Whether you’re a first year with big dreams, or a final year considering life after graduation, we can help you make the first steps towards your future career.
What does 'career planning' mean?
It's a phrase you will find on our website, but what does it actually mean? A career plan usually involves working towards short and long term career goals and aspirations. Doing this may result you making certain decisions, such as picking particular modules at Brunel or joining certain societies and extra-curricular activities, making you a more desirable candidate to specific employers. Your careers consultant can help you create a career plan during a careers appointment.
As well as creating a career plan, we can help you
- move on from your part-time job or internship
- change careers or secure a job in another industry
- draft your CV for the first time
Sometimes students come to us with a specific career goal or job in mind. It is important to remember that not all sectors will have direct or instant promotions. To get from one job to another, you may have to take an entry level role before moving on to higher postitions. This may be something to think about when making your own career plan.
However, the idea of having your career planned out until you retire or working in one industry is not as common as it once was. Nowadays, many people take up jobs that are in completely different sectors to their degree decipline. It's perfectly fine to not know what you want to do. Take a look at our what can I do with my degree tab, which shows the options open to you as a student or recent graduate.
Make your time at Brunel count
Though we can help you plan your career through one-to-one appointments, we also host a range of activities on campus that will help you, including online workshops, 'Uncovered' events and Employer in the Foyer pop ups in the Bannerman Foyer. They offer the opportunity to ask questions about the industry and the skills required of students applying to certain roles. Look at our events page and attend as many as you can. We also post events weekly on Instagram, so it's worth following us to stay updated with the latest careers events on campus.
Thinking sensibly about your options now will help you in today’s competitive climate.
So, what can you do?
Step 1: Get to know yourself
A key part of knowing yourself is understanding:
- The skills and qualities you have to offer.
- The activities that interest, enthuse, and fulfil your ambitions.
- What energises you and helps you to take in information, make decisions, and tackle the challenges life throws at you.
- How other people see you.
For many people, getting to know themselves is a challenging process. Watch our 'Know Yourself to Sell Yourself' video on our Careers Pick 'N' Mix playlist to help you get started.
There are also many websites that can help develop the self-awareness you need to inform your early career decisions.
- HumanMetrics is based on Carl Jung and Isabel Myers-Briggs typological approach to personality.
- Keirsey.com offers a type-based personality theory. This site provides information about the theory and enables you to take The Keirsey Temperament Sorter test. Upon completion, you receive a mini report with the option to purchase a more detailed version.
- Team Technology offer a personality questionnaire based on the Myers-Briggs model. You will receive a results report and have the option to pay to take further tests.
Step 2: Consider your options
When you understand your strengths, skills, motivations and interests, you'll find it easier to consider your options.
- Research and evaluate different career options by weighing up the pros and cons of each. Consider whether these are career options you can build on and develop in the future.
- Explore how your choices relate to your interests, skills, and your personal priorities.
- Start thinking practically about the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. Do you lack any qualifications or experience that will need to be obtained? Will you need to develop certain skills in order to get ahead?
The Brunel Academic Skills (ASK) Support can help you improve your maths and numeracy skills through workshops or drop-ins for individuals. Visit their website to browse useful resources.
If you need help making choices then visit Mindtools, an organisation which offers resources to help you manage your career successfully, including a free package on making decisions.
Find out more
- Seek help from the PDC – use our website and reference books, talk to your Careers Consultant, or attend the different events that we organise.
- Use a computerised careers guidance system such as Prospects Career Planner: an easy-to-use interactive computer system, designed to help you explore key aspects of careers planning in a systematic way.
- Also try TARGETjobs Careers Report (registration required): a similar system helping identify careers which match your interests, skills and abilities, and which also gives you the chance to take psychometric tests and see where you stand against other graduates.
Step 3: See what's out there
Start researching the careers that interest you in more detail.
- Look beyond the large companies – focus on small and medium sized employers (SME) as well. The 'big blue chip' companies that offer graduate training programmes attract lots of attention but there are plenty of other recruiters, equally keen to employ graduates, without the resources to advertise as widely.
- Find out what careers are possible with your degree by visiting our Industry A-Z and the What can I do with my degree page on the Prospects website.
The PDC has free publications for you to take away giving information on graduate careers and industry sectors such as law, accountancy, engineering and finance. We also have a range of reference books including guides on how to get into industries such as media, finance and charity work. All books are available for students to use in the PDC premises, but for students registered with the Disability & Dyslexia Service, it is possible to arrange a short loan.
Step 4: Find employers and job vacancies
Finally, now you're ready to start looking for employers and job vacancies.
- Your first place to look should be our Jobs Board. We advertise hundreds of graduate, part-time and voluntary work vacancies, available exclusively to Brunel students and graduates.
- Free employer directories such as Prospects and TARGETjobs are available in our reception from the start of each academic year. You can also pick up a copy of the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers to see a breakdown of the career areas in which top employers are recruiting.
- Attend Careers Fairs on campus. These are open to all students and graduates, and present a great opportunity to find out what recruiters are offering, what they expect from you, and how to stand out from the rest.
- Join a professional networking site such as LinkedIn - setting up your own profile. Many large employers use the site to engage with potential graduate recruits. You can join interest groups, search for vacancies, and get involved in forums online.
Researching employers and specific careers is fundamental to making good career choices. Use the Industry A-Z to help you find information on a wide range of careers and industries.
We are here to help you at every step, so if you need help or advice, book an appoinment.
As soon as you begin your studies at Brunel, you can contact your specialist careers consultant, who will help you with anything career related up to three years after graduation.
There are two ways to meet individually with a Careers Consultant – either through a Quick Query appointment or a Careers appointment. These can be made through our online booking portal.
Quick query appointments
These appointments are 15 minutes long and are only bookable on the day. They are covered on a rota basis and a typical discussion may include:
- CV, application or cover letter review
- Skill development opportunities – including the Ready programme and Brunel+
- Work or study internationally
- Postgraduate study
- Work experience or internships
If you would like a long appointment or have a specific enquiry about career options related to your subject, you may find it useful to book a 30 minute Careers Appointment to see your specialist Careers Consultant.
If you can't make it on to campus, you have the option of choosing an email, Skype or telephone appointment.
To find out who your specialist careers consultant is, use our Meet the Team page.
There is often a high demand for careers appointments, so please be patient if there are no slots currently available to book. New appointment slots are released regularly so please keep checking for the latest availablity and to see if there have been any cancellations. It might be worth booking a quick query appointment first if you cannot book a careers appointment.
...but what if I don't have a career in mind yet?
That doesn't matter! Part of our job is to help you identify what you want to do after your degree as you progress through your studies at Brunel. Book an appointment with us and we will help you get started.
We don't just help you write your CV!
We can assist you with a whole range of other career related queries. For example, if you need to prepare for an upcoming interview, we can set up face-to-face and online interviews, giving you personalised feedback before your real interview. We also help with psychometric testing, improving your LinkedIn profile and working and studying in the UK and internationally.
What are my career options?
Do you know what you want to do with your degree? Don’t worry if you don’t know or are still weighing up your options: this is normal. Careers Consultants will help you to identify career ideas relating to your degree as well as your interests, values, skills and experience. If you have a clear idea of where you want to be, we can work with you to develop industry contacts and source work experience opportunities.
I want to get relevant experience
We can advise on how to secure course-related work experience and extra-curricular activity that will enhance your employability as a graduate.
We have strong links with contacts working in a number of industries and professions to ensure you receive information, advice and guidance that meets your individual needs.
How do I market myself to employers?
We will help you to identify your skills and to articulate these to employers in your CV and applications and through interviews and assessment centres.
I'm interested in postgraduate study
We can help you assess the benefits of postgraduate qualifications as well as support you through the application process, including providing advice about personal statements.
See our Statement of Service for information on our guidance policies