For all students, there comes a time when next step planning happens. In this blog we look at why considering your choices and making decisions need not be put off till the last minute…
Looking at career ideas comes easy to some – from day one of study they will plan for the day they leave ARU to start the next leg of their career journey. But for many of us, it is easier to settle in to the next 3 years (or less) thinking we have ‘ages to go’ before looking at what happens after study.
Some of you may feel you are not ready to make plans and are uneasy making career decisions, while others might be unsure what they can (or want to) do next and find themselves going back and forth with ideas. Whatever the reasons for holding back, sometimes talking to career support professionals can help put your thoughts into perspective and give you a starting point for moving forward.
So, here are a few tips on how to make life easy on yourself by preparing early for the day after hand-in.
A degree can take you far and wide – just look around - there are history graduates working in finance, media graduates with jobs in marketing, psychology graduates employed in sales account management… All will be using the fundamental skills gained from degree study (critical thinking, problem solving, teamworking, project management etc.) and have either found something they really want to do or are trying out different jobs and industries to see what suits best.
Take a broad approach. Your first ideas may be very feasible and do-able but if, for example, you are considering an industry that is not currently flourishing, then look sideways at those more buoyant and with more job opportunities. In that way, you will still be developing yourself in terms of skills and experience. You may even find you enjoy this move and will stay put. Or you could move into your first choice when the time is right.
Consider what might make you happy
We can often be anxious or put pressure on ourselves to find the ‘perfect job’, especially after the time, effort and money that has been dedicated to study. Surely that’s got to pay off we say. But what is the perfect job? Is it out there waiting for you or do you need to design it for yourself? Take a step back and ask yourself ‘what would make me happy, what am I interested in, what am I good at?’ That’s all you need to start a plan. Then just like any project, you start with that idea and plot the steps you need to take to make it happen. And you might also have a Plan B and C in your back pocket, formed from other ideas.
"There are multiple great lives (and plans) within me and I get to choose which one to build my way forward to the next."
Designing Your Life (Burnett & Evans)
There are career assessments to get you started and these look at influences on your career choice, for example, is work/life balance essential to you? Would you like to work largely on your own or as part of a team? Factors like these are important to consider as they relate to your preferred lifestyle and work environment. You might find it useful to talk through an action plan with an Employability & Careers Adviser (email@example.com).
Work experience will help
Paid part-time work and/or volunteering in an area relevant to your potential career choice will give insight into that field, boost your confidence and improve knowledge – maybe enough to decide if this would be a good job fit for you. It may also lead to work opportunities after graduation. Whereas work experience was in many cases thin on the ground in recent times - more are now opening up. Careers Fairs and events such as employer webinars will help with finding out more about particular jobs or career pathways. Summer internships can be really useful for answering your workplace questions. ARU Temps, Jobs Board and ARU Student Volunteering are great places to start your search.
What’s next for you after ARU? As always, The Career Centre has many resources available to help with planning your next steps as well as individual appointments to explore ideas.
Kim Holbrook, Employability & Careers Adviser
Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.