By Careers Coach, Andrea Chambers
The current pandemic make these uncertain times. There are industries that have been impacted,
some more than others, and news reports constantly telling us that we are
entering a new recession. Amidst all of
this change and uncertainty you may find yourself wondering how you can make
However, it is exactly at times like this that we need to prepare and have a career plan. The economy will recover and some industries will recover faster than others. As employers start to look at recruitment they will value people who have been able to show resilience in these turbulent times and who know what their goals are and how to achieve these. So, how can you plan for your future?
Know your strengths
This is the time when you need to be determining what your skills, strengths and experiences are. Transferable skills are important. You may have developed these skills more than you give yourself credit for. Think about how you may have had to become more organised, independent in your learning or had to embrace new technology to access learning and so gained new digital skills.
Don’t forget about any work related experience you have gained and what skills you have developed from this. Not only will this help you to update your CV and social media profiles but it will help you to understand what is important to you in a job. This time may also have made you think about areas that you want to improve and this is often something you may be asked in an interview.
Know your options
An essential part of career planning is knowing what careers are right for you. Spend time building a list of careers that match your assessed list of skills. If you are unsure where to start use the Careers Coach tool on the College VLE – take an assessment to find out more about yourself and get more ideas of jobs and careers that might suit you. Find roles that match with as many of your personal attributes as possible.
Think about subjects you enjoy studying, environments you might like to work in and tasks you enjoy doing. Find out as much as you can about different careers. Use this time to explore, gather information and start to make decisions and set goals. There are lots of resources you can use to help with this with lots of job information or talk to a member of the Careers Team who can guide you through this process.
Some useful websites include The National Careers Service site https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/ and Prospects https://www.prospects.ac.uk/ both of which have lots of information on different careers. Remember, it is important to think about how jobs may be changing and think about areas that are likely to expand. Make sure you always have a Plan B – job search can always take unexpected turns and it is best to be prepared.
Know your next steps
Now you have determined your skills and your career aims it’s time to take some action. You have to be pro-active.
- Update your CV and social media profiles such as LinkedIn – make sure your skills match your career. In a virtual world, social media can be a crucial tool.
- Start networking. It’s OK to start with friends, family and work colleagues but set a target of contacting local employers in your chosen area of work to start to get an understanding of local opportunities. This is one of the most important things that you can be doing.
- Engage with the extra activities shared with you by your teaching team to speak with different employers, they may not be in your particular sector but they can give you lots of useful information about recruitment processes, expectations in the workplace and opportunities employees can benefit from.
- Plan your pathway through education, does the career you want need a degree for entry? Consider and plan for University, know your skills and strengths, what you are good at and enjoy then research your options. UCAS www.ucas.com is not only the application system for university it has a wide range of support and information you can use to make good decisions.
- Remember to regularly check all of the vacancy websites too such as the government Find An Apprenticeship site https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship you don’t want to miss that perfect opportunity.
If you don’t know where to start with this contact your Careers Team in college who can help to highlight some of the best places to be searching and can provide tips on how to tackle this. It’s not too early to be searching for opportunities now. Employers are already advertising apprenticeship vacancies for summer starts.
Remember. Be persistent. Reaching your goal can take time. Having a plan can help you to be successful. Good Luck!