How to Plot Your Career
How to Plot Your Career
By now, you might have a really good idea about what job you want to do when you leave education. However, not all of us find it that easy to decide what we want to do ‘forever’! We’re here to tell you that’s OK. Some people make it many more years into the future without fully knowing what they want to do.
There are so many different jobs out there, so how do you choose? One way is to look at the different careers and pick the job that sounds the most interesting. You could use a really simple tool like the National Careers Service’s career explorer to explore what’s out there:
Another way, is to look at what you might want to study and choose a career based on that. If you’re more like the second person, and wanted to go to university, how about using prospects.ac.uk’s useful ‘what can I do with my degree?’ section to see where the course you love might lead?
Or, you might be somebody who has absolutely no idea but knows what you’re good at. This is actually a great way to plan for a career. This approach allows you to focus on developing your skills but relies on you being open to taking those opportunities as they come your way. Struggling to think what your skills are? Here is a really useful tool from careersmart that can help:
Whichever type of person you are, there is always support out there to help you decide your next steps. Check out the ‘further information’ page in this section to find more links to organisations that can help.
Understanding the labour market
The labour market is essentially all the different jobs people do, both here and across the rest of the world. It looks at jobs now, in the past and what might exist in the future. So it provides all kinds of useful information for planning your career.
Knowing what job you want to do if often only half of the battle. To get the best possible start in your career and make sure it is something you could do for many years to come, you need
to understand the labour market.
It can be a daunting prospect looking at some of this data, especially when it can potentially affect your future.
There are, thankfully, lots of websites that help break this information down into more useful and interesting sections. Here is what you should be looking for:
Will there be jobs in the future?
Knowing if this job might exist in the future is really important. Do you want to start on a long career path (for example, the 7 years it takes to become an architect) if there might not be a job there when you finish?
Do people usually work full or part-time?
This is important to know for a similar reason. Will you be able to work full time when you qualify? That would affect how much you could earn.
What is the gender split?
It is important not to be put off by historical gender bias in jobs. Many employers are striving for equality and you could help be a part of this change!
What is the average pay?
Another important one, how much will you get paid? If you have planned for a specific lifestyle, you need to know your chosen pathway will help you achieve it. We know not every career choice revolves around money but it is an important factor when choosing a career path.
When searching for a job, you will come across a variety of methods used by employers to learn more about you. This could be application forms, aptitude tests, or simply requesting a CV – some employers may even ask for all of these. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for all of these eventualities is to have a CV template prepared before you start your job searching process.
A CV is a written document which helps employers to choose the best potential candidates for the job they are advertising by providing them with a variety of information about each individual. This usually includes your personal details, a personal profile (including who you are and what you’re looking for), educational history, work experience, skills, achievements, references (usually available on request), and sometimes also a short paragraph about your personal interests that may be relevant to the job you are applying for. It is important to remember that your CV should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for, particularly if you are applying for a range of careers that are unrelated.
There are a wide range of resources available online to help you create your CV template. Use the links below to find out more information of what to include on your CV and how to present it. You can also contact your current institutes’ careers team to help you with your CV.
There are several different types of interview; one to one, telephone / Skype, group interviews, assessment days and technical interviews. Each one style of interview will have a slightly different approach but they do still have a lot in common.
One to One Interview
This is the ‘classic’ interview style. You, the employer and approximately 30 – 60 minutes for you to try and impress.
A lot of employers will now call you for a 15-30 minute interview before they invite you in to meet face to face. This is your chance to showcase your knowledge of the role, company and show you can think on your feet.
Some bigger employers might want to conduct their initial interviews via Skype. This happens a lot in the graduate recruitment process as some of the bigger employers might have their head office in another city or even another country!
This type of interview is slightly different as you will be asked to showcase to the employer your technical skills in a specific area. If you apply for a job in a practical role for example, you might be asked to show the employer you can actually do the job!
Group / Panel Interview
Possibly the most daunting of the interview styles, the panel interview. Imagine walking in to a room with 3 or more people staring at you, each of them asking questions! Some panel interviews also have presentations as part of the process, depending on what kind of job you have applied for.
These types of interviews usually last a full day, are made up of lots of different tasks (some on your own, some in teams) and usually finish with either a one to one or panel interview. The days are designed to get the best out of you and the interviewers will assess everything you do throughout the day.
This is a popular way for companies to employ graduates on to graduate schemes but some public services, such as the Police, do something similar as part of their recruitment.
Developing your skills
There are several useful websites and videos to help prepare you for interviews.
Here are some recommendations:
So you have created your CV, and you have gained some work experience – now you want to find a job that suits you! The world of work can sometimes seem a little daunting, particularly when you may not know where to look.
There are a variety of ways you can find jobs, including job search engines (such as Indeed, Monster, Total Jobs, Reed, Jobsite, Prospects). You can also visit the National Careers Service website to gain access to Job Profiles, Job Matching, Courses to help you in your career, advisers, and generic advice.
Visit the links below to gain access to even more job searching advice:
Here is a selection of useful websites where you can find further information about all things careers.
National Careers Service
Lots of resources about what you might expect to do in a job, how to write a CV, interview techniques and the skills health check that helps you explore what you are good at and what jobs you are most suited to. The national helpline and webchat function on the website are open to anybody from the age of 13 upwards. Our students are encouraged to take ownership of their own career goals
Excellent source of information about job pathways once you finish a degree
Another excellent resource for labour market information. You can also use the skills audit to identify your areas for development
Ever wondered why you do things a certain way? Or why you are better at some things but not others? This personality test (based on the Myers-Briggs personality profiles explores your personality and explains what your main strengths are and what areas you might need to develop
Take this fun quiz to find out what animal you are – it will also tell you what jobs fit your personality and skills