Introduction to how to choose a career
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
Many students don't have much time to spend in career planning during their degree course. You may be too busy working to earn money to pay your way through university, or perhaps you are a mature student with a young family that you need to support. You may be too busy to regularly visit the Careers Service. These pages will allow you to do much of this career planning via the web.
First let's look at what factors go into choosing a career:
Choosing a career involves 4 main stages:
- Self Awareness
- Opportunity Awareness
- Decision Making
- Taking Action
Sometimes these stages will overlap and sometimes you have to return to a previous stage Be aware the cycle is not always as linear and consistent as it is presented here.
The first stage of Career Choice is Self Awareness. This involves looking at your SKILLS, VALUES, INTERESTS and PERSONALITY and analysing where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This is important both in choosing the right career and also for success in applications and interviews where you will find many questions which test whether you have been through this process.
You can start with looking at your SKILLS here. You can now also look at your INTERESTS , VALUES and PERSONAL STYLES on the web.
Once you have done some preliminary self analysis, the next stage is to gather information on the opportunities open to you. There is a range of resources to help you here:
There is a range of general careers talks each term which are listed here
There may also be specific careers education programmes for your degree subject, usually during your second year of study.
Information on what you can do with your degree subject
A major recruiter of graduates, annoyed with the great expense of running their annual graduate recruitment programme, decided on a radical new approach to save money. When the student arrived for interview they were taken to a room with just a table and two chairs. They were then left alone for two hours for two hours, without any instructions. At the end of that time, the HR manager went back and see what the student was doing.
If they had taken the table apart, they were put in Engineering.
Many jobs are open to graduates of any degree subject, and it's important not to only focus on the jobs related to your degree, but if you are doing a vocational degree, or simply want to find out what previous Kent graduates in your subject have gone on to do, the following resources should help.
Early in your course you should look at the Work Experience open to you. As well as allowing you to earn money, they may allow you to gain relevant skills and perhaps an insight into the types of job you are interested in, putting you at the head of the queue when you eventually apply for jobs.
The Careers Information Room has a wide variety of booklets, reference files, books, DVD's and computer programmes you can use.
You may like to enter Postgraduate Study instead of directly entering a job, or it may be required for a particular career such as law or teaching. Here it may be important to apply early in your final year and to look at whether funding will be available to pay for the course.
INFORMATION FOR SPECIFIC GROUPS
We try to cater for all Kent students whatever their needs: Mature Students, Students with Disabilities, International Students, Ethnic Minority Students, Women Students. Sometimes this may affect your career choice - for example, mature students often enter public sector jobs and the helping careers where greater life experience may be to their advantage.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKBOOKS
Unusual jobs entered by Kent graduates
- "Career Management Skills" - a profiling and self-awareness booklet for 1st Year students. See our web version
- "Postgraduates and Contract Researchers" - a booklet specifically for these groups. See our Web version.
The computer programs below allow you to put in a number of factors on what you want in a career (such as helping others, promotion prospects) and will give suggestions of possible careers which might match these. Regard these as useful suggestions rather than gospel truth, but they should bring up some possibilities that you haven't considered before.
Prospects Planner www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Pplanner is a powerful program to help you choose a graduate career. It allows you to answer questions about your values and interests and then to relate these to a database of hundreds of occupations to get suggestions on appropriate careers.
Alternatively Careers Explorer is a quick and simple program which will also suggest graduate careers
Talk to graduates already working in your chosen career area. You can use the Kent Alumni Careers Network to contact a graduate directly. Work shadowing (spending a day with) a person in the career you are considering is the next best thing to actually doing a job, to find out what it is like. If you have done this, you will come across as much better prepared at interviews.
Of course, the other important part in making decisions is discussing it with other people. Friends, family and tutors can all play an important part here . The Duty Careers Adviser is available every day without an appointment for a short discussion and can often help to inject reality into your ideas for example, pointing out that you may need to fund your way through a postgraduate course to enter your chosen career.
This is the final process of career planning. It involves:
First look at the Timeline, which gives you an idea of what you should be doing when during your time at UKC in terms of Career Planning.
Sometimes you may have to return to previous stages in the process, for example, if you are not able to get into your first choice career
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
From Steve Jobs address to Stanford University graduates in 2005
The essay should not be the most dreaded part of the application process for any university. Maybe these tips will help you find that you can do this writing task with ease.
1. Tell Your Story In Your Own Voice.
Now is the time to market yourself to the best of your ability. Your college essay gives our admissions officers an insight into what makes you unique beyond your high school grades, test scores and extracurriculars. Your essay tells us how you will add something to UF’s freshman class, what you can bring to our community of leaders, learners and thinkers, and what sets you apart. This is the story of YOU!
2. Does the Essay Matter?
UF will receive more than 30,000 applications for the approximate 6,500 seats in the freshman class. There will be many outstanding students with similar scores and grades—too many to admit. Your essay helps us learn what makes you unique from other equally talented students.
3. Who Reads ‘Em?
Various officers throughout the UF Division of Enrollment Management are trained to read essays, and each essay will be read at least twice by randomly assigned readers. Keep in mind that these individuals may read more than a thousand essays, so it is important to try to catch the readers’ attention quickly with the most interesting example or point at the beginning of the essay. Here’s an example:
When I was in high school, I played the violin in the high school band. It was my favorite activity, and I never missed a practice or a performance. But one day, to my horror, I left my thousand-dollar violin on the school bus…
(from the book, Heavenly Essays)
4. Make the Story Unique to You
If you believe 10 or 20 or 100 students could write your exact essay, then it’s time to rethink your topic. Work on being distinctive. Here are some overused topics that essay readers have seen many (many) times:
- Winning or losing the big game
- Loss of friendships or relationships
- Critiques of others (classmates, parents)
- Pet deaths
- Summer vacations
Think about what you would say in three to five minutes to a total stranger to impress or inform them about your terrific qualities or unusual experiences.
5. Show and Tell—Be Vivid with Your Words
If you recall show and tell at school, your essay should follow the same principle. Remember when the student went to the front of the class with something of interest inside the plastic sack? You hear the story. You see the object. With essays, you need to draw the reader out beyond the straight text and use words that trigger imagery and the senses.
6. Big Words Are Just Big Words.
Impress us with your content and who you are; not your ability to use a thesaurus. Most of our readers would prefer if you wrote, “I hung out with a group of friends” instead of, “we congregated as a conglomerate of like-minded individuals”.
7. Don’t Repeat.
Don’t repeat what you’ve already supplied in your application—grades, test scores, etc. Your essay serves to fill in the blanks beyond what you have supplied.
8. This is your essay, not your English class.
We will be reading your essay more for your words and information and less for your grammar. We know you’ve learned to limit use of contractions, eliminate sentence fragments and not to split your infinitives. However, no text-lingo, such as “lol” “ttyl” “kk” etc. We won’t judge you heavily on grammar, but we ask that you keep it appropriately professional. Pick up a best-selling book, and you’ll find that many authors no longer write by the rules. It’s your story that counts!
9. Have Someone Else Read It.
It’s always wise to have someone else read your draft before you submit your essay. You’ll be much more relieved knowing you submitted your very best work.
10. Now, go fine tune your drafts, tell us your story and be confident in your submission.
If you follow these tips, they will take you far on the UF application.
University of Florida’s Current Essay Topics
- Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
- Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
- Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
- What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
- Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.