Planning a Pathway to your Career Destination – How do I get there?
By Joe O'Brien, on 11 June 2020
Read time: 3 minutes
Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.
It can be difficult working out what career path to follow. UCL Careers is here to help you and can offer assistance with mapping possible career pathways that may suit you. However, sometimes even if you know where you want to end up it can be tricky figuring out how to get there.
In this blog I’ll be discussing some useful techniques and resources you can use to get yourself where you want to be.
- Use online networking platforms
We’ve spoken about the importance of networking from home in a previous blog post and using the platforms listed is an ideal way to reach out to those working in the area you’re interested in. In addition, plenty of information can be obtained through simply viewing profiles and seeing different career pathways people have taken. This doesn’t need to be a blueprint for you to follow exactly but seeing suggestions of the type of positions that might be suitable for you at certain stages in your career can prove extremely useful. For example, seeing internships that others have done or learning about their graduate entry roles, you will start to understand potential pathways.
Tip: When searching for suitable profiles on LinkedIn, consider searching for particular organisations of interest and then viewing the ‘People’ section, or alternatively use ‘UCL Alumni’ as a guide to your search, using the filters made available to you to narrow down your search.
- Using sector guides and job profiles
Graduate job profile sites such as Prospects and Target Jobs are great resources to visit to find out about popular destinations for graduates, but they can also be useful when researching a role later in your career. Looking at the graduate level profiles can offer suggestions for career progression and personal development. Often these will state what the training opportunities may be like and where that role can take you. In addition, you can search for more senior positions and this will offer guidance on how you get to that level and the qualifications you may need. Gaining information from these sections can inform you of the necessary steps you may need to take to pursue a career in this area.
Tip: Take a look at the ‘Employers’ section of those relevant job profiles as they often mention some of the major employers in that sector. You may also want to make a note of any professional associations that are mentioned under the ‘Qualification’ or ‘Professional Development’ section who offer support in those industries of interest.
- Search for case studies
Another reliable source of careers information is case studies. This will enable you to learn about the real life career pathways of professionals and what’s motivated them along the way. You may find such profiles on career sections of particular organisation websites, so be sure to check those companies you’re eager to work for. If organisations of interest don’t have designated careers sections to their websites, you might find useful case studies on university websites, such as the Case Studies webpage one that can be found on the UCL Careers website. Finally, association, institution and society bodies are a great source of profiles and case studies as they highlight the variety of roles available within a certain industry. As mentioned, many case studies will talk about the careers journey of individuals and how they got to where they are today. While their career pathway will be unique to their circumstances, you may be able to draw inspiration and insights about potential pathways that would be viable for you.
Tip: Make the most of associated bodies and supporting organisations that work in the areas you’re interested in. They will often have designated careers sections of their websites and may be running future events that would be of interest to you.
These are just some suggestions of how you can work back from an end destination to help you consider your possible career pathway. Using resources readily available online is certainly useful, but do also take any opportunity to reach out to individuals working in those industries of interest, as they may be able to offer specific advice relating to your situation. You may find our CareersLab episode on Mastering Online Careers Networking on helpful for advice on the best ways to reach out to individuals. Of course if you’d like to talk about your career pathway with someone from UCL Careers, please do book an appointment with us to discuss your options.