It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

So most of you will already know that I am working in the Careers Team at the School of Management so I am going to give you some tips for your future career. It is funny how you can get so wrapped up in life that you forget the final goal – your career!

One of the biggest and most frequent questions you will ever ask yourself at uni is ‘what am I going to do afterwards?’. I have heard myself say it and plenty of my friends say it. This is where the advice comes in – use the Careers Service! They are there to support you in helping you to decide what your options are and what is the best way for you. I made a foolish mistake in my first two years and did not use the Careers Service but now I can definitely see the impact it makes and the positive outcomes it has for my peers.

You will generally find that you and your friends will probably have jobs in mind what interest you but is this really what you want to do? Your career development plan is much more than a list of jobs your interested in. The best way to think about your career is using the below:

Career Plan Diagram

Self Assessment – what are your skills, interests and values?

Exploration – what industries and occupations are you interested in?

Focused Plan – what skills and experience do you need for jobs that you are interested in? How can you gain the skills/experience? Start a plan of how you can meet gain the relevant skills and experience

Job Search – once you have put your plan in action and gained the necessary skills and experience, it is time to find your ideal job and to start applying. Remember, it is competitive and you are likely to gain some rejections. If you do then make sure you ask the employer – it is valuable feedback that you can work on.

This model makes it seem very simple and the reality of it is that it is not. That is why the uni has a Careers Service. If you are really focused about your career then make sure you start from day 1 – do not leave it to your final year as you won’t have the time to give it a good shot.

So do it the right way not the wrong way:

  • Gain a sense of what your interest, skills and values are
  • Make an appointment with a career adviser
  • Discuss your options and what experience you need
  • Develop your CV by gaining more experience – internships, placements, voluntary work, join sports/societies
  • Attend careers fair and talk to employers. Ask about what opportunities they have and what it is like to work there. Tell them about yourself and what you have done. Ask for a business card – you may want to speak to them further
  • Become proactive on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites help you to develop your professional brand, that is if you are networking professionally (tweet about your interests and relevant info to your career – not about your cat falling down the stairs)
  • This will help you to develop your network further and you never know you might just meet your future employer

Sometimes it really is about who you know rather than what you know.