What to do if you don’t know what to do

Helen Plummer and Kate Nicholls, Surrey Careers Consultants
Surrey Careers Consultants, Helen Plummer and Kate Nicholls

If you don’t have a clue about what career to do, then you are NOT alone! It may feel like everyone else has a plan, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. We regularly see students that aren’t sure what to do in our one-to-one career appointments.  Getting clearer about your future is a process which happens over time, so we support you to focus on your interests and motivations, explore ideas and take action at your own pace.

Just do something!

Dipping your toe into investigating careers can feel overwhelming, but once you make a start you WILL feel better.  Our team can support you with getting started.  Why not try one of the suggestions below?

  • Reflect on what is important to you in a role, and what you might enjoy. Use our self-awareness resources to find tools that will help you consider this, the skills and strengths you have, and what types of roles you might find energising: Explore self-awareness tools
  • Consider what modules you enjoyed on your course and why. Which did you NOT enjoy and never want to think about again! What about your work experience extra-curricular activities? What have you learnt about yourself from these and are there aspects you’d like to combine with a future job?
  • Research a variety of roles and consider which ones suit your strengths and interests.  Use Prospects to get ideas of what jobs you can do with your degree and look at our subject specific leaflets.
  • Investigate what work experience you could do to gain insight into particular jobs and to build your skills and self-confidence.
  • Check Surrey Pathfinder for our employer events and career fairs to connect with employers, find out about opportunities and ask questions to professionals in your areas of interest.

Myth busting:

Don’t define yourself by your degree subject – In the UK, most graduate opportunities do not specify a degree subject.  Employers are focused on the skills you’ve developed on your degree, you as a person, your experience, your mindset, and ability to learn quickly.  

Most students do not join a graduate scheme – Only a small number of graduates get a graduate scheme with the majority securing graduate-entry level jobs with a huge variety of employers. 

It’s ok to apply for jobs even if you’re not 100% sure – The process of applying for jobs can help you get clearer.  You will learn more about the job and company through the recruitment process and this will help you decide if it’s for you or not. 

You don’t need to have a long-term career plan – focussing on getting a graduate job rather than your perfect job is fine as this will allow you to gain experience and learn about the world of work. It’s very common for graduates to take a few years to settle into a particular career.

Access the support that’s out there:

Our Career Consultants are running an Exploring your Future small group workshop on Wednesday, 17th April 2-4pm, LTB to help you get started.  Please register here

You can also seek out inspiration and support by reaching out to the people you know (family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, employers, academics) and start to have career conversations with those working in areas that interest you.  You can also join our alumni group: SurreyConnects and connect with Surrey graduates working in the industries and organisations.

University is a time when you can really experience and test out your ideas about your future. Please remember that we are here to support you with your career journey not just now but for up to 3 years after you graduate too! Create your graduate account

Good luck and please keep in touch!