Career Planning Action Plan

Your careers action plan for each year at university

Don’t leave it until your final year to start thinking about your future career! You can do many things during your time at university to improve your chances of successfully entering the career or postgraduate study of your choice.

The timings noted relate to opportunities in career areas which are normally open to graduates in any subject. This list does not include deadlines which are specific to students in a particular subject, such as deadlines for clinical psychology or vocational law courses: check the “What Can I Do With My Degree In … ?” pages for this information, or see the careers adviser for your subject.

Dates given are approximate and may vary: so always check the current situation. The Careers and Employability Service makes every effort to ensure that the information on our site is accurate but it is your responsibility to verify the information given before taking any action.

For detailed help on creating your own action plan see our Action Planning page

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Don't get stopped in your career by missing important deadlines.

CAreer planning flowchart for students Research CareersDeveloping your skillsTime ManagementOrganising and planningLeadership skillsCommunication skillssocial networkingFunding postgraduate studyPractice interviewsaptitude teststeamwork Involvement in university life I Want to Work in ... web pages Graduate Directories Commercial awareness Networking postgraduate study Choosing a career Prospects Planner Assessment Centres presentation skills group exercises Interview skills telephone interviews aptitude tests application forms answering competency questions teacher training job offers CVs and covering letters work experience volunteering CAreer Planning for students Careers that relate to your degree subject Vacancy sources Careers Fairs Graduate Training Schemes

First Year

Second Year

This is a vital year for developing career plans and for testing them out through work experience to make sure that they are right for you. If you spend time on this during your second year it will save you a lot of work during your final year!

Final Year

Most of the dates and deadlines during the Autumn term relate to large corporate graduate recruiters. Not all students will be interested in these recruiters (and, as they are very competitive, not all of those students who are interested will be successful). In fact, the majority of graduates going into employment join smaller or more diverse organisations such as small businesses, public sector employers, media organisations, software houses, etc which may not recruit until after you have graduated.

The Final Year Application Process

job hunting flow chart

As you can see above, the smaller company process is much simpler and you can apply much later (often after final exams) but salaries are usually lower and they offer less training and less chance to specialise.


One major recruiter of graduates, told me that the early applicants who applied in September and October of their final year, tended to be the cream of the crop. They tended to be the brightest, best motivated, best researched and most organised applicants: a large proportion of these were offered jobs, a much higher proportion than those who applied near the deadline.



December - lots of closing dates this month!

Spring Term

Summer Term

After your final exams



Last fully updated 2012