Here are some useful pointers to getting started with your journey after Warwick. Remember, it is never too late or too early to begin taking a dedicated interest in your future career. Also remember that your degree specifically qualifies you with a broad and unique skill set that few graduates obtain - use this to your advantage!
- Before university - Don’t discount the activities you have done before you get to university – these are a foundation for you to build on and can inform your future direction/interests.
- Ask questions - To lots of different people throughout your degree. This does not need to be restricted to only your department(s) - utilise the Students' Union, Careers Service, Library resources.
- It’s never too late (or too early) - Our careers team often hear students say they have left it too late to start thinking about employment. Of course, you are at a great advantage if you make the most of your time at Warwick and throw yourself into student life. Equally, your doors are rarely closed when you have a degree. Speak to someone from Careers or the GSD Department.
- Opportunities at Warwick - There are so many opportunities available to you across the university and beyond and they are often difficult to locate. Ask staff members from different departments and students from previous years.
- Further study - Don't rule out the opportunity to gain a postgraduate qualification. Many career opportunities in sustainability, human rights, humanitarian aid, consulting etc. are enhanced by a postgraduate degree. Like applying for a job, researching your options is time consuming and requires extensive research. Postgraduate applications close at various points in the year, so make sure you're on the ball. Warwick offers a huge range of postgraduate courses and a variety of funding options.
- No single pathway - Some career sectors (especially more established ones) have clear, well-trodden pathways into a graduate job. For those considering work in sustainability, social justice, charity sector, or NGO work, (and others!) it is essential to realise that there is no one single way to gain access to these sectors. You may need to volunteer, do an internship, learn a language, go abroad, or do a postgraduate degree.
- The hidden job market - Many jobs, especially in small and medium sized organisations and enterprises are hidden - it requires you to gain an entry level position in an organisation in order to gain access to internal vacancies. See more.
- Read the Careers Blog - There are dedicated articles here for arts, humanities, and interdisciplinary students.
Questions to Ask Yourself
A good place to begin when considering a career direction is to ask yourself some difficult but important questions. These questions may not have straightforward answers, but thinking about them may help you to get started – and once you’ve started, you may well find that your career develops in unexpected and interesting directions.
- What can you offer? The more you can say about your strengths, skills, values and experience, the more likely you are to find something which suits you, and convince an employer that you are the person they are looking for.
- How does Global Sustainable Development fit in? Do you feel empowered by the content of your degree and desire to impliment practical solutions for GSD? Or, do you see your degree as a set of transferable skills and wish to pursue a career path that does not specifically address issues of sustainability.
- What does the organisation/role exist to do – and how does that relate to what you want? Do you want to contribute to the profitability of an organisation, knowing that thanks to your contribution it is beating its competitors? Do you want the satisfaction of having helped specific individuals with something? Do you want to have contributed to something of regional, national or even international importance?
- What else is important to you about the organisation? Size can be important – a larger organisation may offer clear roles, with excellent training and development opportunities, and sometimes the prestige of working somewhere well-known; somewhere smaller may offer the opportunity for your role to evolve uniquely as the organisation develops, and there is a clearer connection between your input and the organisation’s success. Location may be important too - you may decide to tailor your career ambitions to be close to special people in your life, or you may put the opportunity to work internationally high on your wish list. Some graduates decide that they cannot live anywhere else than London, and others have avoiding it altogether as the first thing on their wish list.
Tips for Employability Beyond Warwick
- Know yourself - see above also - What motivates you? What are you good at? What are you best at? What evidence do you have? What sorts of things will you only do if you absolutely have to? The more experience you have, the easier it is to answer these kinds of questions - and the easier it is to answer these kinds of questions, the more likely it is that you will be able to identify a route beyond education which works for you.
- Get some relevant experience of work - This is the single best way to set yourself apart from other graduates. The gold standard to aim for is a substantial period of experience, such as a summer internship, in the area where you really want to end up. That’s easier in some areas of work than others – so fortunately almost any experience of work can be presented to some advantage on a future application.
- Understand how to make an effective application – there is loads of information on the Student Careers and Skills website about this, including the link to myAdvantage which sets out the many opportunities for face-to-face assistance. There are some good national websites too, such as Prospects.ac.uk and Targetjobs.co.uk
- See what you can find out, and don’t be afraid to ask - Global Sustainable Development is not a single job area, but is a valuable way of looking at the world of work. It’s a new and emerging area too. So you might easily find the information you need (including on the websites above), or you might need to rise to the exciting challenge of doing your own research. Are there companies coming to careers fairs or campus visits you could ask about this? Could you reach out to people via Linked In, or the Alumni Mentoring network? Usually the worst that can happen is that nothing happens, and the best that happens is anything from a useful e-mail exchange to the offer of work experience. And how can Student Careers and Skills help? Outside of the big corporate companies and graduate schemes information and opportunities can sometimes be harder to find; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.