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What Next… Planning Your Career Journey

Louise Sharland, Employability and Careers Advisor, is on hand to help you plan the next step of your creative career journey
<p dir="ltr">It’s that time of year when Arts University Plymouth <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/careers-enterprise">Careers and Enterprise Service</a> begins to get a lot of requests for what I would call, ‘What Next,’ meetings. Over the last few months your mind has been preoccupied with dissertation deadlines, planning a Final Major Project and thinking about your degree show. Now that you have a bit of breathing space it’s perfectly natural for you to start thinking…what next?<br /></p>
<p dir="ltr">There are a range of approaches to exploring, reflecting and researching the next steps in your career journey. One of my favourites is to start with <strong>writing it down.</strong> When I say writing it down, I mean getting all those thoughts, ideas and uncertainties on paper instead of spinning wildly around in your head. Try a basic mind map. Headings could include things like<strong> aims and</strong> <strong>ambitions, income, values, location, family, </strong>or whatever feels relevant to you at the time. This is a great starting point to explore personal and professional aspirations with honesty and confidence. Some of the key questions that may come out of your mindmap under ‘aims and ambitions,’ may include things like, ‘run my own business.’ Using the mind map structure you can expand those ideas by adding questions: What does being self employed really involve? What knowledge and experience do I need? What about funding? Taxes? Can I get a mortgage if I am self employed? This research phase of the mind mapping experience allows you to pull together all the information you need to make an informed decision that is right for you. You may decide to speak to a business advisor, talk to other self employed creatives, or learn how to draft a business plan.<br /></p>
A group of industry visitors gather around a table, surrounded by student work and a vibrant orange wall.
<p>A good place to start would be to get in touch with the right organisation for you. In Plymouth, that includes:</p>
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<p>All of this will allow you to explore the pros and cons before you invest time and more importantly, money. Once a decision is made, for example: ’I’m going to work for a few years to build my experience, networks and funds before starting my own business,’ you may need to do another mind map…all good! The mind map can also inform a very simple action plan. Deciding to work for a few years before starting your own business means your action plan could look something like this:</p>
<p dir="ltr">Meet with <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/people/louise-sharland">Louise Sharland</a>, the university careers advisor, draft a CV, cover letter and get my portfolio up to scratch. Think about social media. Does my Instagram feed present me and my work in the best light? Should I set up a LinkedIn Profile? Start applying for jobs. <br /></p>
<p dir="ltr">Do mock interviews, update my CV, widen my job search. <br /></p>
<p>Reflect on what’s been working in my current job (or job search), think about training and advancement opportunities, save money for my business start-up fund. Keep building my networks for when I’m ready to go self employed.</p>
<p>By writing it down, using mind maps and action plans you become your own project manager, and the project you are managing is your own successful career!</p>