What are your priorities?

It’s time to think about external influences that you need to consider when making a careers decision.

Use your career action plan

As you do these activities you can complete the "What are your priorities?" section of your career action plan (Word - 188KB).

SWOT analysis

Consider using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) or pros and cons list to identify any external influences on your career choice. Book an appointment with Careers Network to explore some of these ideas.

The Mindtools website offers more information on using SWOT analysis.

  • Strengths: What do you do well?
  • Weaknesses: What could you improve?
  • Opportunities: What opportunities are open to you?
  • Threats: What threats do your weaknesses reveal to you?

Reality check

Do I have any limitations to consider before choosing my next step?

Family commitments, financial considerations and distance to work can present real questions and challenges in deciding on location and working life.

Work-life balance

Over the last few years, the concept of ‘nine-to-five’ has changed, and an increasing number of people are without a base or are working on a flexible basis, including working from home. The concept of the virtual office has meant that an increasing number of people are living a considerable distance from their work place, but maintaining contact via email or phone. If flexibility and working remotely appeal to you, then look at organisations that are open to new styles of working.

Think about what motivates you and makes you want to get up in a morning.

To enjoy and do well in a career, it needs to interest you: it’s hard to fake enthusiasm and passion for a job.

Location, location, location

Moving around… Many of the larger recruiters will be national, indeed international organisations. Whilst the head office may be based in London, opportunities may exist throughout the UK or abroad. A number of the graduate training programmes may require relocation to different parts of the country. Whilst these larger graduate schemes can provide flexibility and opportunities, they are not always able to guarantee your first choice of location (or any choice at all!).

Home or away? If working overseas appeals, explore professions that are in demand overseas. Each country will have its own shortage and priority employment areas and will be keen to entice qualified professionals. The country profiles on www.prospects.ac.uk provide good links to explore with regards to the employment visas, permits, and qualifications required.

Working in the Heart of England: Birmingham and the West Midlands area is committed to retaining talent at the heart of the country. Whilst many national companies will have bases in the midlands, there are a significant number of smaller and medium sized companies in the area. With many companies employing less than fifty people, you may have the chance to gain a lot of experience quickly and be given earlier responsibility than in a larger organisation.

What does the West Midlands have to offer? Research using:


What salaries do different jobs command? Salary guidelines for over three hundred different jobs are available on Prospects.

Postgraduate study: find out more about how to fund it:

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