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… or 3 possible ways of planning your future…

Now you have explored both yourself and opportunities out in the wide world it’s time to try and match those and find out what our next move can be.

If you used Startprofile or the Career Quiz on the Prospects website you will have worked towards matching your interests with potential career paths already. As mentioned, they only provide a starting point for exploration. They don’t offer a ‘fixed point’ and you have to use your own creativity and interactions with the world around you to verify any option or to open op and confirm real possibilities. 

In turn, most of what we have done on the previous page makes most sense if you are prepared and open to considering a career path already, which is not always self evident.

In an abstract way there are two ways of deciding on a course for university. This applies slightly less to postgraduate applicants as postgraduate studies are often a specialisation of what you have done in life so far. Of course, this especially applies to a Phd/Doctorate. Postgraduate courses especially, open up opportunities for ‘happenstance’, networking and development while at the same time offering direction of some kind. They are more linked to the third way at the bottom of this page. 

As always, what you find here is a gross simplification and is merely a starting point for helping you think creatively about your future and its myriad of possibilities. 

Two options for choosing your course:

  1. you have a good idea of what career path you would like to get into and you could choose a course that fits in with that plan. 
  2. you have only a basic or no idea of what career you would like to go into. You could choose a course that fits in with your general interests. If you choose well, using the tool on the previous page, then at least you are doing something at university which you like doing. This could eventually lead on to a further course you like or a career you like which is linked in with your initial course choice. 

In my view (but feel free to disagree!) both of these options are valid for choosing your path forward. We’re not all the same. Some of us know exactly where we are going to go next, some of us make up our minds later on or just let opportunities almost organically develop. Plan entire career route at once:

  •  you know what career you would like to embark on
  •  you explore your career idea
  •  you plan your different steps back to where you are now
  •  you enrol on the course that fits in best with your plan

Plan step by step:

  •  you are not clear on what career path you would like to follow
  •  you decide on which course fits in best with your interests, personality, talent, abilities etc…
  •  you enrol on a suitable course
  •  while you are on the course you find further interests or specialisms
  •  you explore courses that fit in with those
  •  you plan and take the next step that fits in
  •  gradually you move towards a career path that fits in with your interests

More information, suggestions and ideas can be found in the ‘Education system’ section on this website.

A third way to engage with your future after university:

Of course, both of the methods above are possible techniques for planning your future when you have left university as well. Life is not always that simple however, and as we have seen on the previous page, opportunities play an important role. Sometimes (some argue most of the time!) luck, happenstance, serendipity… call it what you will… also plays an important role. I would be keen to add a third way of ‘planning’ your future, one in which it is important to network, increase your professional and social circle, open yourself to the world out there and its opportunities, to be creative and not follow well trodden paths… More tips and ideas of how to increase your ‘luck’ can be found on the ‘Moving on’ pages on this website. 

Important in all of this is:

  •  keep an open mind to possibilities
  •  be creative
  •  be confident and courageous
  •  open your ears and eyes all the time
  •  think carefully on how you can increase your propensity to being ‘lucky’