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Fun, prospects or money: what are you looking for?

What motivates you? Here are some ideas for careers that might satisfy your aspirations, whether you want to help people, travel, earn a big salary right from the start or create a lasting legacy.

Even if you haven’t decided exactly what you want to do, you probably have a pretty good idea what you want to get out of it. To help you focus your graduate job hunt, we’ve identified a series of career wishes and suggested career choices that might fulfil them. As you look through, remember that graduate schemes with big employers are typically designed to offer you the chance to try out placements in different areas of the business to see what suits you, and first jobs with smaller employers are also likely to give you a chance to experience a range of specialisms and find out what you enjoy most.

‘I want to earn a really good salary.’

Law, investment banking, and banking and financial services employers typically offer particularly generous graduate starting salaries, with most City law firms offering first year trainees up to around £43,000. Find out more from our advice on the graduate careers that offer the highest starting pay.

‘I want to be creative.’

The creative industries include areas such as architecture and IT as well as design (including fashion and product design), publishing, advertising, and jobs in museums, galleries and libraries.

‘I want to help people.’

If you’re looking for a profession that involves caring for people, responding to their needs or nurturing them, here are some careers that might appeal.

‘I want to do something sociable.’

Hate the idea of being stuck behind a desk all the time? There are plenty of careers that offer the chance to get out and meet people and use your social skills in a professional context. Managing relationships with clients and making new contacts is an essential aspect of graduate roles in many different fields, including consulting, IT, investment banking, financial services and law. Also, many graduate employers pride themselves on offering a range of social activities outside of work and will welcome your contribution – check out our TARGETjobs Inside Buzz reviews for the inside track on what working life with top employers is really like.

‘I want to work on the cutting edge.’

Is the chance to innovate high on your job satisfaction wishlist? Here are three careers that offer what you’re looking for.

‘I want to make and build things.’

In some professions your work will have a tangible physical impact and could leave a lasting legacy, whether it’s a new housing development, an iconic landmark or essential infrastructure.

‘I want to travel.’

Many graduate schemes offer the chance of an overseas placement, although it may not be down to you to decide where you go.

  • Hotel management, travel and tourism careers offer plenty of opportunities for graduates who are keen to work overseas, with graduate schemes on offer with some international employers. Here’s how to get a job in hospitality, leisure and tourism. Consultancy, finance and the oil and gas industry are also attractive career choices for graduates who want to spend time abroad.
  • TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a popular way of finding work abroad, though you’re likely to need a suitable qualification first. The term TEFL is sometimes used almost interchangeably with TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). Our TEFL/TESL teacher job description explains what’s involved.
  • Working abroad. Our in-depth country guides to finding work experience and graduate jobs abroad are packed with advice on where to find vacancies, how to apply and what to expect from working life.
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