Planning your career is something you can start no matter where you are in your programme of study. To make this ongoing process more manageable, this section will introduce you to a range of tools and practical support, no matter if you’re considering further study or moving into industry.
Learn about the right way to research different opportunities and the mapping tool called Plan:Me in the short video opposite then use the range of ideas and links presented here to help you build your own personal plan to discover the future that works for you. You can also explore the career journey planners to get inspiration and ideas of what you could be doing in your year of study to keep up your career planning momentum going.
Planning your career
There is no one right way to choose your career and when you’re busy at university, you find career planning is something you can’t do continuously.
To help you begin and keep track of where you are with your career planning, it is useful to create a map or timeline. This will be your Plan: Me which was developed to help you consider what you’d like to do in the future and then track the activities you want to do to better understand your options. Once you’ve gathered enough information about each, you will feel more confident in making a decision. It is like a research project where you have a hypothesis that you might enjoy a job/programme of study and then you formulate a series of actions to help you build information about each option until you know enough to get a result. The video above explains this more fully and the rest of the Plan your career section expands on these elements. Here are some steps to get you started.
Make a place to keep everything
Create a place to store your career related information. It can be a physical paper notebook, a word document or an online tool such as OneNote or Padlet. Writing things down make your plan real and it allows you keep track of your progress.
How will you know what you want?
Understanding what you enjoy and what you are good at is key element to career planning. In our self-reflection section we’ve created some practical ways to help you begin this process.
What are you current ideas?
Think about what jobs/roles/study options you are considering. Write these down. It’s okay to have a question mark in this list if you’re not sure.
See What can I do with my degree and What do Imperial students do for some useful starting points.
How will you research your ideas
Consider what you could to do learn more about these options. What do you need to know to help you make a decision about each one?
Think about resources you may already have (networks, academics, the careers service) and those that you learn more about easily (using online research or the rest of this planning your career section). Again note these down, making them as specific as possible.
See exploring options and LinkedIn for some useful starting points.
Map it out
Start to form a timeline. This will be different depending on what level of study you are in and when you want/need to start to make your career decisions. The career journey planners maybe useful here.
Keep up the momentum
Add regular meetings with yourself into your diary to stay on track. It can be a simple 15mins every month to revisit your Plan:Me and review what you’ve done, what you’re going to do and when will be best to do it.