If you don't have a clear career path mapped out in front of you, how do you go about choosing the right role or sector? Do you pursue your passion at all costs (regardless of the state of the industry), or do you fall into a career by accident?
Standard career advice is to identify your marketable strengths, along with your interests and values. Ideally, you can then match these to companies that need your skills and where you'd enjoy working.
But when so many traditional graduate roles seem to require the same sets of skills and attributes, identifying sectors, companies or roles becomes more difficult. Here are other ways to approach your career decision-making.
Analyse market trends
Entire sectors are changing, jobs are disappearing, and skills are becoming obsolete. Stay ahead of recruitment patterns and get an overview of which sectors are healthy, and which are predicted to shrink through surveys like this. Find out where companies are expanding, and which skills are in demand. Resources such as the Future Work Skills report are also helpful in identifying wider employment trends.
For example, a shift towards specialist skills is currently underway. In "The end of a job as we know it" the author argues that the concept of a job is beginning to disappear, to be replaced by a need for expertise. Employers look for values, skills and fit, rather than experience. For job seekers, this means that your long-term value and employability will depend on how much need there is for your specialist skills. Staying relevant means assessing and adjusting these, either through deepening them, or by turning them in new directions. Without a particular area of expertise, you'll find it harder to get work.
Consider less obvious choices
Your degree doesn't necessarily lock you into one career. In an article for Guardian Careers Jane Artess, director of research at the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, points out that around six in 10 graduates are recruited to jobs where their degree subject "was not the deal-breaker".
Explore a range of sectors and companies. Ask for informational interviews or a chance to work shadow; and read resources such as 'A working life' or the Guardian Careers insider guides to find out what jobs typically involve and what employers look for in their employees.
Don't discount smaller or mid-size companies, which can often expose you to a wider range of roles and responsibilities than larger companies.
'Job hopping' isn't always a disadvantage - especially at the early stages of your career when you're still working out what you like or dislike in a job. Instead, consider all roles as an opportunity to deepen your skillset and expertise.
Take a more long-term view of your career, and don't feel obliged to commit your entire working life to one company or sector. Remember: what you want or need from a job will evolve, and you should review your needs and ambitions regularly.
Experiment with different types of employment. Don't turn down temporary work or short-term assignments that could give you an 'in' to a company, or the chance to work on an interesting project.