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Planning your career

Career Planning

Career planning is the first step of any job search; it will help you determine the direction you want to go in and how to go about securing an opportunity in your chosen field(s).

The first step is to pinpoint your knowledge, strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, what you enjoy, what motivates you, and in doing so identify the skills and attributes you

Unless you have a clear idea of what you want to do, it can be difficult to know where to start. And if you do have a career in mind, how do you know whether you've considered all of your options?

To start make a list of:

  • courses you've taken in the past, or are taking now;
  • any jobs you've had, including part-time work and voluntary work;
  •  interests outside study and work; and
  • any other experiences, like travelling, playing sports regularly, belonging to a university student society or club.

Then ask yourself:

  • why you chose to do them;
  • which parts you really enjoyed;
  • which parts you found frustrating or boring;
  •  which parts you were best at;
  • which parts you found a challenge;
  • what other people have said about your contribution; and
  • what other people have told you you're good at.

After carrying out this self-analysis you might start to see some patterns emerging, for example the types of skills you enjoy using, the sort of culture and environment you perform best in and the types of people you like working with.

This will also determine what sector and type of role best suits you - for example, jobs with a people focus or project focus.

Helpful resources can be found on Jobs Central.

Employability Journey

Year one:

  • Get involved with activities, clubs and societies at university, ideally volunteering for positions of responsibility
  • Prepare a CV so you can apply for part-time jobs
  • Build up your work experience. Any work experience will be useful in helping you develop skills and contacts.
  • Do your preparation by thinking about what is important to you in a job and start to research possible careers.
  • Attend careers events

Year Two:

  • Attend as many events as possible in order to get a feel for the range of options available to you.
  • Many vacation placement/internship schemes are aimed at second-year undergraduate students and so check closing dates for these schemes and apply early.
  • As well as applying for vacation placements and internship schemes apply for year-long industrial placements as well. This will give you a deep insight into an industry that interests you, enabling you to build up your skills and your network on contacts,
  • Use your networking skills to find work experience or just discover more about jobs or organisations which are of interest.
  • Update your CV as you develop new skills and gain new work experience.
  • If you do not obtain work experience, do not panic. There are lots of ways you can demonstrate employability skills, including organising charity or community events, taking up roles in university societies, which will make you attractive to potential employers.

Year Three:

  • Be organised and check the deadlines for organisations that are offering graduate training schemes which interest you, and apply in good time. Application closing dates will vary according to the size of the organisation.
  • Look at graduate recruitment directories, research entry requirements for the companies in which you are interested and consider if you can meet their requirements.
  • Look for vacancies in multiple different locations.
  • For smaller companies and industries which are hard to break into, consider making speculative applications. Even if there are no current vacancies, companies may be willing to keep your application on file in case something suitable comes up.
  • Attend both internal and external careers events as these could provide vital contacts and networking opportunities.

Contact us

Careers and Employability Service
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 7445
Email us

Contact us

Careers and Employability Service
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 7445
Email us

Kingston University careers - KU Talent

Find out more

Kingston University students can visit the My Kingston Staffspace document intranet site (KU login required) for more information.

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