Plan Your Career (Career Counseling)


Plan your career:

Before you can get a job, you’ll need to think about what sort of job or career path suits you.


The pages in this section will help you work out what types of jobs are out there and which ones are right for you.

There’s also information to help you plan and develop your career and take the steps to put that plan into action.

8 job skills you should have:

  • 1. Communication

  • 2. Teamwork

  • 3. Problem solving

  • 4. Enterprise

  • 5. Planning and organising

  • 6. Self-management

  • 7. Learning

  • 8. Technology

While there will always be job-specific skills that an employer is looking for, most employers will also want you to have some general skills. These general job skills are sometimes called “employability skills”.

Having employability skills can help you get a job. They can also help you stay in a job and work your way to the top. If you score a job interview, chances are you’ll be asked questions about your job-specific skills and your employability skills.

Generally speaking, there are eight skills that employers want you to have, no matter what industry you’re working in.

1. Communication

Depending on the job, communication is about being a good talker or a good writer. It involves being confident about speaking to people (face-to-face or over the phone). It also involves writing well enough to be understood in emails and memos.

Examples of ways that you can develop or improve your communication skills include:

  • writing assignments and reports as part of your studies
  • blogging or using social media
  • making oral presentations as part of your class work
  • working in customer service (face-to-face or on the phone)
  • volunteering to host a community radio program.

2. Teamwork

Teamwork means being good at working with people – both the people you work with and other people that come into contact with your organisation.

Examples of ways that you can develop or improve your teamwork skills include:

  • doing group assignments as part of your studies
  • volunteering for a community organisation
  • thinking about how you can work better with other people at your workplace
  • joining a local sporting team.

3. Problem solving

Problem solving is about being able to find solutions when faced with difficulties or setbacks. Even if you can’t think of a solution straight away, you need to have a logical process for figuring things out.

Examples of ways you can develop or improve your problem solving skills include:

  • doing research assignments as part of your studies
  • dealing with complaints at your workplace
  • doing a study skills course that looks at problem solving
  • talking to other people about how they solved the problems they faced.

4. Initiative and enterprise

Initiative and enterprise are about being able to think creatively and to make improvements to the way things are. They’re also about looking at the bigger picture and how the way you work fits into that.

Examples of ways you can develop or improve your initiative and enterprise skills include:

  • approaching organisations and businesses about work placements or internships
  • setting up a fundraiser in your community
  • making or proposing changes to the way a group you belong to does things.

5. Planning and organising

Planning and organising are about things like working out what is required to get a job done, and then working out when and how you’ll do it. They’re also about things like developing project timelines and meeting deadlines.

Examples of ways you can develop or improve your planning and organising skills include:

  • developing a study timetable and sticking to it
  • organising some independent travel
  • managing your time around work, study and family commitments
  • helping to organise a community event
  • doing chores regularly around your home.

6. Self-management

Self-management is about getting on with your work without someone having to check up on you every five minutes. You should also be able to stay on top of your own deadlines and be able to delegate tasks to other people to make sure things get done on time.

Examples of ways that you can develop or improve your self-management skills include:

  • doing a work experience placement or internship
  • asking for new responsibilities at work
  • developing a study schedule and sticking to it
  • joining a volunteer organisation.

7. Learning

Learning is about wanting to understand new things and being able to pick them up quickly. It’s also about being able to take on new tasks and to adapt when the way things are done in the workplace change.

Examples of ways to develop or improve your learning skills include:

  • doing a short course or online course
  • doing some research into learning skills and learner types
  • starting a new hobby
  • joining a sporting or volunteer group.

8. Technology

General technology skills that employers want include things like being able to use a computer for word processing and sending email, or knowing how to use a photocopier.

Some more specific technology skills relate to software, like using social media, working with design or video editing software or knowing programming languages. Other technology skills relate to hardware, like knowing how to use EFTPOS, a cash register, a photocopier or scanner, a camera or a recording studio.

Examples of ways to develop or improve your technology skills include:

  • doing a short course or online course
  • asking for extra training at work
  • finding out what technology is used in the job you want and researching its use
  • identifying the technology you’re already using in your day-to-day life.

Questions and answers

Q1: I am doing my bachelors in software engineering and would like to do my masters in IT from abroad. What areas and countries would you suggest especially if I am looking for a scholarship? (Hamza Muzammil, Lahore)

A: Software engineering has a lot of scope and you can choose from a number of specialisms for your masters. I would suggest that you look at financial security/internet security or areas that cover SEO. If you end up doing a good bachelors degree with 3.0 and above CGPA you may be able to find scholarships in Germany, Australia and even UK.

Career counseling
choose your professions

Q2: I’m working as a Math teacher on BPS 14. My qualification is MSc (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering from University of Agriculture Faisalabad. In the school department I cannot apply for higher scale with this degree as what should I do? Whether I apply for some new job or get admission in master’s basic sciences like MSc in computer science, Math or Physics. Kindly guide me. (Faris Khan, Faisalabad)

A: I strongly feel that MSc in agriculture engineering is a very good qualification though I am not sure if you did this after the 4-year (Hons) degree. There is a huge possibility of you getting a scholarship in agriculture sciences especially research if you continue to do your MPhil in any of the areas within the agricultural sciences and then apply for a research funding. Most countries, including Germany, the USA and Australia should give you research a position or opportunity. I am not sure what to advise you in terms of enhancing your BBS but you should look towards a better opportunity then teaching in a school.

Q3: Sir, I am doing BBA from National Textile University, Faisalabad and I want to ask you for my specialisation what should I choose HRM, Marketing or Finance? (Nasir Rasheed, Faisalabad)

A: The choice of specialism will depend on your strengths in the relevant subjects. If you are good at Math and numbers you should choose finance but if you are good at management and negotiating skills you should look at marketing or human resource. I cannot advise further until I have known about your ability in the above subjects and I hope you will be able to choose the right specialism based on my advice.

Q4: Sir! my father has been reading your columns in “Jang Karachi” for so long. He also recommended me to go through your articles which I did. I am doing Biotechnology from the University of Sindh and pursuing my final year right now and without wasting any time I want to get enrolled to MPhil.

I want two suggestions from you; which institute you’ll recommend me for MPhil in Karachi or within Pakistan?

I want to go abroad for MPhil or internship or fellowship programme. My CGPA is 3.5. Kindly suggest me how can I get Fulbright scholarship? Thanks in advance for your time and attention. (Zohra Haq, Sindh)

A: Once you complete your bachelors you should explore the options that are available to you within biotechnology. I am sure the University of Karachi has a very reputable and strong department or perhaps you would like to remain in the University of Sindh or look at the University of Agriculture Sciences in Tando Jan. I would suggest you complete your MPhil and based on your research in MPhil look up for funding to do your PhD in biotechnology and the countries that have great opportunities are Germany, USA and Australia. The recent agreement between Pakistan and USA under the Pakistan-US knowledge corridor will help you to apply and get a PhD scholarship with ease if you have a GPA of 3.5 or above. I hope the above information will help you to choose a right path.

(Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi is a renowned educationist in Pakistan, with more than 20 years of experience as provider of education counselling services. He has represented Pakistan in over 100 national and international seminars, conferences and fora. He is a recipient of the most coveted civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz).


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