It’s completely normal to find planning for your future daunting. That’s why we’re here to make sure you have everything you need to plan ahead and reach your goals. So, sit back, relax and read on to see how you can plan for your future with our support.
Evaluate where you are
First, it’s important to recognise where you are right now. This is so you can see the areas you need to work on or get support with. For example, you might know which tasks you enjoy doing but feel lost when it comes to picking a job. This indicates that you need to research roles that involve those tasks, so you have an idea of careers you would enjoy.
There are a few ways you can see where you’re at. You could grab a pen and paper and have a brainstorm, or you could speak to a Careers Advisor via a 1-1 appointment or head to a Quick Query appointment on campus.
Create an action list
Now you know where you’re at, it’s time to think about what you can do to reach your career goals. Remember your goal doesn’t have to be landing the perfect job, it can be as simple as figuring out what you want to do. You can add more goals as you go along.
Here are a few suggestions on what your first action could be:
- Gaining experience. Experience is valued by all employers as it shows that you’re able to put your skills into practice. It’s also a great way to figure out what you do and don’t want to do. You can gain experience by:
- Having a part-time job. We can help you find one via Unitemps and Advantage. The Careers & Enterprise team can support you with the application.
- Volunteering is also a great way to gain experience. The Students’ Union can help you find volunteering roles.
- Develop your employability skills. It’s important to have a strong set of employability skills alongside your degree as they highlight your ability to do the job. Examples of these skills include critical thinking, leadership and teamwork. To develop employability skills you can:
- Use LinkedIn Learning. There are thousands of different courses that cover a range of skills and as a Salford student, you can access them for free. Our Careers & Enterprise team have also developed a suite of learning pathways for you to access on demand. All of the tutorials are broken down into bitesize videos, which you can dip in and out of.
- Volunteer in the local community.
- If you don’t know what employability skills you need, read our employability guide to find out what skills are valued most by employers.
- Speak to industry experts. Perhaps you would benefit from engaging with those already in the industry. You can meet experts at our Careers Fairs and start to build your professional networks.
Take it one step at a time
It’s important that you don’t do everything at once, as it can start to become overwhelming and perhaps even stop you from moving forward. To get started we recommend you start with one action step and work your way up. Once you’ve made progress, evaluate where you are at and decide what your next step should be.
Don’t limit yourself
It’s important that you don’t limit yourself when it comes to your career because there are so many options available to you.
Let’s say you study computing, it can be natural to think you need to work in IT, but this is not the case. Obtaining a computing degree gives you lots of experience with databases and patterns, so you could be a data analyst. You also design the UI for your programmes, which means you could go into graphic design. See, we told you there’s lots of opportunities. Think on a skills level rather than one subject.
The best way to find opportunities available to you is to sign up for Careers workshops and fairs. You can keep up to date with these opportunities by following the Careers and Enterprises team on Instagram and Twitter.
Do things you enjoy alongside your studies
Your degree will always be important, but you are more than just your degree. The things you do outside your studies are also important.
When recruiting, employers don’t just look at experience and qualifications; skills and attributes are also key components. You may think that being part of a dance society won’t help you in your Ordinance Surveyor application, but it shows teamwork, organisation, and communication. As we’ve mentioned before, these are key employability skills employers look for.
Your hobbies and your career don’t have to be completely separate. Incorporating them can be a great way to improve your credentials for whatever career you want to have. For instance, if you want to be a journalist, you could start a blog.
You can find activities in many different ways, the SU has over 50 student-led societies with everything from student talk radio to e-sports. You could also sign-up for a volunteering position.
Revisit your Career plan – even when you graduate
Planning your career isn’t something you do once, you’ll want to come back and re-evaluate at different points along your journey. This could be to check you’re on track or maybe even change direction.
Thankfully, graduation is not the end of your time here at Salford. As an alumni we will continue to help you on your journey to success. You’ll have life-long access to the Library and careers support, free meeting room hire on campus and, if you’re setting up your own business, enterprise resources.
If, after reading all this you’re still feeling a bit lost, that is ok. There is a lot to think about. But make sure you ask for some help. Our Careers & Enterprise team is here to help you think about your future, booking a meeting with them to discuss and get excited about your future.