Exploring career ideas

Often the hardest part of anything is getting started, especially if you don’t know what you want the end result to look like. This particularly applies to exploring career ideas but we’re here to help you with getting started and this blog will show you 5 things you can do this term to help you on your way.

Take a step back 

Don’t start by diving straight in and looking at graduate schemes and job vacancies. All this will do is cause you to feel overwhelmed by the huge array of options! Take a step back and put aside expectations from family or comparison with your friends and classmates. Think about what is important to you, that includes your values, how you envisage your work life balance and what type of environment you enjoy being in – fast paced? outdoors? connecting with others?

If you’re not sure, there are some good tools to help you define what’s important to you and where your strengths lie. Take a look at our page on self awareness and complete some of the tests to discover your preferences.

Do some research

If you can, put aside some time regularly to do a bit of research into jobs or career areas that interest you. It needn’t be long and in fact if it is, you’re less likely to do it! You might dedicate 30 minutes a week to listening to one of our podcast episodes. The What Do You Actually Do podcast has a back catalogue of interviews with people in an array of careers and each episode discusses how the guest got started in their career and what their work typically consists of. Other things you could do include reading through the career stories of York graduates on our York Profiles and Mentors page and looking at our Job Sectors page for information on particular career areas and how you can build the experience you need while at York.

Events & Networking

A really good way of getting a bit of an insight into a career area or role, is to come along to one of our events. We run a programme of careers events each term and also some large scale career fairs. You can see what’s on this term on Handshake and sign up if you’re interested. 

This Autumn, we’re running a Law Fair on 12 October and a Graduate Jobs and Internships fair over two days on 13 and 14 October. Take a look ahead and see which employers will be at the fairs and in our events programme and pick out some you would like to speak with. A careers fair is a great way to speak to the people doing the roles you might be interested in and to pick their brains about how they got started and what skills they value most amongst other things. You might even make a connection that could help you in the future. It’s also important to note that you don’t need to be interview prepped and dressed in a suit when you approach people at the fair, it’s a fairly informal way to just find out a little more about a company and the roles they are recruiting for.

Talk to us 

The Careers Team are on hand to answer your questions. We’re here to help students in all years of study and we can help you whether you have no idea what you want to do, or if you know exactly what you want to do but just need a little help realising your aspirations.

There are various options to get in touch with us from drop-in sessions in the Careers building, to booked 20 minute careers advice appointments and appointments specific to placement year and mock interviews. Decide which is best for you on our Talk to Us page and then book via Handshake.

Get involved – volunteering, part time work

There are lots of opportunities to get involved in volunteering and work at York. Whether it be through a part time job or volunteering through our community projects and York Students in Schools programme (YSIS). You might think these don’t count as experience relevant to graduate level work, but in fact all experience is relevant even when it’s not directly related to what you might go on to pursue. Teamwork, communication, co-operation and flexibility are all skills sought by employers that you could develop through volunteering and part time work. In addition, you’ll be learning more about yourself and what you do and don’t like, plus maybe getting an insight into a sector and the types of roles available within it.

Volunteering projects and YSIS are recruiting now.

Part time work is advertised on Handshake