November 11, 2019, by Leah Sharpe

‘Oh You’ve Just Started University? What Do You Want To Do When You Graduate?’

By Jennifer Balloch, Employability Officer

Picture this. You’re in your first year and you’re already getting questions about what you want to do when you graduate. How do you respond? Have you thought about it? Should you be thinking about it this early? Is anyone else thinking about what they want to do? Enter, the Careers and Employability Service. 

Our job is to help you understand the type of role that is right for you. One that draws on your strengths, energises you and appeals to your values. We can help you develop skills that will enable you to be successful in the recruitment process and happy in your future career. This is a process, and like all processes, starting at the beginning is a very good place to start.

Begin with asking yourself some questions:

1. Why did you choose to study at the University of Nottingham?
2. What do you enjoy about your course?
3. What are you good at?
4. What are you not so good at?
5. What could you do all day and still have energy left?
6. How do you make decisions? Do you like to read a lot of information? Do you like to talk to people? Do you trust your instinct?
7. What are your hobbies? Why do you enjoy them?

By answering these questions, you will build a picture of your strengths and weaknesses and a level of understanding of what is important to you in a future career. Understanding what you’re good at and why you enjoy particular activities will help you think about what to look for in a career. For instance, if a hobby of yours is playing chess then think about why you like the game. Maybe you’re competitive, you like to plan ahead. Perhaps you’re logical, methodical and meticulous in how you approach a task. You may even be good at influencing and persuading people, working autonomously and have a sound judgement.

You can use this level of self-awareness in a number of ways. Firstly, to help you think about what skills you would like to utilise on a daily basis. Secondly, to refine job searches. Thirdly, to help you in the recruitment process. Being able to talk about the skills you have gained and why you’re good at something highlights to an employer that you have really taken the time to think about the role and company and why you’re a solid candidate.

Next, think about how you can use the resources around you to help you on your journey. There is a wealth of information on the Careers and Employability website about choosing your career to help you do some research. We also host a number of workshops, events and one-to-one appointments designed to be informative and interactive to help you on your career journey.

So to answer the, ‘What will you do when you graduate?’ question. Answer honestly. Explain that you may not know now, but you’re taking some time to figure out what you like and what you’re good at and you’re at the start of the process.

For further information on researching your career ideas, finding job vacancies, making effective applications, developing your skills and meeting employers, visit our website.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceChoosing Your Career