Developing a career plan

Whether you decided to study your subject with a specific career in mind, or you want to explore the different potential routes that your degree could take you, we are here to help you. Employers will be keen to find out about the range of skills you have developed while studying, and there are four important factors that can help you plan and develop your career effectively.

Don't worry if you're not sure what you want to do with your degree - you’re not alone. Some subjects are clearly vocational, but in the UK, over 60 per cent of graduates get jobs in which it doesn't matter what subject they studied. Employers often simply look for the range of skills you developed through studying.

Self-awareness

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

Being conscious of your strengths and weaknesses, your preferences, values and talents will really help you plan a career.

You can use the following external resources to help you:

Opportunity awareness

You also need to know what’s out there - the different industries and sectors you could work in, the latest labour market trends, or roles you think might interest you.

Prospects is a graduate careers website. It can help you explore:

Decision making

Create an action plan

Once you know who you are and what you want, you have some decisions to make. You can develop an action plan by answering questions such as:

  • Have you got all the skills and experience you need for your chosen career?
  • Do you have any gaps to fill?
  • Do you need to look into further study or training?
  • When should you be applying for opportunities?

You can prepare an action plan in any format that works for you. The main thing is to identify short and long term goals, and what you need to do to achieve them. Set yourself deadlines to keep yourself on track, and make your goals SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timetabled.

Transition learning

Match yourself to opportunities

Transition learning is all about applying everything you’ve done to come up with a plan. A successful plan will allow you to stand out from the crowd and present well during the selection process.

Get ideas and inspiration

  • AllAboutCareers - career exploration, jobs and advice
  • Graduate Success - students from universities across the country share their stories of their transition into employment.
  • Graduate-Jobs - research job descriptions to understand what that job entails, what the essential skills are and the typical salaries.
  • Prospects - view a comprehensive degree subject list to find out which career paths are directly related to what you studied. 

Meet a Careers Advisor

Our professional and friendly Careers Advisers are here to help you figure out a plan for your career. Maybe you know what you want to do and need to talk about how to get there? Perhaps you simply don’t have a clue what might suit you? If you’re after an understanding ear and expert advice, email us at askthehub@essex.ac.uk.

Contact us
Contact us
Careers Services Student Development Team