March 11, 2019, by Katy Johnson
Halfway Through Your Postgraduate Degree? What Next?
By Chris Jones, Senior Careers Adviser
For those of you studying a one-year postgraduate degree – congratulations, you’ve made it to the halfway point! Doesn’t time fly? The halfway stage could be a good time to take stock, reflect on your progress so far and start to think about what comes next.
Here are some questions you could ask yourself:
1. What new skills and knowledge am I learning?
Hopefully, you’ve managed the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate education and feel you are learning and developing new skills at a higher level. It can be useful to reflect on what these are and how you could articulate them to a future employer. For example;
- Have you improved your independent research and critical thinking abilities?
- Your technical problem-solving skills?
- Your confidence and interpersonal skills?
- Writing and communication ability?
- Are you gaining a deeper, more specialist insight into your area of study that could be applied in future employment or further study?
The ability to reflect on yourself and your learning is an important attribute. This can help you identify areas of strength as well as areas that you may need or want to develop further.
2. Have I started to think about what’s next?
It might only seem 5 minutes since you started, but have you got a plan for what happens next after your postgraduate degree? For some, your degree will be leading you towards a specific career or helping you develop your career further. If this is the case, do you know what you need to do and when in order to identify and apply for suitable opportunities?
For others, you may not yet have a specific career goal in mind; so now could be the time to start reflecting on your skills, interests, and experience. To begin researching options to start to formulate a plan for your next steps. In either case, don’t forget about the range of advice and information on our website as well as the opportunity to get in touch with one of our advisers.
3. What could I do to benefit the second half of my degree?
Here are some ideas about what you could think about doing alongside your studies to make the next 6 months count:
- Enroll on the On Course for Your Masters NOOC. This is an online learning module which contains units to help you develop your academic skills including search, critical appraisal, referencing etc. It could be helpful for tackling that dissertation or project! As well as this a careers focused unit helping you think about and research your next steps including employment and further study.
- Gain experience to complement your qualifications and add to your employability. Have a look at opportunities available through schemes such as Postgraduate Placements Nottingham or the Nottingham Internship Scheme. Find some part-time/temporary work through Unitemps. Get out there and be proactive about asking for work experience or shadowing.
- Do some career research or networking. Whatever stage you are at in your career planning, doing a bit of research and speaking to people can be a great way to fire up some inspiration. Give you ideas about opportunities, or create useful contacts for the future. Have a look at our choosing your career and networking pages for more ideas.
For more advice on how to prepare for the next step after your postgraduate study, book onto a careers appointment with one of our advisers. They can support you in finding work experience for the rest of your study and after graduation.