In the current climate, it is only natural to examine your career plans under a new light — even if you hadn’t conscientiously engaged with career planning before. The concept of career planning is sometimes misunderstood. Although finding fulfilling paid work is a substantial element of career, this element is best understood as part of a holistic journey; an ongoing thread that joins paid work with unpaid work, education, leisure, personal life and wider citizenship. Also, planning does not need to be linear; it can simply be putting some thought into developing career ideas, trying things out, reflecting on experiences and taking action towards developing and reaching your goals. This may sound a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be – there is plenty of support and resources available to make this ongoing process manageable.
A good way to get started can be to consider the question “What does success look like to me?” When people are asked this, a common response is that success means being happy – and this can look different for everyone. Building your self-awareness can help you consider this question effectively. So, what is self-awareness? It is being familiar with your skills, strengths, personality and values – not only what you already have, but also what you wish to develop. Utilising and developing these in your career is likely to motivate you and aid happiness! Find out more by watching this short ‘Self-awareness explained’ video.
Broadly speaking, there are three key ways to get to know yourself better – talking to others; taking self-assessments and personal reflection on your experiences so far. Here are some useful Career Assessments that could help you understand your motivations, preferences and values. It is then invaluable to follow this up by making an appointment with an Employability Adviser to discuss your findings and thoughts on a more personalised level. All students can make an appointment on UniHub, choosing a Careers topic such as ‘Making decisions about my career’ or ‘What can I do after my degree?’
Utilising these tools, and building your self-awareness is a valuable use of your time in the current climate – it can build a great foundation for your career plans going forward. However, be wary of too much introspection. Although there is uncertainty at this time, developing your self-awareness can also help you work on the things that you do have some control over and will help you start to answer the question posed in last week’s careers advice article – How would you like your Coronavirus era story to read?
Practical actions and small steps are an essential part of building self-awareness and you can reflect after each new experience. Our careers are how we shape our own lives, but also how we engage with and influence the world around us. So, even though you may be in isolation, try to keep reaching out to the world. For example, through paid roles, volunteering (could be from home), on-line learning or developing your online presence through social media such as LinkedIn.
In addition to booking in with an adviser, remember that we are also running a range of online careers workshops each month and you can book a place on UniHub Events.
Originally written by Laura Kerley, Employability Adviser, SHU Careers and Employability