students writing on a big sheet of paper

No ideas about which direction? There are plenty of resources to help you decide.

Download our guide What career species are you?

Career research and planning

Getting started

The choices you make now, or after graduation, are important but will not always restrict your future prospects. Most people change their career several times, often quite soon after graduating.

Below is a good approach to help you start thinking about finding a career that will suit you.

Step 1: What am I looking for?

Having a clear idea about what motivates you is fundamental. Start by asking yourself what features of a job you would like. You may wish to use the content of your degree when you start work, or be equally keen to avoid the subject.

Consider the following:

  • Do you want a varied workload?
  • Do you want to travel, to manage others, to be an expert?
  • How much do you want to earn?
  • How important is work/life balance?

Step 2: What do I have to offer?

Knowing your skills and personality type is also important as this will help you towards suitable careers. Think about how you would describe yourself – for example, co-operative, creative, sociable, enterprising. Also consider what skills you possess – using numbers, technical skills, understanding people, being logical, influencing others, using computers, solving problems. Consider how you can demonstrate these skills.

Understanding Steps 1 and 2 is important both to help you choose a suitable career and also because employers and course providers will expect you to show motivation and evidence of your potential when you make applications.

Step 3: Find the occupation to match

You're now ready to start looking for occupations that fit. It is likely that several occupations will offer some things you seek and match your skills and personality, so you may have to narrow down your choices.

There are plenty of resources available: 

  • Come and see us in Exeter and Cornwall - our Information Teams will be on-hand to help you find useful resources
  • Take a look at our Resources
  • See our section What can I do with my degree?
  • Research a range of Employment sectors
  • Talk and listen to people involved indifferent types of work. You can do this by using Exeter alumni, networking, and attending careers fairs and employer presentations. See eXepert (careers Q&A) and Career Mentor Scheme.
  • Try and find an internship with an organisation in a relevant sector
  • Prospects Planner can help you identify what you want out of a job and generate job ideas. Find out what motivates you in a job; identify your skills and what you can offer to the job/employer and see how these match the jobs you are considering

No idea what you'd like to do?

Talk to us about career research and planning

Our Information Team is happy to talk to you about getting started in researching your career options.
Also, before booking a twenty minute appointment with a Careers Consultant via 'My Career Zone' please make sure you have:

  • Worked through Steps 1, 2 and 3 above: using Prospects Planner or Targetjobs Careers Report, which will help you think through these important stages in a structured manner, particularly if you are really struggling with how to get started.

When you have completed these steps you can Book an appointment