We can work it out

“The guitar is alright but you’ll never make a living at it,” said Aunt Mimi to her young nephew John Lennon (he later formed The Beatles – a popular beat combo of the 1960s).

The older generation often think they know best. Especially when it comes to what young people should be doing. And sometimes they do. However, if you are considering your career options and are a University of Kent student or recent graduate why not take a look at the help provided by the University’s Careers and Employability Service (CES)?

Choosing a career involves four main stages: Self Awareness, Opportunity Awareness, Decision Making and Taking Action. Sometimes these stages overlap and occasionally you have to return to a previous stage. It can be a tricky business.

1. Self Awareness involves looking at your skills, values, interests and personality and analysing where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This is important in choosing the right career and also for success in applications and interviews where you will find many questions which test whether you have been through this process.

2. Opportunity Awareness involves gathering information about the opportunities open to you. Consider what you can do with your degree subject. Many jobs are open to graduates of any academic discipline, but do consider getting some relevant work experience. Look at the Kent Experiences of Work (KEW) webpages. You can develop employability skills and get an insight into the type of work you are interested in.

3. Decision making involves you in making a choice based on your awareness of what is important to you and what your opportunities are. IT systems can help. Prospects Planner factors in a number of elements you may want in a career (such as helping others, working abroad, promotion prospects etc,) and suggests careers which might match these. Talking to a recent Kent graduate may help. KEW-NET is a new online mentoring/networking tool for Kent students and graduates provided by the CES. The CES drop-in service is also available to you if you would like to briefly discuss your ideas with an adviser.

4. Taking Action is the final stage in the career planning process. It involves: selecting advertised jobs to apply to, making applications, perhaps taking aptitude tests and attending selection centres and having interviews.

For a quick suggestion of where you can begin to take action have a look at these tips. They give you an idea of what you could be doing at different stages of your time at Kent.

Sometimes you may have to return to previous stages in the process: if need more experience to succeed at interview or you change your mind about an option available to you. This is quite natural, but be aware of the time it takes. Keep at it, think about yourself and your options, make up your mind and take the first step. And if you need a little help from your friends don’t forget to get in touch. Good luck!

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