Careers research in simple steps

Do your own careers research into whatever sector you want by following these tips.

Your first step 

To get an overview of a broad area of work such as science and pharmaceuticals, business and finance, or public services and administration, look at the job sector reports on these careers websites: 

Job sectors (Prospects)     

Career sectors (TargetJobs)  

Maybe you’ve seen or heard mention of a job title and you want to know more about it. Check out the Job Profiles on the Prospects website. There are over 400 of these - so there’s a good chance some of them will interest you. Each of them covers: 

  • typical responsibilities in the role 

  • average starting salary range for new entrants 

  • entry requirements 

  • career progression 

  • professional bodies 

  • typical employers  

  • where to look for vacancies 

Job profiles (Prospects)    

The job profiles and sector overviews together will give you a clear picture of a role, its wider context, and how to work towards it.   

You’ll find they provide answers to many of your questions. 

Want to go into more detail?  

Keep up to date with developments in a particular industry or company by following them in the media. BBC Business is easily accessible, or try the Financial Times – it's not all about finance and you can access it online through Discover.Ed.   

Take advantage of the University’s subscriptions to specialist journals and business databases; try IbisWorld or MarketLine for sector insights and forecasts. MarketLine covers a wide range of regions, both cover a good selection of sectors:

Library’s list of business databases 

Every business operates within a commercial setting and how it responds to external economic and societal conditions is part of what shapes its identity and its plans for development. Employers will expect to see evidence that you’ve thought about this context. Get some ideas here: 

Commercial awareness 

Professional bodies and membership associations 

Some areas of work are regulated by professional bodies which accredit training and qualifications. Many of these welcome students as members, sometimes at a reduced membership rate or free of charge, and if you’ve a genuine interest in a particular career joining its professional body will give you access to information, news and networking events - and demonstrate your interest.  

The websites of some professional bodies and membership associations have lists of members which you can use to find contacts.  

Professional bodies and associations (TargetJobs) 

Taking it further 

Speaking to someone who does a particular job gives you a unique insight. Use the techniques we’ve talked about here, and in our page on creating your own opportunity, to identify possible contacts and set up an informational interview.  

Create your own opportunity 

Ask the questions: informational interviews 

Need support?  

We’re here to help if you need us – send us a question, or come to a drop-in. 

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