currently on a graduate programme training to be an accountant and I've found it to be interesting so far and reasonably challenging in places. The hardest thing for me (and I think for many) is trying to combine the studying with working full time, while I'm relatively lucky and get all days off for all my courses/exams etc there's still a definite shortfall in terms of time needed to study.

Salary-wise it will depend where you go, I'm public sector at the moment and it should cheer those who think that civil servants are massively overpaid to learn that we are not all paid a kings ransom. However there are compensations in terms of (often) a fairly good set of people and flexible working conditions to an extent. There are still opportunities for advancement pretty much wherever you are but that will come down to you demonstrating that you are good enough and salary progression can be reasonable although that depends where you are and to a degree how fortunate you are in gaining access to the right opportunities.

In terms of competition for jobs, the graduate programme I'm on had (apparently) a few thousand applicants initially with the testing sifting out most until there were about 300 who each went for a day long assessment centre, then there were approximately 60 jobs from what I recall. I believe it has subsequently become more competitive although I don't know any more recent figures relating to it.

I'm not sure what you mean by experience recommended here but if there's anything unclear let me know and I'll try to answer it.
 
Soldato
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My first hand experience of people in finance is that they have lots of money. I would therefore recommend that you choose that career path and work in the City of London. If you are clever, work hard and play hard, you will become very wealthy.

If only it were that easy ;)
 
Soldato
OP
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Accountancy can be boring but then so can most careers I'd imagine - possible exceptions being lion taming and wing walking, especially if you combine the two...

I'm currently on a graduate programme training to be an accountant and I've found it to be interesting so far and reasonably challenging in places. The hardest thing for me (and I think for many) is trying to combine the studying with working full time, while I'm relatively lucky and get all days off for all my courses/exams etc there's still a definite shortfall in terms of time needed to study.

Salary-wise it will depend where you go, I'm public sector at the moment and it should cheer those who think that civil servants are massively overpaid to learn that we are not all paid a kings ransom. However there are compensations in terms of (often) a fairly good set of people and flexible working conditions to an extent. There are still opportunities for advancement pretty much wherever you are but that will come down to you demonstrating that you are good enough and salary progression can be reasonable although that depends where you are and to a degree how fortunate you are in gaining access to the right opportunities.

In terms of competition for jobs, the graduate programme I'm on had (apparently) a few thousand applicants initially with the testing sifting out most until there were about 300 who each went for a day long assessment centre, then there were approximately 60 jobs from what I recall. I believe it has subsequently become more competitive although I don't know any more recent figures relating to it.

I'm not sure what you mean by experience recommended here but if there's anything unclear let me know and I'll try to answer it.

I was aware of the 'decreased' salary in the public sector as I have family working in the finance/accountancy field.

That doesn't seem actually too bad as competition (I've heard that about 50% of ''applications" tend to be pretty poor quality anyway...) I mean it's not fantastic but it could certainly be much worse.

For experience, I guess it would more be what do you think it was that made you stand out to get the job. Also out of interest if you don't mind, what degree did you do?/ did you feel it was particularly important? (Have heard a lot about degrees not needing to be relevant to the field you wanted to enter, and was wondering how true this is)

kd
 
Caporegime
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Why are you considering these careers? What is it that interests you about them?

My advice is this: do something you enjoy doing. This is much, much more important than getting wealthy.
 
Man of Honour
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I was aware of the 'decreased' salary in the public sector as I have family working in the finance/accountancy field.

That doesn't seem actually too bad as competition (I've heard that about 50% of ''applications" tend to be pretty poor quality anyway...) I mean it's not fantastic but it could certainly be much worse.

It may well be true that a lot of the applications are/were somewhat speculative and poor quality. It was certainly interesting receiving the feedback from the assessment centre and reading the comments while thinking "if we're the ones that made it through and we've got these comments then how bad must the rest have been...". :o :D

For experience, I guess it would more be what do you think it was that made you stand out to get the job. Also out of interest if you don't mind, what degree did you do?/ did you feel it was particularly important? (Have heard a lot about degrees not needing to be relevant to the field you wanted to enter, and was wondering how true this is)

kd

I don't know precisely what made me stand out enough to get the job, see the comments above. I'd guess it helped that I could point to a couple of brief periods living and studying abroad as examples of planning, resiliency, adaptability etc. I don't think it hugely matters what you have done as much as how you present it, if you can think about the things that the employer is likely to want and give them some examples it'll help you immensely.

I did a law degree and in fact skipped the accountancy modules that were in the degree on the basis of having a Higher in accountancy. In many ways it's not relevant to accountancy (although probably not the most irrelevant degree amongst those on the graduate scheme) but it does help you in terms of presenting information clearly and concisely. Most degrees will have a number of transferrable skills and it's up to you to show how they can be applied to job XX. Having a law degree helps to an extent because there seems to be a general perception that it's difficult but whether it made that much of an impact I couldn't say.
 
Soldato
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I know, I'm not saying it's not possible, it's just not that easy :p.

I've been seriously looking into it, it's a pretty tough process but totally worth it, do want.

They take people on from a wide spectrum of degrees as well.
 
Soldato
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Have you considered (commercial) law? The tedium ranks up there with accountancy and finance etc., but the graduate salaries are good (beaten only by banking really).
 
Caporegime
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I did consider Masters + Investment Bank, however I'm not quite sure how much I want to sell my soul yet xD

kd

Do whichever you think you'll enjoy the most and stop worrying about salary/progression. You seem to be looking at a range of careers but the most important thing is that you'll enjoy what you'll be doing as you'll be spending most of your waking hours doing it from now until you retire then die....
 
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