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Career Planning for Students - Getting Started


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Career Planning for students– Getting Started

How many people have ever sat down and completed a serious career plan? A few perhaps, but most people are happy to just go along with it and see where they end up. It’s even more difficult to do when you’re a student; how can you really know what you are going to want to do in ten months’ time, let alone ten years? But career plans could be your way forward – something to help keep focus on specific goals.

Decide on what you want from your career

Money? Personal fulfilment? Doing something you really love? Whatever motivates you in your day-to-day life could well be what motivates you in future. If you can’t decide on a particular role, think about what will motivate you to get out of bed in the morning. It could be that you want to be rich, in which case think about what will pay you best. Alternatively, if you want to feel like you’ve really made a difference to other people when you get home at night, then think about a career which will allow you to do this.

Pick an industry

Deciding on an industry is not easy. Finance, transport, mining, construction – the list is almost endless. Focusing on a particular area will be of real benefit, particularly when you first set out. It will allow you to focus your training and to only go for jobs that will help you along the way rather than applying for everything. Remember, the earlier you start climbing that ladder, the easier it will be.


Researching your future career will be a big help when you are trying to achieve it. Once you have decided what you want, or what industry you would like to work in, learn as much as possible about it to make sure you have the best chance of succeeding. Many careers have hidden aspects and alternative ways in that people who aren’t ‘in the know’ find difficult to understand – industry bodies can be a great way to get some free advice. Doing research is never wasted!

Ask around

There is no way of really knowing what a career will be like before you’ve started. By asking people who already work in industries, you will be able to get some idea. If you can’t find anyone, why not consider contacting companies directly and ask them what they look for in potential employees.

Get experience

Work experience and internships are often dull and unpaid. However, they can be a great way of learning about a profession, even if it just means watching those who already work in it. It will also help you to decide firstly if you want to continue along this particular path and secondly how to get there.

Think about further training

Most people love being a student. All that spare time and free choice really makes university worthwhile. However, many people are happy when the process comes to an end – it means they can get a job and even think about becoming self-sufficient. Perhaps that’s the reason why so few people want to carry on training after they have graduated. However, doing further training can give you the edge over rivals, so it is worth considering, particularly if you have a specific goal in mind as part of your plan.

Write it down

Writing down your career goals will help you focus on them and give you a clearer idea of areas which you are unsure about. For example, writing down that you want to be a doctor will help you focus, but it will also make it clear if you do not know how to get there. Mapping out the rest of your life simply becomes filling in the blanks.

Set dates

Ok, so this is a little extreme. Setting dates and time limits on things may help you move along a career path more quickly. It will undoubtedly make sure you know what is involved in getting to the goal you are aiming for. These dates only need to be a guide - just enough to ensure you keep moving forward.

Update your goals at least once a year

It is inevitable as you progress you will need to adapt your goals slightly, not least because you will be in a better position to decide if they were realistic. This will also help you refocus on how much have you achieved, how much further do you have to go and what should you do differently.

Stick to your plans

However hard you work , and however much you want to succeed, it is likely that you will suffer setbacks at some point. Don’t let this get you down, but just keep going. Over the long term you will move forward even if you have the occasional setback.

Don’t forget to visit our Training and Development page for more information about working in the resources industry.

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