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The classic career development model follows the following steps. It’s a cyclical process, as our careers are moving on and developing throughout the course of our lives.

Individual Assessment

This is the stage of the process that gets you thinking about what matters to you in your career and life. It involves steps such as considering your values, assessing your skills and experience, what’s right or not right for you. There are tools, ideas and links later on in this section to help you look at these things.

Explore options

Take every opportunity to explore what options there are around that might align with your aspirations and skills.

Who could you connect with in your professional network – both internal and external – to explore options? What broader opportunities to connect are there at Oxford or beyond, or in organisations beyond Oxford? Is there a Professional Association for your area?

Think about how your skills and experience could transfer. Are there other sectors that attract you? Keeping an eye on job pages and websites could generate ideas.

Research Preferred Options

Once you have an idea about the sector or role you would like to aim for, start to target your efforts on finding out more about it. Of course there is plenty of information on the internet and from other information sources. The Careers Service can help you with this.

Contact people who are already in the sector /role and ask if you can meet to talk to them about the role, what it involves, what skills / qualifications/ experience are needed. NB This is not asking for a job, it’s asking for information, and most people when approached in the right way are very happy to talk about how they got to where they are, and about what they do. Who do you know who knows someone in the area you are looking at? Look for opportunities to volunteer / work shadow.

Planning and taking action

At this stage you will be focusing on job searches / networking to find out about specific opportunities, and perhaps doing further training / learning.

Take the opportunity to hone your job application / CV and interview skills. Get help from The Careers Service (link above). Get feedback from friends / colleagues / mentors on your applications and CVs. People who know you and what you are good at might be able to make strong contributions to your job application / CV. Make use of these people.

Make the opportunity to do interview practice. Actually talking to someone else about what you can do, answering questions and getting their feedback is invaluable.


Alison Trinder September 2020