In this blog, Jane Ansell and Emily Packer, Careers Consultants here at the CS, offer some key resources you can use from your Careers Service to support your planning over the Winter break
It’s important to remember this is a break and if you feel that you need to take time to recuperate and rest, then that’s an important step to making plans that will last. Our resources will be here for you in the New Year too – so take a break if you need to.
If you have been waiting for this break to get going with your plans – whatever they may be – we have something to support you. If you are new to using the service, here is our welcome video on YouTube.
Staying local this Winter?
If you are planning on spending time in Cambridge over the Winter holidays, have a look at the Cambridge SU Winter Holiday Activity Guide. The guide contains information about things to do in Cambridge and beyond, including activities provided by students for students. It is a live document and will be updated on a daily basis with more activities.
1. Start where you are!
Your stage of study often has little to do with certainty about your future. Whether you are in your first year or coming to the end of your PhD, you may be absolutely sure about your future plans or not have a clue where to start (or somewhere in between!).
2. Get to know yourself
Maybe you are sure that you know what your interests are, your strengths and weaknesses – but it doesn’t hurt to do a skills and strengths MOT from time to time. Good planning often starts with knowing who you are and what you have to offer.
Perhaps you are wondering how you are developing skills on your degree? If you are, we have a playlist that talks you through how you build skills on your degree and the range of skills that employers value.
3. Take small steps for big results
When we are planning our future, especially when we feel we are on a deadline, it can seem that if everything doesn’t happen at once, then nothing is happening at all. If you have some time to focus on your planning over the break – it is best to do it in small steps, particularly if you are making a big decision.
Our Career Essentials programme on YouTube, and live on Handshake during term, can help with most aspects of the process. Here we share some specific resources to help you focus:
- Use our ‘Exploring your options’ toolkits alongside our ‘How to pick a career’ playlist to focus on your career planning.
- If you are feeling stuck and can’t move forward, our ‘The Four Cs of Career Adaptability’ series can support you to move on from a place of concern.
- If you are looking to learn more about a sector, the you can start with our ‘Sector A-Z’ and then move on to our Sector Information playlists on YouTube, including podcasts for academic careers, environmental careers, law and much, much more.
- Our digital publications include sector and employer guides too, you can find these by visiting our ‘Key resources and tools’ page and selecting ‘Graduate Digital Publications’. You’ll find a link to our regular blog site here too, including our career blog on working internationally and our blog from a recent alum, Helena, on a career in the Arts.
- Looking for advice on building a career when in your role? Changing career or being yourself at work? Check out the career journeys of these graduates in our Black Career Journeys playlist.
4. Make connections
Building a network of contacts can help you discover the types of work that will suit you, give you insight into what a job is like day-to-day and even lead to opportunities for work experience or employment. Watch our Career Essentials: Building Your Network YouTube videos to get started.
If you have a good idea of where your heading, or if you’re looking for inspiration as to which area of work may suit you, it can be useful to talk to those already working in your areas of interest. An excellent place to start is the Cambridge alumni group on LinkedIn. Choose a keyword, organisation or job title – it’s a great way to discover how people got started in their career, what certain jobs are like, and how the sector they work in really ticks.
Discover more ways to make contacts from our Networking pages, as well as suggestions on how to make that first approach and the types of questions to ask.
5. Brush up your CV
Time out from studies during the vacation can be a good opportunity to give your CV an (early!) spring clean. Although you’ll need to tailor it for each individual application, it can be useful to have a good general CV to start with, that you can then make changes to, when the need arises. See our Career Essential: Successful CVs YouTube videos for some guidance and the latest CV Guide for real-life examples and helpful suggestions.
You’re very welcome to discuss your CV with one of our Careers Consultants (see our opening times below) but you might like to use CareerSet first – an online CV optimisation platform, which enables you to submit your CV 24/7 and receive an instant overall score plus suggestions for improvement.
And if you’re looking at advertised jobs or internships over the festive period, remember to check Handshake regularly. It’s not all about grad schemes in Michaelmas – employers from many sectors advertise throughout the year.
Watch our Career Essential: Smart job searching YouTube playlist to make sure you maximise your search, from finding employer inspiration, looking for sector specific roles, and using social media.
As we said, it’s as equally important to take a break as it is to plan your career, so however you spend the festive period, have a happy and healthy vacation!
Careers Service opening hours over the break: we’ll continue to be available online until 5pm on the 23rd of December, and reopen 9am on the 3rd of January. We will reopen in person at the Student Services Centre on the 9th January when appointments will resume.