It can be a tricky time of year to stay motivated with career plans. Let’s face it, the Christmas season takes a little bit out of all of us, and the pressures of the academic year end are too far away yet for us to worry about. And yet it can be a lost opportunity for now can be a great time to make progress, to find out more about yourself and what you want, and to make yourself ultimately more career-ready.
The key to this lies in goal-setting. The power of an action plan is a wonderful thing, so set yourself a few career goals over the next 2 or 3 months – write them down, pin them somewhere visible, share them with someone else – and you should see yourself start to move forwards with your plans. If you are stuck for ideas, then consider some of the following:
Grow your networks
Successful networking – both personal and professional – is an increasingly important factor in career success. Have a look at the Careers & Enterprise events on offer at Queen Mary as these can be a great way of meeting with employers and learning more about their industries. On a personal level, speak to people you know about the jobs they do. Join LinkedIn (if you haven’t already) and start developing your own professional connections.
Refine your ideas
Whatever year you are in, it is never too early or too late to speak to a careers consultant about your post-graduation ideas. And if you have no ideas, don’t be afraid to book an appointment to start the ball rolling. If you have a little work experience on your side already, it can be useful to put time aside to reflect on what you have learned from your experiences and how this may help to shape your plans. Think about the skills that you can offer but also about what it is you want from a career. What would be in your careers shopping list?
Refresh your CV
We don’t necessarily need to be job seeking to spend time on our CVs. Getting ourselves job-ready is an important step to ensure we can seize any opportunities that may come our way. So have a look at your current CV. Is there anything you need to add? Can you think of a better way of bringing out your experience? Remember that recruiters spend as little as 10 seconds looking at these, so you need to make the right impact quickly. Presentation is everything.
Whether through a part time job, volunteer work or internship opportunities, this is always a wise use of time and should help to make the transition into the world of work easier. All experiences is good experience but think hard about what you want to gain from it. Are there particular skills you wish to develop or an industry you wish to gain experience in? Do It is a great website to find volunteering opportunities, or see what is on offer through Queen Mary’s very own QRecruit opportunities, encompassing both internships and part time work.
Whichever targets you set, be careful not to overwhelm yourself. If a challenge seems too big then it becomes easy to shy away from. The objective isn’t to try and attempt all of these ideas but to select those that you feel you need most, or those that are most motivating. Then, break them down into small, achievable parts and you will soon feel the benefits of progress.