This article will provide some basic advice on career planning and considering your options post-university. It will also provide information on where you can receive further advice and guidance.

Lots of students find it hard to identify what jobs appeal to them. This can be particularly difficult if you are studying a course that is academic rather than vocational. It’s important not to panic though, and remember that a job doesn’t have to be for life. In fact most graduates change jobs within two to three years of graduation. Don’t worry about trying to find something you will do till retirement – just something that will hold your interest for the next couple of years.

Career planning

Put simply, career planning is the process of organising your career ideas to make them achievable. To be effective, a career plan needs to involve a number of steps; it does not matter where you start in the process, so long as you consider all the steps along the way.

What do you need to consider when making your career plan?

  • Thinking about you – Consider what you want out of a job and what you have to offer. Think about your skills and talents and what careers line up with them.
  • Researching options – involves thinking about the options that are open to you and understanding how and where to research opportunities. For help with this, visit the Jobs and Work experience section for advice on searching for vacancies.
  • Making plans – involves thinking through possible options and making an action plan to help achieve your goals. You can start by using our tips on planning the action you need to take.
  • Visit our Career Planning section for further advice.
  • Taking action – involves reflecting on your skills, knowledge and experience and putting your plans into action by presenting yourself effectively on paper and in person. For help with this visit the CVs and Applications section on the Careers and Employability Service website.

Options after your course

One useful starting point for career planning is to look at some of the options that are open to graduates from your discipline. The options with your subject section of the Prospects website outlines how you can use your degree.

However, you may want to explore job roles or sectors that are not linked to your degree. That is perfectly acceptable, as many employers seek graduates from any discipline. Employers are interested in the skills and understanding that you have developed during your studies and they value what you have gained and the potential that you offer. Many employers will support you with on the job training and support to gain the specific knowledge for your role.

Identifying your skills

Knowing what skills you have to offer is an important step in the career planning process. This awareness will help you identify how well you match the requirements for a particular job role or employer, as well as what skills you still need to develop. You will also need to be able to outline and demonstrate your skills in any kind of written application and during an interview.

Thinking about the skills you have to offer involves looking at all aspects of your life including your academic studies, your work history (this includes work experience, work shadowing, paid / unpaid employment and voluntary work) as well as the things that you do in your social life such as membership of teams, societies or activities in your community.

You can find more guidance and information about career planning on the Careers and Employability Service website, along with a collection of external resources.

For many people, talking through their ideas and thoughts about their next steps can be really helpful. An appointment with a careers adviser as part of the Careers and Employability Service is the ideal way to receive tailored, in-depth advice, even if you have no ideas yet.

Where can I get further information and advice?

The Careers and Employability Service has a dedicated team of friendly, experienced advisers on hand to talk to you. You can drop-in to the Careers and Employability Centre at any time during our opening hours or call us on +44 (0) 23 9284 2684. You can also access a wide range of information and advice on our website at

How to Contact Us

Visit us at:

Careers and Employability Service

University of Portsmouth

28 Guildhall Walk



Opening hours:

Monday–Thursday: 8.30am–5pm

Friday: 8.30am–4pm


Telephone or Email:

t: +44 (0)23 9284 2684


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