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Where to begin Developing your career

Enhancing and managing your career is an ongoing process, not just something that you do when circumstances make it a necessity. Organisations will not do this for us. These articles have practical advice on being active in your career progression whatever stage you're at.

Continue to develop your strengths, abilities and skills; there are always opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Just started a new job or apprenticeship

You’re now where you wanted to be, in a new position. What will you do next? Make a good start in your new organisation by

  • getting to know who the key decision makers are and who needs to be kept on board
  • learning about its culture, know how things get done and how your personality and working style fit in
  • identifying and working towards achieving some short-term objectives
  • building up a new network of colleagues and customers, within and outside the organisation.

If you're an apprentice take time to understand the knowledge, skills and behaviour (standards or framework) you'll be developing. As you develop your Training plan part two, the individual learning plan, you'll be encouraged to consider how you can use the apprenticeship to progress towards your career aspirations. Your journey starts here (PDF, 1.76 MB) has practical activities to help you start to set goals and move towards them.

Getting the most out of an apprenticeship

Successfully completing an apprenticeship can be a challenge which will bring career rewards if you focus on your longer-term aims.

Prepare for and use your progress reviews to talk though your situation and discuss development opportunities. Take a look at Appraisals and career development to make the most of this process.

Use the evidence you're collecting towards the apprenticeship knowledge, skills and behaviours to review your CV.

Use the e-learning resources specifically designed for apprentices to actively plan your career.  You'll find more information about our careers tools and services, including how to manage your data, in About the Careers and Employability Services.

Apprentices can also book a careers consultation.

Get ahead in your current job

Even if you've been in your present job for some time don’t get stuck in a rut. You could

  • Make the most of existing opportunities such as internal training, appraisals or career development programmes and secondments into a different area or partner organisation.
  • Become involved in a project such as building a website, running a campaign or organising an event in a different area to develop skills and take on responsibility.
  • Develop your network of contacts.
  • Think about how you can consolidate your position, or prepare for a move if necessary.

Facing a job loss

There are positive steps you can take to plan for your next move even if you're facing redundancy.

The next five years

It's sensible to have in mind a plan for the next five to ten years of your career.

  • Think about what you want to achieve in the long term, identify short-term objectives to help you get there.
  • Track and manage your professional development using an action plan. Make sure your plan is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
  • Monitor your progress from time to time, revising your targets if necessary which can provide valuable information for your annual appraisal.
  • Be aware of factors that could affect your sector, perhaps read specialist magazines. The Federation of Industry Sector Skills and Standards and the National Guidance Research Forum give valuable information on employment trends across a range of areas. The Office for National Statistics reports on social trends in the UK.
  • Take on new challenges, either at work or in your leisure time.
  • Continue to learn, either formally or informally to develop your skills, knowledge and abilities whatever stage you are in your career.
Front cover of Your Career Planning Guide

Your Career Planning Guide

Deciding what you want to do with your career can feel like the start of an exciting journey, but it can also feel daunting if you're not sure where to start. Your Career Planning Guide (PDF 3.98MB) is available to all students, you'll need to be signed in to access the guide.

Last updated 4 months ago