feet on a pavement with arrows pointing in three directions (photo: Shutterstock)

Hello from the Careers Service

Linda Murdoch is head of the University's Careers Service. Here she offers some professional advice if you are contemplating a career change.

Linda Murdoch is director of the University’s Careers Service (photo: University of Glasgow Photographic Unit)You may have used our services when you were a student. Or taken advantage of the careers support we offer within two years of graduating. Timely careers advice is rarely wasted, and if you’re thinking of changing career then there’s plenty of information out there if you know where to look.

How do you know if it’s time for a change? Well, if you hate going into work every day – not just Mondays – or you get embarrassed talking about your job at parties, then you know something’s up. Or perhaps your personal circumstances have changed and a job with lots of travelling and time spent away from home is less appealing. Or more appealing. Maybe the outlook in your chosen career field isn’t great or you're looking for more of a challenge. If you genuinely feel uncomfortable about what you do, it’s probably time to stop burying your head in the proverbial sand and make a move.

The scientific way of working out what you want to do career-wise is not exactly rocket science: know yourself, know what’s out there, decide and act on it. What tends to put people off is the time and effort it takes to do it, not to mention the risk of giving up a safe job which pays its way, for the unknown.

Know yourself

What skills do you have and what ones do you actually enjoy using? A useful online tool to help you think about your skills and attributes is Prospects Planner, where you can answer questions to create your own profile.

Know what’s out there

What sort of jobs are available? What opportunities are possible? There are programmes out there that can help answer these questions. Careers Planner and Job Match beta are two that are available online at Prospects Planner that can very quickly give you a list of possible new jobs to explore which match your interests and qualities.

Look around your circle of friends and family. Is there anyone who does the jobs on your list or knows someone who does? Can they set you up with a coffee and a chat? Can you spend a day in their office observing what they do?

Decide and act

Now you know more about yourself and the potential options, you should have some ideas of where you’d like to get to. So how do you maximise your chances of getting there? You can hunt for jobs online, search graduate job sites, use social media and ask around.

Advice on career planning can be found at our Careers Service website. If you are within two years of graduation, you can book a one-to-one appointment with our Careers Managers.

LinkedIn is one of the top online sites for job seekers, with a huge database that allows you to connect with contacts in companies you want to target. Get yourself a profile on this. A massive 94% of recruiters who use social media in their recruitment practices use LinkedIn.

If you need some food for thought, our Sound Tracks podcast brings you sound advice and feelgood inspiration from UofG alumni in all sorts of industries.

Twitter has some unique advantages when job-hunting, such as the lack of barriers to connect with “thought leaders”. Facebook can be useful when researching employers, promoting your job hunt and for finding out about jobs.

You don’t need to see a vacancy before making an application. Some jobs are not posted, with some employers relying on speculative applications and networking to fill posts.

And you also have an extensive network of UofG alumni at your fingertips, The Glasgow Network. We have hundreds of alumni who are willing to mentor a career changer. 

Good luck!

Prospects Planner
The Careers Service
The Glasgow Network

This article was first published September 2019.