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A wide range of career options is available to geography graduates. You will need to research the options in order to focus on a successful career plan. Thorough research is time consuming.

It is essential that you research with purpose and focus. Remember the principle of career planning from the top downwards mean that you start your research looking at long term future careers and not first jobs. Once you are clear on the experience, qualifications and skills needed for the ‘top of the ladder’ jobs, this can inform your subsequent research and planning on the steps you will need to take to achieve that.

  • View the page on finding jobs to help you look for 'top jobs' as well as entry positions.

  • To get an idea of the current employment climate, use Adzuna's search function to find live statistics on vacancies and salaries across a combination of locations and job titles.

  • For guidance on career planning you can also visit your university careers centre and take up opportunities of workshops and guidance interviews.


Researching the options - find out what is out there

  • Use the Going places with geography booklet to scope the sectors available in the world of work.

  • Alternatively use the Prospects website if you are looking for broad descriptions of what each sector does, lists of jobs and case studies of current undergraduates.

Narrow down your research

  • Narrow down your research to either one sector of employment or a role in employment and research further into this. Are you attracted to working in environment and sustainability (an example of a sector) or are you interested in using your IT skills to become a web editor (an example of a role)?

  • There are many useful websites such as those for professional organisations and internet job sites that are rich sources of information about sectors and roles.

  • The third possibility is to focus on one employer. However as this will inevitably limit your choices, it is best saved to later in the process.

  • Once you have researched the wide range of careers available you will be able to focus your career planning on a specific sector or role.

  • Unpack the key qualifications, skills and experience that are required. Job adverts, graduate case studies and company websites will give plenty of information about what they expect from the successful candidates in the top roles.


Focus your planning

  • Use a ladder diagram to record your plan. In order for this to work you need to focus on the ‘top rung’ and ‘middle rung’. You need to have done your research first.

  • This is a planning tool. Your initial decisions are not set in stone. This is a tool which enables rather than limits your progress. It allows you to record the continual and dynamic nature of the process of planning, set targets, evaluate your progress and then encourages you to set new targets.


Audit the requirements

  • Use your unpacked list to form the basis of a skills, experiences and qualifications audit – in a table list what is being asked for and record against that list what you can offer.

  • To the bottom of the table add competencies you believe you have which do not appear to be required in the sector or role you are researching.

  • Note: a big mismatch here could mean you are planning to develop a career in to an area you are not well suited to.

  • Record all your evidence in your audit and use this to inform your CV. Your university careers department will offer good advice on creating and maintaining your CV.


Set targets

Set targets to achieve the requisite portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications to meet the requirements you have identified. Think about how the following can be used to help you with your plan:

  • Postgraduate qualifications.

  • Working abroad.

  • Gaining specific work experience.

  • Acquiring or improving specific or technical skills.

  • Choosing specific modules in your undergraduate course.

  • Choosing the theme for your dissertation.


Use traffic light colour coding to help you keep focused on your plan

  • Red for ‘I have not made any progress with this yet'.

  • Orange for ‘I have identified this target but still some way to go'.

  • Green for ‘I have made good progress and completed this target’.


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