choosing a career

October 1, 2018, by Carla Froggatt

Four Steps to Help You Figure Out What You Want to Do After Uni

By Lorna Airey, Employability Officer

If you’re not sure what you want to do as a career, you’re not alone. It can seem an overwhelming task to figure out what you want to be doing once you graduate. But, if you break it down into smaller, more manageable steps then it doesn’t need to be as daunting. You don’t necessarily need to make a decision about the next 40 years, it’s mostly about finding that next step that will suit you.  

Here are four steps to help you figure it out:

Step One. Reflect

Think about what makes you tick: what are your interests, skills, and talents? What don’t you enjoy? This is often just as useful when it comes to making a decision. Once you understand your strengths and preferences, you can begin looking for roles that will best suit you. Here are some practical tools to get you started:

  • Profiling for Success will help you identify your preferred learning styles, personality traits, career interests and values
  • Career Planner provides suggestions for jobs you may be suited to, based on your skills, interests and motivations
  • Job Match asks you about which job groupings or families appeal to you, and from there helps you explore job roles within that sector
  • Our degree specific pages will help you identify transferable skills you’ve gained during your degree, as well as show you what graduates from your course have gone on to do

Still not sure what you want to do? Talk to us. We are here to listen and advise – while you’re at university and after you graduate. It can be helpful if you’ve already completed some of the online questionnaires we’ve just mentioned, but it’s not compulsory.

Step two. Research

Once you have an idea of the kind of roles and industries you might be suited to, it’s time to do some research. And we have some useful resources to help:

Step three. Try it out

Once you have an idea about a role or industry, it can be helpful to get some work experience in that sector. It will give you an idea of what you do and don’t like, and can save time in the long run if you decide an industry isn’t for you after all. Here are some ideas: 

  • Find internship and placement opportunities: from summer and vacation internships to industrial placements, work shadowing, insight days and spring weeks, there are so many ways of getting experience within a business
  • The Nottingham Internship Scheme provides a range of work experience opportunities throughout the year, exclusively for Nottingham students and graduates
  • Postgraduate placements are designed to fit in with your studies, give you the opportunity to learn transferable skills and enhance your employment prospects
  • Optional placement year: If your course does not have a compulsory placement or study abroad element, you can opt to take a placement at the end of your penultimate year of study
  • Volunteering is a lovely way to gain work experience while giving back to the community
  • Part-time and vacation work enables you to earn money while studying and get an insight into different jobs 

Step four. Reflect again

As you gain experience, reflect on what you’ve learned. What did you enjoy? What do you never want to spend your time doing again?! Keep a note of your achievements. It can be really helpful to look back on when you’re making career decisions later on.  

Posted in Choosing Your Career