“I don’t know what I want to do for a career!” How Harry embraced his career confusion.

It’s one of the most common things we speak to our students about. Not knowing what career path you’d like to take is completely normal and totally healthy. It not only keeps your options open, it also allows you to explore lots of different possibilities throughout your time at University. Here at the Careers Service, we’re here to help guide you in that decision making process.

Check out a recent Ancient History graduate talking about his career confusion, how he overcome it and why it’s OK not to have a clear career path.

I was the classic Humanities student who lived by the mantra “Humanities students can go on and do anything with their degree”. As true as this is, it can be frustrating to have so many options.

While studying, I looked at every career under the sun, but after I graduated I joined the Careers Service on an internship in marketing and communications. And… I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

I enjoyed the role (I have to say that – my old boss reads these posts), and marketing was where I saw my career in the foreseeable future, but I didn’t want to pin myself down.

This isn’t my way of telling you that I was a bad employee with no loyalty (although I did have a drink after work in Man Met Union once), it’s me saying there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to do – because you’ll probably have a go at loads of careers in the future anyway.

harry-2.jpgBut that’s not helpful is it? I’ve got a few tips as to how you can help yourself.

Go do some stuff!

They say you come to university to try new things but people sometimes misunderstand this as ‘drink purple things, eat weird food, and go on a binge boxsets’. But that’s not just it – there are loads of different societies at the University that you can get involved in.

Whether it’s the dance society, or the History society, you could benefit. Some societies have social media or treasury positions, and even post about work experience opportunities in Facebook groups. I personally got involved with the Manchester Media Group at university, which is the student radio, student YouTube, and a weekly newspaper.

Take every opportunity – snowball effect

Whilst I was at the Manchester Media Group I wrote a few articles. Then I took the opportunity to be the Sports Editor, through this I created some videos and podcasts. I literally just grabbed everything I could, as I thought it was the only way I’d find out what I like and don’t like.

Because of this I was able to become a Video Production Intern in the summer and work as a match reporter at Manchester City. From joining the Manchester Media Group, the snowball effect meant that I could then get all these other opportunities. I ended up working with BBC Sport and producing a show for BBC Radio.

The Careers Service

I used the Careers Service for all they were worth when I was a student. Here’s some of what they have to offer that will be helpful to you.

Guidance appointments: Pop down to the Careers Service on the first floor of University Place, in the Atrium – there you can see one of our staff members and they can get the ball rolling for you. Alternatively, ring 0161 275 2829.

Internships: In the summer of your penultimate year, why not do an eight week internship to check out a sector of work you may want to go into? I personally worked for the University creating videos. Find out more.

Events: Whether it be a ‘Meet the Professionals’ event where you can go hear from professionals in different fields, or the ‘Insight into Broadcast and Journalism’ event, there’s plenty put on at Careers for you to check out. These will be promoted on Careers Link.

Clubs: The Third Sector Club and the Media Club are run by the University and often hold talks from professionals or workshops. You can check these out on Facebook too.

Global Graduates: I went to New York for a week to network with some large organisations like the UN, NBC, and US Bank. It gave me a great insight into loads of different organisations that I’d never thought of before… plus I got to see the Yankees. Applications open for this open around February.

Written by Harry Newton, Ancient History graduate now working as Social Media Coordinator at The University of Manchester.

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