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Happy New You – where will 2021 take your career?

Posted on Career planning, CVs and applications, Jobs, internships and work experience, Networking and social media

The new year is a great time to make a fresh start. Whilst you’re kicking bad habits, on a healthier diet and exercising again, why not give your career plans a workout? We’re all hoping this will be a better year, but you can make your own good fortune with the right mindset. A ‘Planned Happenstance’ approach (Krumboltz 1996) – being proactive, flexible and embracing change – will increase your chances of uncovering unexpected career opportunities in 2021.

1. Create a plan and discover what’s right for you

What inspires and motivates you? Your career planning guide (download or order a printed copy) can help you with everything from understanding your strengths and values to practical job-hunting and application tips . There’s also specialised careers advice and support focusing on race, disabilities, sexuality and age.

2. Know where to hunt for jobs

If you’re job hunting, it’s vital to do your research, explore the hidden jobs market and make speculative approaches for employment and internships. Refresh your CV, make your LinkedIn profile more effective, start networking and join our monthly workshops on a range of careers topics.

3. Get practical experience

65% of employers reported relevant work experience was important in the recruitment decision (EPS 2016).

Use OpportunityHub to search for jobs, volunteering and internships. Virtual internships are a flexible way of gaining experience and employers appreciate that OU students and alumni have experience in working remotely, with online tools like the OpenScience Laboratory proving it’s possible to develop valuable practical remote collaboration skills over the internet.

4. Know your strengths

Keep track of your skills and achievements, and enjoy staying motviated, by using FutureYOU, the OU’s professional development planning (PDP) tool.

When I started, I had no clear idea of how my studies would develop. Working through PDP gives me ideas on where my skills could do with improvement.

Knowing how you have developed can be useful when writing applications or preparing for a job interview. FutureYOU can be found on most Study Home pages on the ‘PLAN’ or ‘SUCCEED’ tab, or you can try the version for Open qualifications.

5. Pursue your passion for learning

‘Passion for the role’ was highlighted as the top attribute employers valued in the 2020 OU Employer Survey.

Build your knowledge and skills with free online courses on platforms such as OpenLearn. Adding these to your qualification shows employers your passion and commitment to professional development. Some courses provide digital badges can be added to your Linkedin account too.

2021, we’re ready for you

We hope 2021 will bring hope and new opportunities. Whatever happens, you can position yourself to make the most of any opportunities that arise.

Don’t forget, you can book a careers consultation with us anytime. Keep up with careers events and news in our monthly Careers Express email (check your spam) and follow us on social media.

OU Careers and Employability Services