September spread in a bullet journal with a yellow water colour marker

Developing an action plan is a great way to help you focus your ideas and to decide what steps you need to take to achieve particular goals that you may have. As university is three or four years of your life, it’s a good way to achieve your ultimate aim through little steps. At the beginning of every year, it’s a good idea to create an action plan for that year. Here we’ve focused primarily on gaining work in your chosen field after uni, although you can also focus on achieving specific grades in your uni work, and what goals you set yourself for the year will depend on where you are in your uni life:

First year: Develop skills and think about what careers you might be interested in and suited to. Spend some time finding out about those careers and choosing three or four to explore in depth through work shadowing, informational interviews, industry events.

Second year: Apply for a year in industry or a year abroad if you are interested. 

Penultimate year: Now that you have narrowed down your career choices - it’s good to have a couple of options - apply for an internship or summer placement in your chosen industry. By this point you will have a clear understanding of what the industry is looking for so and have the right skillset so you can tailor your applications.

Final year: Apply for jobs in your chosen field. You should have everything in place to create the perfect application, however remember to have a back up plan if you don’t manage to get into the graduate scheme of your dreams. What is your contingency plan going to look like?

You can then formulate your plan into a quick spreadsheet or table:

Penultimate YearActionWhen 
Goal 1 Develop specified skills Throughout the year
Goal 2 Apply to summer internship X6 December
Step 1 Attend a 'how to fill in internship applications' workshop October
Step 2 Research internships in my field & identify ones to apply to November
Goal 3 Find part-time work October
Step 1 Update my CV & cover letter September
Step 2 Research e.g. shops that are looking for an assistant in the local area September

Remember to break down your goals into manageable chucks so you don’t get too overwhelmed! Knowing when your deadlines are and when tasks need to be completed is also a great way to help you prioritise so that you can complete all your goals for the year. 

And remember to treat yourself when you complete a goal!