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We all need to manage our own careers; organisations will not do this for us.

Enhancing and managing your career is an ongoing process, not just something that you do when circumstances make it a necessity

Make sure you continue to develop your strengths, abilities and skills. Whatever stage you are at in your career, there are opportunities for personal and professional growth.

This section has practical advice on being active in your career progression, whatever your current circumstances.

Just started a new job

You are now where you wanted to be: in a new position. What will you do next?

To ensure that you make a good start in your new organisation

  • get to know who the key decision makers are and who needs to be kept on board
  • learn about its culture, so you know how things get done and how your personality and working style might fit in
  • identify and work towards achieving some short-term objectives
  • build up a new network, for example of colleagues and customers, both within the organisation and outside it.

Getting ahead in your current job

Even if you have been in your present job for some time you need not get stuck in a rut.

  • Make the most of existing opportunities such as internal training, appraisals or career development programmes offered by your organisation
  • Work at developing your network of contacts
  • Think about how you can consolidate your position, or prepare for a move if necessary.

Facing a job loss

Even if you are facing redundancy, there are positive steps you can take to plan for your next move.

The next five years

It is sensible to have in mind a plan for the next five to ten years of your career.

  • Think about what you want to achieve in the long term, and identify short-term objectives to help you get there.
  • Use an action plan to track and manage your professional development. Make sure your plan is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. Monitor your progress from time to time, revising your targets if necessary. This can also provide valuable information for your annual appraisal.
  • Be aware of factors that could affect your sector, through reading specialist magazines. The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils and the National Guidance Research Forum give valuable information on employment trends across a range of areas. The Office for National Statistics reports on social trends in the UK.
  • Take on new challenges, either at work or in your leisure time.
  • Continue learning, either formally or informally. Developing your skills, knowledge and abilities can be life-changing, whatever stage of your career.

What employers say about career change

Watch videos about employers’ perspectives on career change and development.

(Registered students only)


To progress you should ensure that you are investing in your most important resource - yourself.