- August 5, 2019
- Posted by: Chris Davies
- Category: Career Advice
Are you a recent graduate? Perhaps you’re wondering how to discover your career path after university? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Over the past 10 years, I’ve coached 500+ students and graduates. I’ve helped them to essentially turn their degrees into careers, and get employed by great companies!
However, at the beginning of their coaching journey, the majority of candidates haven’t got a clue when it comes to what career is right for them.
So it’s my job to help them to discover what graduate job is right for them. In this post, I’ll be sharing some useful tips on how to discover your career path after university.
Identify your skills
Regardless of whether you’ve gained work experience or not, you will have gained skills at university. So, take some time to list out the skills you’ve gained so far.
At this point, even though you might not know what career is right for you, you can still complete this activity.
This is usually one of the first activities I walk students and graduates through during one-to-one coaching sessions. No matter what graduate job you apply for, all employers will look for these six key skills:
- Organising and planning
- Working on your own initiative
So even if you don’t know what career path is right for you at this point, you should be able to demonstrate the skills above. You’ll have gained these skills from:
- Your course: For example, you will have developed teamwork skills when working on group assessments
- Extracurricular activities: For example, maybe you gained organisational skills from taking part in Raise and Give (RAG) or being president of a society at university
- Employment or work experience: For example, you’ll have used your own initiative in the workplace
Demonstrating your skills
The aim is to be able to clearly articulate to your interviewer that you have the six key skills above. And, this is where the STAR method comes in. STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, result.
The STAR method is a structured way of responding to a behavioural based interview question. Practising the STAR method will be very useful when it comes to preparing for your interviews. Here are some tips for using the star method:
- Be as specific as possible with your answers. Waffling and giving long drawn out responses will make you come across as less confident
- Use figures to quantify your results. For example, if you worked in a business development role state how much you increased revenue by. If you’ve worked in a sales role state the number of sales you made.
Work out your career typology
There are several different graduate job titles you may come across when deciding on a career path. This can be very overwhelming to many graduates.
One way to work out what type of graduate job is right for you is to categorise all graduate jobs into smaller groups. Then, you can see which category you identify with the most. The three career typologies are:
- Specialist: Specialist roles focussing on a core expertise. For example: Engineer, Scientist, Doctor, Coder
- Knowledge architect: Roles where you’ll interpret data and deliver insights from that data. Examples: Planners (of all types), Finance, Consultancy, Logistics, Marketing
- Communicator: Roles where you forge strong relationships with either external or internal clients. Examples: Advertising account people, Salespeople, Hospitality employees
Having an understanding of what career typology you align to will help you see which graduate roles will suit your skills.
Match your career typology to your interests and ambitions
Once you identify your skills and are able to demonstrate to employers how they’re valuable, the next step is to make a list of the job titles that align with your job type.
If you are a communicator, for example, your list might include roles related to sales, PR, etc. Once you have a list of job titles that align with your job type, have a think about your interests and ambitions.
Just because you suit a role, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy it. So list out your interests and ambitions. This will help you to shortlist the graduate roles that you’ll apply for.
Once you have a shortlist of the types of roles you’re suited to, the next step is to work on creating an achievement-based CV that reflects all of the points covered in this post.
How to discover your career path: summary
Many graduates overlook the importance of discovering their career path. Oftentimes, when they do omit this stage, they ‘panic apply’ to any job opening and hope for the best.
But this approach yields little success as graduate recruiters are trained to identify genuine motivation and the right match for the role. So I hope this post has emphasised the importance of the process of discovering your career path. Good luck!