I don’t know what I want to do? How can the Careers Service help me?

Choices Not many of us are born knowing what we want to be when we grow up.  I certainly didn’t, even after I graduated!

I did a Geography degree which I loved, lots of society stuff which took up most of my time, I didn’t really pay much attention to what came next! Yes the end of University and entering the real world.

I had a good idea that the world of finance and big corporates was not for me, even looking at the applications made me feel a bit queezy. I couldn’t really see what I could do with my degree and I couldn’t afford a postgraduate course on a whim (No I did not want to teach – kids are scary!) It all worked out ok, but it took a long time to start earning proper money and get on track to doing a job I wanted to do.

Today I see students every day facing the same dilemmas, some of you even pluck up the courage to visit the Careers Service and ask for help, it’s brilliant, why didn’t my student self do that?

What help can you expect?

Well no-one is going to tell you what you should be. The magic sorting hat for careers is still in Beta testing!

Talk to the careers staff on the desk or over the phone, they can quickly work out what stage you are at and what help might be most appropriate for you. No one will think badly of you if you confess that you are clueless, in fact a little honesty is useful to pinpoint which of our team will best fit your needs.

You may be offered tools to help you get your own thinking kickstarted

  • Prospects Planner Register, answer a few questions about what you want from a job, and your responses are compared with what professionals in over 400 types of work say they get in their jobs. It’s free, reputable and aimed at graduates – has to be worth a try.
  • Profiling for Success psychometric tests You have access to a range of psychometric tests, including a personality and career inventory questionnaires, to help you uncover what makes you tick (you can also try ability tests which are useful for figuring out whether you are suited to highly numerate roles, or very competitive graduate schemes which often use similar tests.)

It can be useful to think of your own list of “wants” and “do not wants” in life.  For some it’s all about the money for others it’s about feeling a sense of doing something for other people. Some people want to be alone others thrive in a big group. Everyone is different and mapping out what makes you happy can be very important in finding a job to fit.

Some places to start your research may be suggested

  • Which career pages To explore different jobs or sectors, find out about how to get experience and where the vacancies are advertised.
  • Want to know about internships Start here, there are opportunities for 1st & second year students.  An internship or any work experience can help you find out what you like and dislike. Pretty useful really!

It’s likely you will meet a careers consultant.

They can only work with what you tell them so be honest. What do you want out of the meeting? To explore your inner you or to dive into exploring career options or something in between?

Using the tools above can be a useful start and they may uncover some jobs or aspects of your personality you had not considered – that’s a useful place to start.

It’s not a one size fits all

Some students may talk to us just once and feel confident enough go it alone, for others it’s a longer journey. After all not all career decisions are simple.

Don’t worry it’s not for ever!

The job you decide to do fresh out of university does not have to be the job you do for life. I’m certainly glad I tried a few things out but also very glad I’m not still in retail! (shudders).  This is why we also offer support for 2 years after you graduate!



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