Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects, November 2011
Career planning can help you maximise your chances of securing one of the many opportunities out there. Even if the job you want is not advertised (or you don’t even know what it is yet), a career plan is the most useful way to determine what you are after and to go about securing it.
The first stage in any career plan is to increase your self-awareness. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes, will help you narrow down the type of work you might enjoy. By using a career planning tool like what jobs would suit me? you can discover what motivates you and identify the skills you have to offer employers. Psychometric tests and personality questionnaires are another useful way of building up a personal profile and identifying your interests and working style.
Once you have built up a more detailed picture of yourself, the next stage is to see how this relates to the career opportunities out there. You might start by looking at the range of options with your subject. You can also take a look at job sectors to find out more about the job market and careers on offer in different industries.
When you have narrowed down your options, work experience in your chosen sector is a useful way to determine if this is the career for you. This is also the time to find out about postgraduate study in the UK and any further qualifications which may be required. If you are still uncertain, some structured time out or a gap year might offer the extra time you need to develop your plan.
Armed with a sound understanding of yourself and the job market, it’s time to put your plan into action. Your university careers services can help you develop the skills that will make you stand out, such as writing targeted CVs and application forms and preparing for interviews.
When you are ready to apply, take a look at our job hunting tips and graduate job search to identify suitable opportunities and take the first step towards your career. If you have decided further study is for you, this is also the time to search courses and research.
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