Making decisions about your future career can seem like an arduous and research-intensive process. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great ways to spend 10 minutes of your time that can ultimately help you to make the right choices.
Coffee break coming up? Then consider the following short sharp exercises:
One of our go-to resources can be a great way of broadening your knowledge of the options out there while, simultaneously, finding out more about the career areas that interest you. A few minutes on the Prospects Career Planner will help to match your skills and motivations to suitable roles and allow you to explore these further using their own database of detailed job profiles.
Are you a ‘logician’ or a ‘campaigner’? Answer 100 questions about yourself to find out which of the 16 personality types most closely matches to you, and which careers are likely to suit. The 16 personalities quiz works with the same basic fundamentals as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and, aside from the results, can be a useful exercise in self-reflection and awareness.
Sometime we can struggle to see the skills that we have and how they can be applied to the working world. The solution can be to ask those around us who know us well. So, pick up the phone to friends and family – ask them what strengths they think you can bring to an employer and what roles and industries they could see you working in. This approach may bring fresh ideas.
Time for a bit of blue-sky thinking. If anything was an option, write a list of the careers you think you would most enjoy. Then spend some time reflecting on what it is about them that is appealing to you. Which of them are realistically accessible to you? For those that aren’t, are there any related careers you can think of that draw on the same skills and activities?
Hannah, Careers Consultant
Congratulations to everyone receiving their exam results from QMUL; well done! Some of you might have faced the disappointment of just missing out on a 2.1, and are now left wondering what your future looks like with a 2.2. The first thing to remember is that a 2.1 isn’t a ticket straight into a dream job. Neither, on the other hand, is a 2.2 a life-long barrier to it. Getting a 2.2 might be a disappointment and it might mean having to re-think your options, but it doesn’t mean automatic exclusion from a fulfilling career.
You have options …
You may be surprised to discover that the vast majority of employers are flexible in the grades they require because they’re more concerned with your personality, skills and experience. Remember, academic grades are not everything and you can certainly compensate for them in other areas.
There will of course be several immediate options that aren’t open to you, but just from taking a quick look at this Target Jobs article, you’ll see there are a number of graduate schemes accepting 2.2 degrees. It could be that when you apply to these schemes, the rest
Exams are over! But you might be wondering … what next? Firstly, don’t panic! We’ve heard almost 50% of UK undergraduates enter their final year of study not knowing what they want to do next… so you are not alone!
We see lots of students at this time of year who don’t have a career in mind – remember you don’t need to have a plan to come and see us for a 1-2-1 appointment (see here).
To get you started in thinking about your options, we asked our Careers Consultants to share their top tips …
- Work experience is invaluable to help you work out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Only a minority of students will secure big name internships whilst studying, but working in any environment will help you learn about work cultures, organisations and working life. You might discover that you actually hate working in an office or that you definitely want to work as part of a team.
- If you know what you want to do for the next 40 years… fantastic & good luck! However you don’t need to have your whole life mapped out… all you need to decide is what you want to do next.
Careers Consultant Caroline tells us … “When I graduated, I joined a big business to work in Marketing, but realised quickly that actually what fascinated me were the relationships between brands & their consumers and that there was a different job in a different business that would allow me to work on that all day long – until I actually worked inside a business, I had no idea a) what really motivated me and b) that such a perfect job actually existed.”
With exams now over, it’s time to start making plans for the summer. Read on for advice from Careers Consultant Andrea on how to make the most of the next few months …
- Think carefully before applying for advertised work experience positions so you identify the best opportunities e.g. what’s your main motivator for getting work experience?
– Experience in a particular sector?
– A chance to develop a new skill?
– Getting an ‘in’ with a particular company?
– Broadening your network?
- If you know a specific small company you’d like to work with then think about a problem that they need solving and then think of a piece of work you could do for them which would help solve that problem and add value (e.g. competitor analysis, a specific social media marketing campaign, running an event). Approach them on LinkedIn and ask if you can meet for a coffee for 15 minutes to discuss your idea.
It’s confusing world out there, with so many mixed messages about careers and the world of work. Let’s look at some of the most commonly spoken career myths and discover the truth behind them.
“The earlier you decide on your choice of career, the better.”
Not necessarily. While it may appear to give you a ‘head start’ over others, that is no use if the choice isn’t the right one. What is most important is that you conduct thorough research to enable you to make the best choices for your future. Getting a range of exposure across a number of industries, whilst at university, may help you discover which is right for you. And don’t forget that these days it is common for people to change careers several times throughout their working lives, perhaps as their own needs and circumstances change.
“Your career should be directly relevant to your degree or university was a waste of time”.
Wrong! A degree isn’t a vocational training programme (although, in some cases, it may carry professional qualifications with it). It’s an academic qualification which shows your ability to learn whilst developing a whole host of useful transferable skills such as research, communication skills, critical thinking etc. Additionally, university provides a unique environment in which to bolster your transferable skills whilst also exploring different career options. This is why the majority of graduate employers do not specify a particular degree discipline from their applicants and prefer, instead, to draw from students from a diverse range of academic backgrounds.
“The best careers are those that pay the most.”
To some people, yes, to most people, no. There are always going to be people who are more money motivated than others and for these people a high salary is going to be important. But let’s not forget that there is usually a big pay-off for a fat pay cheque. These jobs often involve insanely long hours and a lot of responsibility and pressure. If that doesn’t drive you then think about what’s important to you – do you need a job that helps other people/has professional respect/is intellectually challenging? Aligning your career with your own set of work values should help ensure that you find the best job for you in the longer term.
It might surprise you but there’s actually a lot more to charity fundraising than you may think, and the term describes a wide range of incredibly important roles in charitable organisations.
So what roles are available?
A typical fundraising team might be made up of the following:
Community fundraising – This team works with a range of individuals, groups and organisations in the community, encouraging them to raise funds in their local area. This could include schools, places of worship, small businesses and local groups. A Community Fundraiser builds networks and relationships to increase the profile of the charity, whilst raising vital funds.
Corporate fundraising – Corporate fundraisers work with large national and often international companies to raise large sums of money for their charity. This is often in the form of ‘charity of the year’ partnerships and, depending on the size of the charity, these pots of money can be anything from hundreds up to £1million+. These roles involve
You don’t need to have studied Engineering to begin a career as a professional engineer
Why should I consider an engineering conversion course?
An engineering conversion course can be a great way to learn new skills, build on your existing knowledge and increase your employability. In an ever competitive job market, the demand for engineers only continues to rise. Employers are placing increasing value on graduates with well-rounded professional skill-sets and a broader knowledge base – gained from transferring from a different undergraduate specialism. All of this, plus the introduction from 2016 of postgraduate student loans of up to £10,000, make now a great time to consider a career in engineering.
How are the programmes delivered?
The programmes are delivered in short, intensive teaching blocks, enabling you to quickly build new knowledge in each individual area before moving on to the next. Some teaching takes place in conjunction with the University’s Business School. The structure of the courses mean that some modules are taught in conjunction with other programmes, enabling you to network with students from other specialisms and build professional contacts for the future.
What career opportunities are available following an Engineering conversion course?