How to choose a career in the professions

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Professions Week is an initiative which aims to increase awareness of career opportunities in the professions. AAT career coach, Aimee Bateman, offers her guide to some of the career options on offer, and what you need to do to succeed in each of them.

Accountancy and finance

I have a huge number of friends and family who work within accountancy and finance, and as a recruiter I’ve helped hundreds of people kick-start their career within this profession.

Obviously this is a numbers game, so you’ll need to be good at Maths. Are you studying Economics? Do you have a passion for problem-solving and analytical work?  Do you often have a desire to investigate a discrepancy and dig deep until the problem has been solved? If yes, then this could be a great career for you.

You may also be studying business studies at school or college, but enjoy the accountancy modules more than the creative elements such as marketing and HR.

Are you a project type of person? Do you enjoy starting something and seeing it through to the end? This is another crucial part of a finance and accounting role, and if this is something you particularly enjoy it may be the career for you.

Finally, one thing that often goes unmentioned regarding this profession is the need for people who are naturally inquisitive. By that I mean people who are always looking for simpler, more efficient ways to do things, whether it be buying supplies, cutting costs or saving time. This career isn’t always about counting money; it is often about saving it too.

Human resources

Working in human resources can be a very rewarding career. Understanding that a company or organisation is only as good as its people is fundamental to everything you do on a daily basis.

Excellent communication skills are one of the most important requirements for any HR professional. This skillset will be required across a range of functions, from recruiting and managing staff to advising management on matters relating to employment law and planning all future personnel needs.

A confident and assertive manner is vital, while the most successful HR professionals also tend to have an approachable and compassionate nature. Can you combine these quite different aspects of interacting with people?

Young people who enjoy leading teams often do well within HR. If you find it rewarding to build good working relationships with people and identify and develop the potential in others, this could be a great option for you.

Subjects that would benefit your progression in this career path might focus on people and behaviours; think Psychology, Sociology and Business Studies. I know many HR professionals who also believe any sports-orientated subjects also develop people’s listening skills as well as team-working and leadership qualities: all of these are beneficial within the HR profession.


Written and verbal communication skills are essential for a successful legal career. In fact, I would say this is non-negotiable.

Language is the most important working tool used by a legal professional, regardless of what area of law you go into. You’ll be required to negotiate or write contracts, talk to a witness or a jury in court, and regularly read and understand lengthy legal documents. Due to the importance of this, people who thrive in subjects that focus on vocabulary, grammar and the structure of language often do well in this career.

If you want to follow this career path, take my advice: get some work experience, whether it’s a day here or there, or an internship, and do this as soon as possible. The legal profession is an industry that values commitment, hard work and initiative, so building your network is essential.


Firstly, what and who do you want to teach? If you aspire to be a teacher of young people from the age of 11 years old, then it’s important you enjoy your chosen subject. If you want to teach younger children then a sound understanding of all subjects is needed.

To teach a subject that you excel in, and more importantly enjoy, is a wonderful way to spend your career. If you have a passion for helping others and seeing them develop, teaching could be a great career for you. Good GCSE grades in English, Maths and Science are essential.

It is important to mention that just because you are good at a subject, doesn’t necessarily mean you should teach it. Motivating and teaching people to learn is an exciting but challenging job.

You’ll be expected to be constantly learning, to stay at the top of your game, so you can always pass on the most current information. If you don’t enjoy studying and learning then this isn’t the career for you.


Management careers can be very rewarding and there are a huge number of elements to this area. You need to be organised and confident in your own ability. You need to be comfortable having direct conversations and enjoy taking control of situations.

Subjects that help you understand people are always a benefit, so Psychology, English, History and Sociology are great for this. Problem-solving and project management skills are essential, and you might have started to develop these in subjects such as maths and science.

All these skills are excellent, but you also need to have a commercial awareness to identify why all these things can benefit a business as a whole, so maybe you also enjoy business studies or have a budding sense of entrepreneurship.

My final advice for a successful career

I want to close this article on my two strongest underlying beliefs, which are:

  • You live the life you make, not the life you are given. If for any reason you have not had the opportunity to study a subject mentioned above it is not ‘game over’. You can still create a wonderful career in an industry, and it is never too late to chase that dream.
  •  Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. This is something you should remember throughout your entire professional career. If you enjoy it, then success will come.

More information and advice can be found on the Professions Week official website.

Watch Aimee’s AAT career coach videos

Visit Aimee’s website,

Aimee Bateman is a corporate recruiter turned careers champion and founder of

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