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How to Choose a Career
The career planning process
To create some job ideas for yourself, or to confirm that your initial ideas are
appropriate, you need to think about what you want out of life and what you have
to offer. You will also need to know what opportunities are available.

This handout will signpost you to resources to enable you to do this and help you to
develop strategies for making an effective career choice.

The career planning process can be summarised with the following diagram:




    Know yourself 
                                                                      Research your 
                                                                      options 




                                     Make a decision



If you understand yourself in terms of skills, interests, personality type, values and
needs and know about the options available to you, then you will be in a good
position to make a career decision. This is a skill which can be used at any stage of
your career; not only when choosing your first graduate job.

The following tables will direct you to resources to assist this process.
                Resource                                   Self awareness                      Generating ideas           Researching opportunities

                                           Interests   Motivations   Skills   Personality   Matching     Using     Information    Entry          Labour
            On-line resources                                                               your         your      about what     requirements   market
                                                                                            attributes   subject   jobs involve                  information
                                                                                            to career
                                                                                            ideas
Prospects planner on
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/pplanner
Prospects website
www.prospects.ac.uk
Virtual career coach
www.graduatesyorkshire-vcc-info
Windmills on-line
www.windmillsonline.co.uk
Profiling for success on
www.york.ac.uk/careers
Ability tests
Profiling for success on
www.york.ac.uk/careers
Type Dynamics Indicator (Personality and
learning styles)
Sector Search on the Careers Service
website
www.york.ac.uk/careers
            Resource                              Self-awareness                        Generating ideas                 Researching opportunities

Careers Service workshops and   Interests   Motivations      Skills   Personality   Matching        Using     Information      Entry           Labour
      events – details at                                                           your            your      about what       requirements    market
www.york.ac.uk/careers/events                                                       attributes to   subject   jobs involve                     information
                                                                                    career ideas
‘Clueless about careers?’

Myers Briggs Type Indicator
(MBTI)
Careers talks and events

Careers fairs

Careers events in your
department
         Resource                                Self awareness                         Generating ideas                    Researching opportunities

   Reference materials         Interests   Motivations   Skills   Personality   Matching        Using your   Information      Entry             Labour market
 available in the Careers                                                       your            subject      about what       requirements      information
   Service Information                                                          attributes to                jobs involve
          Room                                                                  career ideas
Transferable skills card
sort
Career drivers exercise

Personality reference
books and folder in the
Starter Files section of the
Information Room
Subject files in the Starter
files section of the
Information Room
Job sector files (blue
folders)
Build your own rainbow
(book)
Barry Hopson and Mark
Scally
How to get a job you’ll
love (book)
John Lees
The graduate career
handbook (book)
Shirley Jenner
What can I do with an
arts degree? (book)
Beryl Dixon
 


First hand experience
An ideal way to find out what you are good at and what you enjoy is to gain as wide a range of
experiences as possible. Consider doing some voluntary activities, taking additional courses,
working in part time or vacation jobs, arranging work experience and getting involved in
committee posts. Reflect on your experiences and consider what went well and which aspects
you didn’t enjoy. Use the Personal Development Planning (PDP) process for this, or York
Award courses such as ‘Reflecting on Work Experience.’ For ideas of how to get work
experience, see the ‘skills and work experience’ section of our website www.york.ac.uk/careers.
This contains a link to our Student Internship Bureau which matches students seeking short
term paid work experience with employers looking to use their enthusiasm and skills. We also
produce a series of handouts about getting work experience in different sectors.

Talking to people about their occupations is another valuable research tool. Use your existing
contacts, family and friends. Speak to employer representatives at careers fairs and events on
campus. You can also call up organisations which interest and ask for a few minutes of their
time to discuss career options. This is called ‘informational interviewing’.

Make a plan of action
Identify the steps you will need to take to achieve your goal, eg. work experience, further
study, applying for vacancies. Try to put a timescale against each one. Think about who can
help you achieve your goal. Review your action plan to ensure that it is realistic and regularly
review your progress.

Discussions with a Careers Adviser
Talking to a Careers Adviser may help you to clarify your career plans and work out your next
steps. If you would like to speak to a Careers Adviser, come for a Quick Query appointment.
This is a one to one appointment with an Adviser held in the Information Room every day
during term time with a reduced service during vacations. Book on-line at
www.york.ac.uk/careers




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Oct 09

								
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