CONTACT US Educating tomorrow’s professionals
Careers and Employability Service
The Student Centre
Level 4, Central Services Building
The University of Huddersfield
Tel 01484 472124
Careers and Employability Service
University Centre Barnsley
S70 2AN CAREER PLANNING AND
Tel 01226 606262
Careers and Employability Service
University Centre Oldham
Oldham Business Centre
Tel 0161 213 5000
If you would like this publication in an alternative format,
please ask your careers department.
Educating tomorrow’s professionals
The Careers Action Planning Cycle 3
Part One: Knowing yourself (or self assessment) 4
Part Two: Knowing what is available to you 5
Part Three: Making your decision 6
Part Four: Drawing up a careers action plan 7
Additional resources 8
1 Career Planning and Decision Making Completely reviewed August 2008 Career Planning and Decision Making 2
Introduction The Careers Action Planning Cycle
Choosing your career can be a difficult process - ‘Take time regularly to think about it Where am I now? Making it happen
especially if you are not sure which steps to take. and be prepared to work out what Have you made a thorough assessment of where Do you know if there are any deadlines
Some people spend a great deal of time worrying
about it, and others approach it in the same way
you want first before you go heading you are now in terms of your readiness to make a you need to meet?
off to the vacancy pages.’ career decision?
they do buying a birthday present: Are you confident you can make effective
Have you assessed your skills, knowledge and applications and perform well at interview?
• they leave it until the last minute ...
experience so that you can present an accurate
Remember to keep reviewing your progress
• they don’t spend too long on it ... picture of yourself?
regularly and keep developing your skills,
• when they see it, they'll know it's the right one ... knowledge and experience to remain employable.
Where do I want to be?
• they give up looking in the end and just go
for the next thing they see… Do you have a definite career or some careers in ‘Have you assessed your skills,
mind which match your skills, knowledge and knowledge and experience so that you
Are any of these typical of the way you are
approaching things? If so, this leaflet is for you. can present an accurate picture of
It introduces the logical approach to career yourself?’
planning; start early, take time regularly to think How do I get there?
about it and be prepared to work out what you
Have you researched what steps you need
want first before you go heading off to the
to take to help you reach your goal?
Do you need to gain any particular work
On the next couple of pages we outline the Careers
experience and/or further training/qualifications?
Action Planning Cycle. This is one approach you
can take to managing your career which, as you can What resources do you need to access to
see from the diagram, is very much a cyclical help you reach your goal?
process and supports the principles of Lifelong
Learning and continuing professional development
throughout the career lifecycle.
3 Career Planning and Decision Making Career Planning and Decision Making 4
Part One: Knowing yourself (or self assessment)
This section will take you through the Careers Action Planning Cycle
Assessing your personal strengths and weaknesses, • Also think about the transferable skills that you
talents and temperament before you start gives you have to offer; transferable skills are the skills that
a profile to match against opportunities to see which employers tend to look for no matter what the
will be best suited to you. Self-assessment can sector of employment is, for example:
therefore help you to manage your career communication; teamwork; analytical thinking
effectively so that you are able to make and problem-solving skills; planning and
well-informed career choices. organising.
• Work experience and volunteering are an
Putting together a Personal Profile important way to develop some of these skills,
and whether you have worked before coming to
You need to have a full picture or profile of yourself
university or not, gaining work experience during
which should include the following:
your studies can help you to develop key skills
whether they are specific to the role or not.
Part Two: Knowing what is available to you
See our handout Work Experience and
What are your existing personal skills, technical
Volunteering for further details. (opportunity awareness)
skills such as IT, knowledge and the skills you feel • Have a look at the Virtual Career Coach self- planning. Any careers adviser will tell you that one • Start by looking at your wider options, including
you could (or need to) develop? assessment exercises via the Windmills website of the most frequently asked questions is ‘What's further study or training and read the Association
at www.windmillsprogramme.co.uk For example, available to me with a degree in ...’ Clearly, you of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS)
Tactic 1 under the Seven Tactics for Success need to have an idea of what YOU want first - so if booklet ‘Your Degree ... What next?’ available
Motivation enables you to identify your personal skills. you haven't done any self-assessment yet, go back from your careers department or online at
What interests do you have, what are your values in • List what you want from your career. What are to Part One of this leaflet! www.prospects.ac.uk
terms of what is important to you? your personal needs? How realistic are these Finding out what is available will take time - it does • JobShop, the University’s online vacancies
needs? not appear in the form of a handy list! Also, be resource for students and graduates is accessible
Personality • What have other people said about you? Look at open-minded - don't dismiss ideas until you know 24 hours a day. Additional vacancy resources
references from former employers or work what is involved. Many a good opportunity has can also be accessed via this link
What type of character do you have and what kind
experience reports. been missed this way. www.hud.ac.uk/jobshop
of environment do you think would suit you?
• If you have a Record of Achievement or Progress Remember, job titles alone give little insight into • For further information go to the
Add to this any practical considerations you need
File, look back over this to help. what's involved so some research is essential at this Students/Graduates section at
to consider such as salary, location, working hours.
stage – particularly where you have pre-conceived www.hud.ac.uk/careers and take a
Try building your own profile by trying out some • Think about programmes you watch on TV (for ideas about something. look at the subject specific Resources.
of the following exercises, or thinking up ideas of example, current affairs, wildlife documentaries)
and which articles catch your eye in a newspaper. Start your research by using the following exercises, • Have a look on the Graduate Prospects website
The subject matter may give you an insight into or you could even discover more sources for at www.prospects.ac.uk for careers ideas which
• Describe yourself in 30 words or less and discuss your interests. yourself. are related to your course. Select Careers advice
this with someone you know well. then Options with your subject to find your
• You should end up with information in varying course area.
• Think about any work experience/vacation jobs amounts under the headings suggested earlier.
you have done - what skills have you gained? This forms a comprehensive profile, which you
will be asked to work on in Part Three.
• Think about your course – what skills have you
gained from studying your subject? See
Graduate Prospects www.prospects.ac.uk and Added Bonus: a personal profile will help you to
select Careers advice then select Options with know what you can offer to a potential employer -
your subject and choose your subject of study for and help you to complete those tricky questions on
a profile of the typical skills gained. application forms.
5 Career Planning and Decision Making This is where many people start their career Career Planning and Decision Making 6
Part Three: Making your decision Part Four: Drawing up a careers action plan
A careers action plan is a personal statement that Now try Tactic 5 of the Seven Tactics for
can be reviewed. It will help you manage the Success on the Windmills Virtual Career Coach
Making your decision involves taking the For an alternative systematic matching system, transition from education to employment and at www.windmillsprogramme.co.uk Tactic 5 gives
information you've already gathered about try using the following computer programmes: prepare you for lifelong learning. It maps out the you hints and tips to help you get started with your
yourself and matching it with what is available. steps you need to take from where you are now career action plan.
• Adult Directions accessible from your
to where you want to be. It should have
In an ideal world, all your criteria would be fulfilled careers department Remember this booklet is only an introduction
in one perfect job. However, in reality, people have to the process. You should make a point of using the
• Prospects Planner accessible via the Graduate
to make compromises in their working lives. • S Specific; your action plan needs materials suggested here and seeking help from
Prospects website www.prospects.ac.uk
a specific focus. your careers department. We are here to help you
Begin by going to the profile you built in Part One.
at any stage of the career planning process so
Look back at the list and decide: • M Measurable; make sure your objective
please ask if we can be of assistance.
Also try, Tactic 2 of the Seven Tactics for Success is measurable, how will you know if you
A) The priorities that will be of most importance
on the Windmills Virtual Career Coach at have reached your goal?
to you in choosing career areas.
www.windmillsprogramme.co.uk This allows
• A Achieveable; ask yourself:
B) The things that are of less importance to you, you to match your skills to possible career areas.
what’s in it for me?
on which you would be willing to compromise.
• R Realistic; how achievable are your
Go back through the vacancy and information
objectives and your overall career goals?
sources, and with your priorities in mind,
match jobs to your A and B lists. • T Timed; put in a range of timescales
to help with your planning.
7 Career Planning and Decision Making Career Planning and Decision Making 8
• Our range of career planning booklets are
available from your careers department or online
at www.hud.ac.uk/careers Go to the Careers
Information section. For further information and
advice go to the Students/Graduates section.
• Graduate Prospects offers a wide range of
information and advice to students and graduates
• A weekly Central Workshop Programme (CWP)
is held on the Huddersfield campus during term
time. Subjects of these sessions include: career
planning; marketing yourself effectively to
employers; preparing for interviews; assessment
centres and psychometric tests. For further
details on the CWP, employer presentations and
recruitment fairs held throughout the year, check
our website www.hud.ac.uk/careers
• JobShop, the University’s online vacancy
resource for students and graduates, is accessible
offers a wide range of
24 hours a day. Additional vacancy resources information and advice to
can also be accessed via www.hud.ac.uk/jobshop students and graduates
• Contact your careers department if you require
further information and advice.
9 Career Planning and Decision Making Career Planning and Decision Making 10