What to do if you don't know what to do

Posted in: Career Choice, Career Development

You might be surprised to learn that "I don't know what I want to do" is something we hear all the time in the Careers Service. Many students and graduates struggle with the process of choosing a job or career.

If this applies to you - you are certainly not alone. And while you might not have figured things out yet - you will. And the Careers Service is here to help you.

So read on for some practical tips to help you .

I am 100% certain that I am 0% sure of what I'm going to do - Chris Traeger, Parks and Recreation

Knowing me, knowing you(r career)

Understanding more about yourself is central to choosing a career. Consider your skills, interests, strengths, personality, and values to help make choices, identify areas for development and sell yourself. Finding a career well-matched to these aspects of yourself will enable you to be your authentic self at work.

You can do this just by reflecting on the aspects of yourself and thinking about what you are good at, what you don't enjoy etc. But if you'd like to try out some quizzes to help you - Prospects offers two good options.

Prospects offers two 'What job would suit me?' quizzes. These can help you reflect on what you want to get out of your career and inspire you with options you may not have considered.

Go to Prospects 'What job would suit me' 

I have a dream (job)

Exploring potential career options is another great way to figure out what you might want to do. It may be your dream job is something you didn't know existed.

A good way to start is to look at options using your degree. What do Bath graduates do? can show you what other Bath students have gone on to do. And Prospects - what can I do with my degree? can give you other inspiration. 

Of course your degree doesn't have to define you. Lots of graduate vacancies don't specify a particular degree subject. Try exploring job profiles and sector information on Prospects and see what jumps out to you. 

Take a chance

Keeping an open mind, gaining experience and being open to opportunities can all help you with your career plans. If you can't settle on a dream job or find your purpose that's ok. Your next step is unlikely to define your whole career or life.

For most of us our career paths end up being lots of little steps. With maybe some side-quests, pivots or road blocks along the way. Taking a chance right now can help you to further explore what that next step might look like. Keeping an open mind can also introduce some serendipity and planned happenstance into your career planning - who knows what doors that might open.

  • Careers Service events, workshops, and fairs: . Going along to lots of events can be just as helpful to rule out options as to explore possible contenders.
  • Explore societies, volunteering, part-time work and other extra-curriculars. Not only can these give you lots of great transferable skills. These kind of experiences can help you develop and focus in on what you do and don't enjoy.
  • Bath Connection provides a secure online platform for you to network with University of Bath graduates. A wide range of graduate employers and types of roles are represented on Bath Connection. Find more information in our guide about how to use Bath Connection.

Slipping through my fingers

One thing we hear from students at this time of year is the feeling that they might miss out on an opportunity if they don't decide what they want to do right now. It's true that lots of big graduate schemes are advertising their roles right now and often have pretty short closing dates. So it can be really easy to feel under pressure. This short window is not the only option for your next step. The majority of graduates go into jobs rather than big graduate schemes (find out more about the difference between schemes and jobs). Graduate jobs are advertised all year round so you still have options. And most graduate schemes accept graduates up to two to three years post-graduation. So you could always apply next year after you graduation.

Equally though, if you see an opportunity that sounds interesting and feel like it could suit you - why not apply? As I mentioned - your next step is unlikely to define your whole career and you will learn lots about yourself along the way.

Further help

If you need further help figuring out your next steps - we are here to help.


Posted in: Career Choice, Career Development


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