As an undergraduate student, career planning is essential in achieving success in your chosen area. It assists you in discovering key interests and values to develop career goals, which supports personal and professional development. It is important to begin planning your career before you graduate to increase your chances of employability.   

Ask yourself the following questions to get you thinking and help you with career planning:

Where am I currently? 

Think about your current situation.

  • What degree are you studying?
  • Do you have any relevant work experience or internship experience?
  • What are your key strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your unique selling points?

Where do I want to be in the future?

Now, think about your career and professional aspirations.

  • Where do you see yourself after you graduate?
  • Think about both the short-term (3-5 years) and the long-term (5-10 years).

Why do I want to be here?

Think about your professional identity. This can be seen as a collection of your attributes, beliefs, morals and values that you use to define yourself and your specialised, skill and education-based occupations or vocations.  Your professional identity will evolve overtime, however, focus on the present and ask yourself the following:

  • Why do I want a career in this particular area?
  • What am I most passionate about in my chosen career?
  • What factors are important to me in my chosen career?
  • How are my attributes, beliefs and values aligned with my chosen profession?

How will I get there?

Here you consider the steps you will take to get you to your chosen career.

  • What are some things you have done so far to enhance your employability and achieve your goals?
  • What are some specific actions that you will need to take before you graduate to enhance your employability and achieve your immediate career goals?

When planning your career, you should implement SMART goals to motivate yourself and increase employability. 

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – ensure your goals are as clear as possible
  • Measurable – quantify what you want to achieve
  • Achievable – motivate yourself while ensuring the goals you set are reachable 
  • Realistic – be reasonable with your goals to ensure they are attainable
  • Timely – create timeframes for completing steps

About the Author

Stephanie Papageorgiou

Stephanie is a consultant at Optimum Consulting. She is passionate about building strong, on-going relationships with both candidates and clients and works closely with candidates to provide valuable career advice and job opportunities with leading companies across a range of industries.