As we finally start to move tentatively on from Covid times, it’s important to have a clear idea where you want to get to after College and beyond.
It’s not that you have to know exactly what you want to do up until the day you retire – but some good planning now, can prevent some mis-steps and costly dead-ends.
Some industries are still struggling to recover from the pandemic, whilst others are booming and struggling to recruit. 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 just 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 (FAB Futures) 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.