Career Planning Tips for Specific Stages of your University Journey

Early years

To set yourself apart from other students when you graduate, it is never too early to think about your career in terms of who you are, your skills and what interests you.

Our top tips for students at the beginning of their academic career include:

  • Get involved with a range of co-curricular activities - join sports clubs or societies or do some volunteering. Find out more in our develop skills and attributes section.
  • Gain experience of the work place by undertaking part-time jobs, vacation work, insight days and placements. More information is available from our work experience during your studies section.
  • Research opportunities in the sector you are interested in and start to look for chances to develop your employer contacts.
  • Enrol on Professional Skills courses, PD1001 and PD2001 (0-credit), new online courses for level 1 and Level 2 students that will develop your chances of career success. The courses can be completed at your own pace (taking around 2-3 hours), using any device via MyAberdeen. Find out more about the whole suite of Online Professional Skills Courses.
  • Enrol on the Career Development: Find Your Direction (ED2550) 15 credit course in your second year. Delivered by the Careers and Employability Service it explores areas, such as career planning, skills development, work experience, career options and making applications. Visit MyCurriculum to register.
  • Apply for the University’s Career Mentoring programme. It is an opportunity to learn from an alumni working within a professional field you are interested in: Career Mentoring.
Penultimate year

Whether you know what careers interest you or are unsure of your options, graduation will be here before you know it so follow our top tips for penultimate year students:

Final year

Some final year students will have a clear plan of what they would like to do after graduation. However, if you have still to make up your mind what to do, there is still time.

Our top tips for final year students include:

  • Explore your options. Read our pages on options with your degree subject and options with your skills, values and personality.
  • Speak with a Careers Adviser to discuss your options. We have a team of professional advisers that can help you get started with career planning: book an appointment.
  • Consider applying for the BP Student Tutoring Scheme to enhance your CV and gain work experience: BP Student Tutoring Scheme.
  • Start early by ensuring your CV is up to date. Learn how to sell yourself to employers by looking at our resources on CVs, applications and interviews.
  • Create a deadline calendar to help you manage application deadlines alongside your academic commitments. Graduate recruiters often advertise between September and December for graduate vacancies commencing the following September.
  • Use CareerConnect to keep up-to-date with the latest opportunities.
  • Tailor your applications to maximise your chances of success. Resist the temptation to apply for every graduate role you see advertised.
  • Think outside the box. Not all sectors advertise opportunities in the same way. Search our resources to discover more about the job type you are interested in.
Taught postgraduate

As a taught postgraduate student your year will be busy – some planning early on and good time management will ensure you can make the most of it.

  • Know what you want to achieve. Are you looking to develop your employability with a view to changing or advancing your career? Is it a step towards further study or do you have other aims?
  • Work out how to achieve it. There are many opportunities to develop the skills, attributes and experience you are aiming for. The develop skills and attributes section provides further information on these opportunities.
  • Work Based Projects - an optional alternative to the University based dissertation required to complete your Masters studies. Read more.
  • Consider applying for the BP Student Tutoring Scheme to enhance your CV and gain work experience: BP Student Tutoring Scheme.
  • Develop your professional network through attending events organised by your School (many run seminar series throughout the year) or relevant professional bodies (student membership rates are often very reasonable or even free). You can also network online, typically via LinkedIn and Twitter. Visit our using social media in your job search page to find out more.
  • Use CareerConnect to keep up-to-date with the latest opportunities.
  • Think outside of the box. Not all sectors advertise opportunities in the same way. Search our resources to discover more about the job types you are interested in.
Research postgraduate

We are happy to provide careers advice and guidance to research postgraduates at the University of Aberdeen.

There are also a wide range of resources that you might find useful:

  • The University of Aberdeen's Research and Knowledge Exchange
  • The University’s Researcher Development webpage - find out how you can be supported during your research.
  • Vitae - a national organisation with a dedicated Careers section on their website for researchers. It will provide you with guidance on an academic career, applying for vacancies and how to manage your career.
  • An Academic Career - a wide range of resources and video clips including sections on: 'Is an academic career for you?', finding jobs, making applications and interviews.
  • - access ebooks and video clips on topics such as Career Planning for PhDs, Planning an Academic or Research Career and Career Paths for PhDs.
  • Further resources on job seeking for researchers
  • Further resources on funding for researchers