COVID-19 Career Advice
Career Planning: Making Plan B Work for You
Graduates - You’ve completed your degree. You’ve planned out your next steps. However, you’ve graduated during a pandemic. The graduate labour market has suffered and as a result you may be finding it difficult to enter into your chosen profession.
Ask yourself – is it time for Plan B?
Plan B is your strategy for seeking alternative employment.
Career journeys aren’t always linear. Sometimes several routes need to be taken before arriving at your chosen destination.
With the right preparation, plan B can help open up opportunities and develop the right skills and experience to boost employability into your first choice career.
Avoid the ‘scattergun’ approach i.e. applying for anything. Instead choose something meaningful that you’ll enjoy.
Here are some tips on identifying the right career alternatives and making the most of them:
1. Identify Plan A
Starting off with your ‘dream career’ will make it easier to find suitable alternatives.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What skills are needed?
- What do you want from work? E.g. part/full-time, outdoors, supervised or autonomous?
- What industry do you want to work in?
2. Identify Plan B
Look at the skills and experience needed for plan A. Your search for alternatives should focus on what will help you develop these.
The ‘what can I do with my degree?’ section of www.prospects.ac.uk highlights the range of careers graduates can enter into with a particular degree.
Visit Target Jobs for information on careers which graduates of any degree can go into.
Alternatively, look up the job profile of your first choice career on https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles or https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers/Search/ which contain links to similar career paths.
Be open-minded but realistic.
Research SMEs as well as bigger companies.
Don’t just contemplate vacancies similar to plan A. Consider what you can do with your qualifications, strengths and experience. Focus on developing that which is relevant to your first choice. For example, you may take a job in door to door sales, which could be classified as marketing; however you’re not necessarily getting relevant exposure to successfully pivot into the sector.
When considering the alternatives, highlight any skills and knowledge gaps.
www.futurelearn.com and https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ provide access to free online courses in numerous subjects. Add these to your LinkedIn profile and let potential employers know about your talents.
3. Tailor Your CV
It’s disheartening to realising you’ve sent a CV highlighting an interest in one area when you’ve applied for something different.
Remember to tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. This advice applies to both plan A and plan B careers.
4. Build Your Network
Connect with people and companies on LinkedIn in order to gain insights into industries and develop your knowledge of sector developments. Increase your chances of standing out by actively engaging with them. Comment on and share their posts. This will increase your online presence and show your enthusiasm.
Ask friends and family if they know anyone who works in the sector who you can talk to.
Most universities have a platform for you to connect with alumni. Use this platform to engage with those who work in the sector you’re interested in.
The advice here is aimed at helping you gain meaningful experiences in the short-term and aid your long-term goals within your chosen profession.