Five career development tips from the experts

Writer: Jeremy Swan

We asked the experts in the Careers and Employability Service to give us their top career development tips:

  1. Build your network. It’s easy to lose touch with friends, lecturers, previous employers and other contacts you have built up at university. Using a professional social media platform such as LinkedIn allows you to stay in touch with those previous contacts and keep up-to-date with industry developments. LinkedIn has lots of useful features such as the Alumni tool and groups which allow you to build your professional network and seek support. When you complete your profile and graduate you automatically become part of our university network. You can also join groups such as the “University of Derby Careers + Employment Service.” A great place for information is https://students.linkedin.com/uk and you can contact the Careers + Employment Service for help developing your profile.

  2. Be open minded. People sometimes assume they have to stick in the industry related to their degree or their first role after graduating. The fact is that the majority of graduate schemes will take students from any degree discipline. Employers place a high value on the transferable skills and qualities you have gained from your degree. Graduate job vacancies are listed on our Careerhub website all year round. So why not see what’s out there?

  3. Be flexible. Instead of pooling all your resources into one role you can opt for a portfolio career instead. This involves splitting your time and skills between two or more part-time positions. This could mean developing a business idea and working part time, or even combining postgraduate study and paid work. Sometimes this approach is born out of necessity but it can just as easily work out of choice. Most people are interested and good at more than one thing so why choose one when you can often combine. 

  4. Take charge of your own professional development. There’s an adage which says your employer may own your job but you own your career. This is a really vital mindset to develop in the current global employment market where trends and new industries will require updated and newly developed knowledge and skills. It involves looking ahead and taking action which often means taking additional courses and qualifications. This may mean taking a proactive approach with your employer and requesting additional training and getting this scheduled. Remember there is always something simple you can do to upskill.

  5. Keep fine tuning your job search approach. As long term job security is no longer guaranteed you need to keep up with job search as well as recruitment and selection trends. We’ve heard many stories of graduates coming back to us when they have struggled to secure their first role despite sending off a vast amount of applications. Very often they have sought help much later than they needed to – when in reality they just didn’t realise they could access help. There is a lot of ground work needed to create a successful job search. Much of this involves research and preparation rather than just blindly completing applications and hoping for the best. So our last tip is to make sure you use the Careers + Employment Service and take advantage of our three year promise to support our graduates so visit www.derby.ac.uk/ces.

Did you know?

  • You can get advice and support from the Careers and Employability service for up to three years after completing your course
  • The Careers and Employability service offers one-to-one appointments with career experts, which can be done in person or over the phone
  • They can also help with CV writing and interview technique

Visit the Careers and Employability service website