How to decide what to do

Choosing the right career is a process that takes time, requires self-reflection and focus; it rarely happens with an overnight flash of inspiration. If you’re concerned you have no idea what to do when you graduate, are feeling overwhelmed by all the options available to you, or are frantically searching for the perfect job, you are not alone in finding this challenging!

It can help to break the process down into distinct and manageable steps.

Stage 1: become self aware

Before you begin your job search, reflect on your experiences and achievements, and identify aspects of work that are most important to you. Think about your skills, values and interests, what you're good at, and what motivates you. For more information and to try some practical exercises, check out our Planning your career guide‌, and see the 'related links' listed on the right-hand side of this page.

Stage 2: explore your options

Explore different roles using resources such as our careers sector guides, Prospects job profiles and TARGETjobs career sectors. Identify any recurring themes, or whether you're naturally drawn to a certain job, or type of work. Gain insight by networking with alumni, looking at options with your degree, and put your ideas to the test by gaining practical experience via shadowing industry professionals, volunteering, or internships.

Stage 3: make choices

Based on your research, start making decisions. Take your skills and interests identified in stage 1 into consideration alongside your preferences from stage 2. It would be worthwhile to set a goal at this point, and note down the various steps and actions you will need to take in order to achieve it. For a helpful table, see page 21 of our University of Bristol Careers Guide‌.

Stage 4: take action

Finally, start implementing the actions required to reach your goal. Take some time to research industries and research employers to write a targeted and tailored CV - this is important to gain commercial awareness, and impress potential employers. We also run a number of events throughout the year which address the stages outlined here, and there are always opportunities to get one-to-one support - come in and see us or give us a call to find out more!

Feeling stuck?

Firstly, don't panic. Try not to get obsessed with finding the perfect job and don't be afraid of making the wrong decision. Think about whether you're allowing anyone else to influence your decision making and try breaking your goal down into smaller steps. And remember, we're here to support all aspects of your career planning and development, so come and speak to us if you feel you’d benefit from it!

Video resources


If you'd like to talk through your options or need some help making decisions, come and chat to an Adviser.

To book an appointment, come in and see us or give us a call.