We use cookies on our website to provide you with the best possible user experience. Disabling these cookies may prevent our site from working efficiently. To find out more about our cookies read our privacy policy.

Career Planning - a model

There are lots of ways to go about planning your career, and working out what you want to do after University. However, one popular method is to use what is known as the DOTS model - an approach defined by Law and Watts, that helps you to structure your career planning by breaking down the process into 4 stages:


1. Self Awareness

Think about yourself. What are you skills and attributes? What are the values that are important to you? What do you think you want from a career? What really interests or excites you? Our pages on what jobs would suit me might help you with this.


2. Occupational Awareness

What options are out there for you? What could you do with your degree? What have other students from your programme done? What is it like to work in a particular job? How do you pursue a certain career route? What skills or experience do you need? Head to our pages on what you can do with your degree, find out about types of jobs, or consider other options with your subject.


3. Decision making

Once you are armed with the above information, you are in a better position to start making some decisions about what you want to do. You can perhaps at least narrow it down a little, and then perhaps think about getting some experience through volunteering, work placements or part-time work to help give you more of an insight into different kinds of careers. This is a particularly good time to come and speak to a careers adviser, who can help you think through your options, but you can also speak to friends and family about it, of course. You might find it helpful to read some job adverts or job descriptions, to help get a more focused idea of what a job might be like.


4. Transition learning

Do you need to get some experience in order to apply for the sorts of jobs you want to? Do you need help writing your CV, or practice with interviews? Do you need to undertake further study in order to pursue the career you want?


Remember, this is only a guide, and it isn't an approach that works for everyone. But whether you stick to this model strongly, or just think about what it is encouraging you to do, it is a useful suggestion of some of the sorts of things you can do help you with the career planning process.

It's also important to remember that on average, people end up changing career 2-3 times throughout their working lives, so you are not necessarily making a decision that will determine the rest of your life!


Job Exploration and Skills Awareness Programmes

Take a look at our guide to Job Exploration and Skills Awareness Programmes the programmes use various methods (questionnaires, activities and tasks) to explore your skills, knowledge, experience and career motivation in order to encourage you to begin to think about what type of job / career would suit you. Some programmes may even suggest occupations which match your profile.