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Not sure which career is best for you?

If you don’t know what to do, you’re like many other students and it’s perfectly normal. Not many people have a firm career choice in mind. It can be a difficult decision and this is where we can help.

The first career you choose doesn’t have to be the one you stay in for life. It’s best to think about your initial career steps rather than being daunted by a long-term decision. The earlier you start thinking about your career choices, the more time you’ll have to plan ahead before you graduate. You should make a positive start by gaining experience or volunteering in an area that interests you. This will give you more knowledge and add valuable skills to your CV.

How can I make career decisions?

1. Think about what you’re good at and naturally enjoy doing

Play to your strengths and think about what jobs may suit your personality and working style. Everyone has a different and unique set of skills and attributes.

You can download our Exploring Career Ideas guide, which includes links to useful resources such as Prospects Career Planner. 

We also give you access to personality tests, so you can discover your strengths, attributes and preferred working style. This is open to graduates as well as students. If you're a current student, see our personality profiling page. If you're a graduate, simply contact us via the Hub for access information.

2. Get involved with University clubs and societies

Challenge yourself and add skills to your CV by getting involved with our University of Stirling clubs and societies. You could start your own club, help organise group events or take on a responsible role, like a secretary or president. There’s so much potential for you to build on your skills as well as making friends. You can gain more confidence and build on your organisation skills, while growing your network of connections. You’ll get recognition for your extra-curricular activities through the My Stirling Award.

3. Volunteer your time

Become a volunteer to show potential employers that you’re proactive and willing to help valuable causes. Could you spare an hour or two a week? That’s all it could take to volunteer. Volunteering can give you useful skills to make your first career steps. It can also count towards your My Stirling Award.

There are numerous organisations that welcome volunteers and you can find opportunities near you with by getting involved with our Students’ Union or joining Project ScotlandVolunteer Scotland.

4. ‘Better to try and fail than not to try at all’

Rather than waiting until inspiration strikes, try jobs out to see what you like and what you’re good at. Gaining experience will give you a career insight and show what it’s really like working in a particular industry. You may find that what you like is different to what you expected. It’s better to try before you graduate, so you have a clearer picture of where you can fit best in the jobs market. Learning on the job is often the best way to see if you like a job.

5. Don’t feel constrained by your degree subject

Are you asking: what can I do with my degree? Many graduate jobs are open to people from any degree. Your degree can give you transferable skills that are sought after in a wide variety of roles. Think about the transferable skills you’ve learnt during your course –teamwork, presentations, reporting and research for example. Many of these skills are required in any occupation.

Looking for more ideas? We have a dedicated Careers and Employability Consultant for each of our faculties.

6. Speak to one of our Alumni Mentors

We have a pool of talent in our 85,000+ strong alumni and a number of them act as student mentors, inspiring the next generation of leaders and professionals. Speaking to one of our mentors can help give you a clearer idea of what it’s really like to work in a particular area. In addition, your mentor can also help you with application and CV advice.

Find out more about alumni mentoring and career development in your faculty: 

7. Talk to us

Our experienced Careers and Employability Consultants are independent and won’t pressurise you into making a decision which isn’t right for you. Remember it’s never too early (or too late!) to start thinking about your career options. From your first year, to your final year and beyond, we’re here to help. Talking to someone can act as a catalyst for careers ideas and we can advise on application processes and much more.

Make an appointment through TARGETconnect.

8. Are you a budding entrepreneur?

You may be thinking about starting your own business. Our Student Enterprise programme can help you transform an idea into a viable business. The Hive, based at University of Stirling Innovation Park, is our Student Enterprise incubator and you’ll find a wealth of resources and help here.

What’s on offer? Access free office space, professional advice, mentoring and business support.

There’s loads of support available if you want to take on the challenge of starting your own business. We also arrange for a Business Gateway Consultant to visit campus during semester to offer a drop-in advisory session. See TARGETconnect for the dates of this drop-in session.

9. What’s right for you, not anyone else

It can be hard to choose the right career option, but thinking about what you know about yourself can be a good start. Only you know yourself best. It can be valuable to speak to others to learn about their career or get professional advice, but don’t lose sight of what you like to do and your attributes.

10. A good starting point, not the perfect job

Don’t give yourself added pressure by seeking the perfect job. Sometimes a good starting point can lead to your perfect role! If you’re graduating soon, think about what broader work experience could help you reach your end goal. You can always benefit from getting related experience. Changing roles and career later on is an option.

Book an appointment with one of our Careers and Employability Consultants or attend an event.

Contact the Careers and Employability Service

You can contact us via TARGETconnect.

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