5 Things for Your Development (PGRs)

Did you set any New Year Resolutions? Were they career related?

Often, we set ambitious goals to focus more on our careers only to find that by the beginning of February we’ve forgotten all about them as other things seem to take priority and thinking about our career development seems to slip away. These 5 Top Tips are designed to keep you focused on your career development.

  1. Make time for you

Our number one top tip for your ongoing career and professional development is that you have to prioritise it, you need to protect time to reflect, explore and take action, otherwise the inevitable will happen and there will always be something else more important than focusing on your career. Some people book a regular time in their diary for career related activities which helps them to stay on track.

  • Get to know yourself better

Sometimes people set goals and make plans without really considering how they relate to their personal values and motivations.  Building your self-awareness can help you to plan your development and make career decisions that are right for you, whatever stage you might be at. Take time to consider whatyou want from your career, what gives you satisfaction, and what type of environments you thrive in. (Check out the self-assessments on Pathfinder or the careers resources on SurreyLearn). Review the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to help identify your current capabilities, attributes and competencies and to help you plan where to focus your career development.

  • Explore your options; be open to new possibilities

Our third tip is to explore your options as broadly as possibly. You might have a clear idea of where you are heading, but have you considered a Plan B or C?  Or are you still unsure what’s available to you? Spend time exploring options both inside and outside academia. Talk to people and find out how they got where they are today, research online resources and explore job profiles (Check out the resources on Prospects and Jobs.ac.uk). Use LinkedIn to search alumni of Surrey and explore what they are doing now.

  • Get involved

Our fourth tip is about being proactive and getting involved in different things. This is a great way to find out about opportunities, to build connections and to consider the sort of areas of work that might suit you.  There are loads of opportunities to get involved from networking at the Institute of Directors events, presenting at the Doctoral College Conference, volunteering, getting involved in departmental committees, work shadowing, online discussion forums, through to participating in workshops and conferences.    

  • Build your support network

Our final tip is about remembering you are not alone, tap into the wide range of support that’s available, whether that’s meeting with one of the Careers Consultants, signing up for a mentor or building your peer support network through the Researcher Cafes as well as the wider support services, family and friends. Discussing your career plans with others can help you to keep on track, so you won’t be thinking in February, what was that New Year’s resolution again?

Remember you can book confidential, one to one careers coaching sessions with one of our impartial, professionally qualified Careers Consultants. These can take place either face to face, via Skype, Zoom or phone and can be booked via Pathfinder or by emailing rdp@surrey.ac.uk with Requesting a Careers Consultation in the subject line.


Blog Post by Emma Francis, our new Careers and Employability Consultant at the Doctoral College. Emma joins Rana Marrington, Careers Consultant who together provide dedicated careers support for PGRs and ECRs.