Careers Column 1: Career Planning – Where do I start?
Throughout the summer our expert Advice Team is running a special Careers Column in the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo and Forest Citizen, offering advice to young people and their parents on the important factors to consider when making decisions about their education and future careers.
If you didn't catch it in the paper, don't worry - we will be posting the articles here on the GC news page every Wednesday.
Read the full article below or click on the image to see it as it appears in the newspaper.
Week 1: Career Planning - Where do I start?
By Ruth Thomas – Careers Advisor and UCAS Coordinator
In its simplest form, career planning involves picking a career and then making a list of everything you need to do to ensure your dreams become a reality – sorted! For many of us though, we didn’t make a decision overnight and a lot more ground work is necessary to get to that stage.
Here’s a few top tips to get you started:
1. Reflect on your interests, strengths, abilities, personality and values
This is about understanding what makes you tick and being able to match yourself to suitable jobs. Sometimes you may need to seek help from a careers adviser or you can do online assessments, to find out where your skills may take you. Examine your hobbies, think about what’s important to you and what you want from a career. Reflecting on your past and current experiences can give you some good clues as to what you may want in the future.
2. Research careers and know what the opportunities are
Whether you’ve narrowed down your career choice to one job role, or several job sectors it’s important to research the following:
- Duties and work activities of someone doing the kind of job(s) you are interested in
- Entry routes and qualifications required
- Possible career progression
- Trends in the type and amount of work available, and where this is
- Opportunities for employment where you are
3. Assess your current situation
Identify where you are at right now and assess how your situation may affect your future plans. Include obstacles that might get in the way and positive things that will help you. One way to do this is to conduct a SWOT analysis (identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This process involves considering your personal strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities are available to you now or in the near future and also external factors that you have no control over.
4. Identify steps towards your goals
Now it’s time to put in place a practical plan of action and break down your goal into smaller steps. These need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) to help keep you on track. For example ‘I will book on to two college open days by the end of next week’. You need to identify what steps you should take first, second, third and so on to reach your ultimate career goal.
5. Make a list of resources that you will use to put together your career plan
These could include career websites such as Plotr or Prospects, professional body websites and publications, newspaper articles, company websites and education and training organisations. People are an excellent resource; talking to careers advisers, teachers, employers and people you know and trust can be enormously helpful.
An important part of career planning involves reviewing your goals and asking yourself if you have been successful. Because your career plans are likely to progress or change over time, it's useful to do an annual review then modify your goals accordingly.
When do I start?
It’s never too early or too late to start career planning, the key is to dedicate some time to consider what you want out of life and work out how you are going to get there – simple!
Gloucestershire College has its own dedicated Advice Team who can offer one-to-one advice and guidance on careers and education choices. To book an appointment with a friendly adviser call Student Services on 0345 155 2020