Got a spare five minutes this summer? Quick wins for career clarity

If you put thinking about your career on your “I’ll do that in the summer” list, at some point during the busiest parts of the academic year, this blog post from Rebecca Clacy-Jones, Careers Consultant, is for you! Especially if, now that the summer has started, that list looks long and impenetrable alongside your internship /summer job/ adventure… and that all important rest and relaxation.

To make the most of the time that you have, here is a list of five actions that you can take, which each take five minutes to complete, to help you progress your career thinking over the summer (and the good news is, they can all be done from your sun lounger or on your lunch break!).

1. Five minute reflection – Get a pen, or a stylus or keyboard, and set a timer – break up your page with two headings: ‘What went well?’ and ‘What can I improve?’, and just jot down the first things that come into your head when you think about the last academic year. Consider your studies, but also social activities, part-time work, club or society memberships, sports and hobbies. Take a minute afterwards to read back what you have written, what patterns do you see? What does this tell you about your skills and strengths? What is important for next year?

2. Send an email (or two) – Send an email to someone you met last year who would be a valuable part of your network as you start to make career decisions – perhaps a visiting lecturer, an alumni you met at a careers event or your manager in your part-time job. Explain who you are, how you know them and thank them for their insight and ask if you can catch up to learn more about their career journey – you may start a conversation which inspires you or leads to a job or work experience opportunity.

3. Set up a podcast playlist – Podcasts are a time efficient way of learning about the jobs that people do and their career journeys, and understanding more about trends and developments in industries that interest you. Spend five minutes searching for career focused podcasts so that the next time you find yourself walking, running or doing chores with earphones in you can immerse yourself in some easy careers research. Some of my favourites which focus on career management include Squiggly Careers , Find Your Dream Job and The Future of Work.

4. Have a LinkedIn follow frenzy – There is no limit to the number of organisations, companies and industry bodies you can follow on LinkedIn and it’s a great way to fill your home feed with news and insights into industries or job roles that interest you. Start with a company you know, and then look at the ‘People also viewed’ box which often includes other organisations in that sector.

5. Register for Job Alerts – Choose five organisations who interest you, excite you or whose products or services you love, and sign up to email mailing lists on the careers section of their website, even if you aren’t currently job hunting. When the jobs arrive in your inbox, you will get a sense of what excites you or interests you, and the skills and experience you would need to apply.

Remember, the Careers Service is open throughout the summer and is here for you – on campus and online.

For more tips and ideas, visit the Careers Service website where you can access a wide range of career planning resources, including our Career Compass toolkits.

(Image credit: Canva)


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