Careers Service


Don't know what you want to do?

It’s perfectly normal – in fact it’s one of the most common things we hear. Few people have a grand career plan when they leave university, and for many it’s daunting making such an important choice.

For most people a career is not for life, so don’t worry about 20 years from now. Start by focusing on your first (or next) step. There’s also no ‘best’ way to decide what you want to do, so don’t feel you have to plan everything before taking any action. Doing something positive to advance your knowledge, or add to your CV is always better than waiting until inspiration strikes.

So how do you go about making career decisions?

  • Download the I don't know what I want to do guide. This guide gives practical advice and steps to help you make sense of careers and how to become more certain about jobs and careers you might enjoy.

Some more tips to get you started

1 Work out what you enjoy, and what you’re good at:

There’s no point choosing jobs which don’t provide what’s important to you, or don’t play to your natural strengths, so use these tools to help you understand what would suit you – and what you have to offer.

  • Prospects Planner Complete some questions about what you want from a job, and you get a report back on the top matches with over 400 types of graduate work.
  • Profiling for Success Access a range of questionnaires including personality and a career inventory, to help you work out your strengths and preferred ways of working.

2 Explore your options

A large proportion of graduate level jobs are open to people of any degree, so don’t feel constrained by what you have studied. Familiarise with a range of options, so you can make an informed choice and consider some new ideas as well as those you had thought of. Try:

  • Options with your subject What could you do with your degree? What skills has it equipped you with? Find out here.
  • Which career? Information on different occupations and sectors and what they involve.
  • Get some experience Try things out, to see what you like and what you’re good at. Internships, work shadowing, volunteering and part-time work all add to your CV.

3 Deciding what’s right for you

When you’re looking at all the options it can be a bit daunting just how many there are, and how to choose what’s right for you. So try these ideas:

  • Consider your options against what you know about yourself and what you’re good at (see step 1)
  • If you’re graduating in a few months, look for a good starting point rather than the perfect job. You can always change course later. The Manchester Graduate Talent provides great stepping stone jobs to help you get experience. Download the I don't know what I want to do guide for more tips.

What else can I do?

The above steps can help you become clearer on what you would like to do. Even if you’re not sure, you can still work now toward doing the things which make Manchester graduates most successful. Try the My Future Questionnaire, which gives you personalised feedback on how to successfully get into a job or further study after graduation.

Want to talk to someone?

Our careers consultants are independent and won't pressurise you into making a decision which isn't right for you. We can often help by asking you some of the questions you should be considering, and help you think through your options. Just be aware - we're unlikely to be able to guess which job you should do! Make an appointment with a Careers Consultant