How to get started on your career

Gif of student with pink hair asking 'Where do I start?'

Are you wondering what type of job or placement you want to do? If you have no idea where to start and feel overwhelmed – don’t worry! There’s lots of you in the same boat. And it can be easily be broken down into manageable chunks.

Career planning for students and recent graduates

Career planning is a process which involves thinking about

  • Where you are now
  • Where you want to be
  • How you will get there

The 3 steps to help you get the job that is right for you

1. Self Awareness

This is understanding yourself and what you are looking for in a career. There are lots of great online tools you can use to help you become more aware of your strengths, skills, interests, values and personality.

  • Prospects Career Planner is a job exploration tool for students and graduates. It can help you find out what motivates you and identify your skills and desires. It then matches these to related occupations
  • Personality Assessment Your answers to this questionnaire results in a report which will highlight your personality type, strengths and weaknesses. It helps to enhance your understanding of yourself, your motivations and strengths
  • Careers Assessments on personality, workplace culture, strengths, motivations, learning style and temperament are all available on Surrey Pathfinder
  • If you would like to talk through the results of these assessments you can book a guidance interview with a careers adviser who can help you to understand how to use your results.

2. Research Opportunities

If you have found out some ideas of jobs the next step is to investigate what these careers involve.  There are some really good resources available to help you.

3. Take Action

The only way to know if you would like a job for certain is to give it a try. There are various ways to do this including: a professional training year, a summer internship, a part-time position, voluntary work, work-shadowing or taster or company insight days.

Start networking to find out about opportunities that interest you

  • You can use LinkedIn to research what graduates with your degree are doing now. You could also link up with Surrey graduates who are working in fields or companies that interest you.
  • Go to company insight days and network with the people you meet there. Ask people you meet if you can have their business cards and follow up your conversation with an email.

Further Resources