Managing your career planning alongside your studies

Posted in: Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs

Juggling career planning and job applications alongside your university studies can feel overwhelming. Especially if you are thinking about or already applying to graduate schemes. Finding balance between the two is crucial so you can excel in both. Here are our top tips for managing your career and job applications alongside your degree.

Schedule weekly career planning time

Set aside a set amount of time every week solely for career activities. Depending on what stage you are at this could be for exploring your options, researching opportunities, networking, applying to jobs, preparing for interviews or something else. Consistently investing this time will prevent your career efforts from falling behind during busy periods. Schedule it like any other commitment.

Break the process into small, manageable steps

View career planning as a series of small steps rather than one huge task. Break it down into logical stages like self-reflection, researching options, identifying target companies and roles, tailoring application materials, applying, and interviewing. Even within each of these stages you could break them down further. Checking off small wins will keep you motivated.

Understand your goals before rushing to apply

At this time of year you might feel the pressure to apply to opportunities. But before applying, spend time reflecting on your interests, values, and skills to determine potential career paths. We can help you with this if you are stuck. Having clarity will allow you to be more strategic and targeted in your applications. Rather than wasting your time on applications that might not be for what you actually want to do.

Organise your job search

Once you begin applying, get organised early on. Make a spreadsheet to track application deadlines and target companies. Rank roles in priority order and methodically work your way down the list. Having your careers time scheduled will help give you time to apply for applications.

Use your previous application work

Even with dedicated careers time, there is no way around it - job applications are time-consuming. To maximise your chances of success, you do need to tailor every application. So focusing on quality over quantity is important. Don't get discouraged – you will improve with practice.

However, while it is crucial to tailor your answers and not just copying and pasting in the same thing for every application - you can make things a little bit easier. Make sure you save everything you submit as part of a job application.  Building up a library of previous answers can help you save time as you aren’t writing from scratch with every application.

Remember there are many paths

At this time of year, the graduate scheme application process can feel all-consuming, but it's important to remember that these programs are not your only option for launching your career after university. Many excellent companies recruit graduates outside of structured schemes and on a rolling basis year-round. Other paths like graduate internships, apprenticeships or further study are also worth exploring.

Equally if you miss out this year or decide you want to focus on your studies, most graduate schemes are also open to recent graduates too, so you can try again next year.

Here to help

We are here to help you whatever stage of your career journey you have reached.


Posted in: Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs


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