Planning Your Career. A Quick Guide. Careers & Employability. Student Services

Planning Your Career A Quick Guide Careers & Employability Student Services 2 Planning Your Career An introduction to career planning There are m...
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Planning Your Career

A Quick Guide Careers & Employability

Student Services


Planning Your Career An introduction to career planning There are many myths about how people choose their career which can be unhelpful and restrict your thinking. There are likely to be many jobs that could interest you and suit your skills so we have produced this booklet to help you identify what those jobs might be.

The 5 stages of career planning The 5 stages of career planning are: ANY QUERIES? call:

01905 855 166 email: [email protected]

1. Researching who you are 2. Researching the opportunities available 3. Making your decision 4. Preparing for your next step 5. Applying for your chosen roles On the following pages, we describe each stage in more detail. careers

1. Researching who you are Here are some tips about finding out more about yourself, and what you might enjoy doing.

Start with what you already know about yourself Even if you have no idea what you want to do in the future, you will have some idea of what you enjoy doing….and what you don’t! Work through the following sections and reflect upon what you have done and what you have achieved in your life.

• Think about your SKILLS: What are you particularly good at? What have you been

praised for? What do you find it easiest to do? Some examples of skills that are particularly relevant to work include: Communication; Management; Problem Solving; Team Work.

• Think about your ATTRIBUTES: What aspects of your personality would be of • particular interest to an employer? Here are some examples: Reliable; Analytical; Friendly; Resourceful; Articulate.

• Think about your VALUES: What is important to you? Some examples of values are: Independence; Risk-Taking; Competition; Fairness.

• Think about your INTERESTS: What do you enjoy doing? Think about the subjects

you have studied, and any work or volunteering you’ve been involved in: what have you enjoyed the most?

If you’d like some help with reflecting on your skills, attributes, values and interests we suggest you visit the websites listed below as they contain various exercises and tools: a) Windmills Windmills Online contains many different exercises that you can complete to help you to learn about yourself and to plan your next steps. You can just dip into the ones that interest you, or work your way through them all. b) Mindtools The Career Skills section contains techniques to help you reflect on who you are and what you want from a career. It includes things that will help you to understand your strengths and to consider your career direction. You can also learn how to undertake a personal S.W.O.T. Analysis to review your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

c) Prospects One way of identifying the skills you’ve gained whilst studying for your degree is to visit the Prospects website and look at the ‘Options With Your Subject’ section: http://www. Click on your degree subject (if it’s shown) and look at the sub-heading entitled ‘Skills For Your CV’. d) Usemyability This resource can help you understand your skills and, if you have a disability, will help you to see how (if at all) this could impact on areas of work and specific employability skills.


4 Get feedback from people who know you

People who know you can help you to learn a lot about yourself - they will be able to tell you:

• • • “Ask yourself what specific achievements you are proudest of, and what elements of everyday work bring you the greatest satisfaction. Many people find it difficult to examine themselves in this way so ask friends and family to remind you of tasks you’ve talked about with enthusiasm.” (The Guardian)

what they think you’re good at, and not so good at what skills they have seen you use what talents you have shown

Career Planners Two popular online career planners are listed below - they will help you to think about jobs that match your skills and interests: a) Profiling for Success Careers Inventory Examines your interests, competencies & work style preferences to help you explore careers that might suit you. If we get the new secure page set up soon then I will give you the new link to use rather than the above. b) Prospects Career Planner You’ll be asked some questions about what you want from a job and your responses will then be compared with what professionals, in more than 400 types of job, say their jobs involve. c) TARGETjobs Careers Report You’ll work through some simple, interactive questionnaires that assess your career strengths, personality and abilities.

2. Researching the opportunities available Whether you have some idea of what jobs interest you – or have no idea at all – it is always sensible to do some research. You will only know which jobs you might find the most interesting and rewarding if you better understand what jobs actually exist and what people in them actually do. It’s easy to assume you know what certain jobs involve, so make sure you have gathered as much information as you can before considering, or ruling out, a particular role. There are many useful websites that you can use, some of which are aimed at university students. Look at the job profiles on these sites and expand your knowledge about the wide range of jobs that exist! Some websites that we think you’ll find useful are: careers

• • • • •

Career Player: National Careers Service: Prospects: TARGETjobs: The Guardian:

In the following paragraphs, we list other websites and information sources that will aid your research.

Understanding career sectors The following guides contain information on companies and the jobs they offer, helping you to make better career choices and improve your chances of success during the recruitment process. a) Inside Careers Offers free specialist careers guides: Actuaries; Banking & Investments; Chartered Accountancy; IT; Insurance & Pensions; Management Consultancy; Tax & Patent Attorneys. b) Prospects Industry Sectors Covers 21 sectors including: Business, Consulting & Management; Health & Social Care; Marketing, Advertising & PR; Teaching & Education.

“There are a number of things that students can do to make themselves attractive to employers. Gaining as much exposure to the workplace and practising professionals as possible is key...” (The Independent)

c) TARGETjobs Career Sectors Gives advice on gaining entry to graduate careers, including: Applications and Interviews; Graduate Jobs, Schemes and Work Experience Opportunities; Training and Development.

Graduate employer information: directories & websites a) The Guardian Top 300 This directory lists the 300 most popular UK employers, and the most popular employers within major graduate career sectors. b) Times Top 100 A directory compiled from interviews with 18,336 graduates who left a UK university in 2014 who were asked “Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?” The following websites contain anonymous reviews submitted by staff working at specific companies. Their inside perspective can give clues to what it’s really like to work there!

• TARGETjobs Employer Insights: • TARGETjobs Inside Buzz: • The Job Crowd:



Graduate employer information: networking

“You will increase your chances of finding employment if you are willing to be flexible. Many big graduate recruiters have offices across the UK, and vacancies are more likely to be oversubscribed in the big cities...You should also consider applying to smaller businesses.” (TARGETJobs)

Use your networking skills to gather information on graduate jobs by: • attending employer presentations on campus, as well as at local/ national careers fairs. These usually take place during the autumn and spring terms • seeking work experience/ work placements/ work shadowing opportunities • asking your network of contacts (family, friends, students, lecturers and other people you know) to see if they know anyone doing that particular job, and who they could arrange for you to speak with Use LinkedIn ( to view the profiles of people who are already doing the job(s) you’re interested in: • what do they say their role involves? • what experience and qualifications did they have before starting that job? • what qualifications have they gained whilst doing that job?

Graduate employer information: other sources National Guidance Research Forum This site, maintained by The Warwick Institute for Employment Research, contains labour market information (LMI) which will help you to identify the number of jobs available in your chosen sector(s) and geographical trends. You can also gather LMI by reading specialist publications for any sectors that interest you: Professional associations: some of the professional associations connected to specific degree subjects have a careers section on their website which give useful careers tips and links to further sources of advice. You can find a list of many of these organisations at:

Where have people gone after my degree course? University of Worcester graduate destinations: you can find out where people completing your course in previous years have gone by visiting: http://www. It lists their job titles, employers and postgraduate study destinations. National graduate data: you can also find information on the destinations of graduates from across the UK by looking at:

• • careers

‘What Do Graduates Do?’, available from: current_projects_what_do_graduates_do.htm the ‘What Can I Do With My Degree?’ section of the Prospects website:

3. Making your decision Some people make decisions by doing lots of research, carefully weighing up the pros and cons of a situation and considering various options. Others act on their ‘gut reaction’, or jump in with both feet. It helps to be aware of the way in which you tend to make decisions, and how this could affect you. Take the decision making quiz on the Mindtools website: http:// to find out more about your decision making style! However you approach your career decisions, review and assess your situation regularly in the light of what you have learned and experienced. There are many paths in most career areas, so be open to new possibilities!

4. Preparing for your next step You may have reached a decision about your next step, but even if you haven’t it is still a good idea to make yourself as employable as possible before you leave university. You can do this by developing your employability skills as well as by working hard during your studies.

Creating and reviewing your ‘personal employability plan’ The Student Employability Planner, at the end of this booklet, recommends some things that you can do to make yourself more employable whatever your year of study.

“Entry level roles in so-called desirable industries – such as journalism or publishing– can be as hard and dull as in any other sector. Other industries, or less well-known companies, can provide just as much job satisfaction. The more you understand your own criteria for job enjoyment or career success, the less likely you’ll narrow your choices through discounting entire sectors.” (The Guardian)

Read it and tick the boxes, on the right hand side, to remind yourself which steps are appropriate for you - you could also give yourself a deadline by noting when you want to have completed that activity/ step by. That will help you to keep your ‘personal employability plan’ on track! Schedule in a regular review of your ‘personal employability plan’ and the targets/ dates: at various points you may want to add in some new activities or change direction. It’s always a good idea to keep your mind open to new ideas and opportunities! If you’re not sure what to do with all this information, book an appointment to see a member of the Careers team: you can do this via worcester or via your SOLE page. They will help you to identify the key points and will give you some guidance to help you make good use of your research.



5. Applying for your chosen roles The university’s Careers & Employability team has developed a range of booklets to help you when you are applying for jobs. They are available in the Careers & Employability section of firstpoint, and online at The booklets include:

• • • • • •

A Quick Guide to Assessment Centres A Quick Guide to CVs, Applications & Letters A Quick Guide to Earn as You Learn: Finding Part-Time Work A Quick Guide to Finding a Graduate Job A Quick Guide to Further Study A Quick Guide to Interviews

Want to talk to someone?

Book an appointment to speak with one of our Careers & Employability team - they will ask you questions, and will help you to think through your various options. Just be aware that they’re unlikely to be able to guess which job you should do, so that decision has to be made by you! You can book an appointment here: careers

Student Employability Planner

Here’s some advice on how you can develop your employability skills and knowledge whilst studying at the University of Worcester.

In Your 1St And 2Nd Years Of Study Things you can do……

Notes (or tick to show if completed)

• Think about your skills and interests, and start to explore the career options open to you - http:// is a really useful website:

- start by completing the Prospects Planner - explore the Job Sectors that interest you - read through the Options With Your Subject section that is relevant to your course

• Start to create your career plan, and talk this over with a Careers Adviser

• Use ‘CVs, Letters & Application Forms – A Quick

Guide’ to help you construct a CV that highlights your skills and work experience.

• Get involved: volunteer, work part-time and/ or play an active role in a student society.

• Take part in the Worcester Award. • Regularly update your CV. • Plan early if you want to find a work placement for the third year of your course (if going on a 1-year placement) or during your holidays

• Attend careers workshops, career fairs and employer talks.

At The End Of Your Penultimate Year Of Study Things you can do……

Notes (or tick to show if completed)

• Narrow down your options and develop a

shortlist of careers that interest you. • Talk to a member of the Careers & Employability team to help you make a decision • If you’re going to be applying for a postgraduate course, use the summer break to start drafting your application and make sure you’ve made an informed choice.


10 In Your Final Year Of Study Things you can do……

Notes (or tick to show if completed)

• Check closing dates for any graduate schemes

that interest you – some of the schemes starting in Summer/ Autumn after you graduate will have closing dates early in your final year of study.

• Apply early for postgraduate courses. • Attend the Graduate Recruitment Fair at the LG Arena.

• Look through online employer directories to

identify companies that interest you. If they don’t offer a graduate scheme, send them your CV and a speculative letter (see ‘CVs, Letters and Application Forms – A Quick Guide’ for advice).

• Continue to attend careers workshops, career fairs and employer talks.

• Prepare for interviews and assessment centres:

see ‘Interviews - A Quick Guide’ and ‘Assessment Centres – A Quick Guide’ for some useful advice. You can also have a mock interview with one of the Careers team.

Once You’ve Graduated If you’re not in your dream job, remember that it often takes graduates a few years to get where they want to be. Things you can do……

• Gaining work experience will help you

to demonstrate that you have a range of employability skills. It will also give you the chance to talk about various scenarios, and specifically what you did, when completing application forms and attending interviews.

• Consider applying for internships/ graduate

placements – they will help you to gain work experience if you haven’t found a job yet.

• Seek support from the University of Worcester’s Careers & Employability team – remember you can continue to use their services for up to 3 years after you graduate.

• The Careers & Employability team will contact careers

you 6 months after you graduate to seek feedback on what you’re doing and how well the University prepared you for work or further study. Please complete the questionnaire they send you as the information you provide will help the University to plan its future support.

Notes (or tick to show if completed)



If you have a question that isn’t covered by this booklet, or would like to talk through your ideas with a member of the Careers team, sign up for a careers appointment at, or via your SOLE page, on the day that you’d like to be seen.

University of Worcester Henwick Grove Worcester WR2 6AJ tel: 01905 855166 email: [email protected] @worc_unicareers