Plan your future

Planning your career and future is a rewarding and interesting process that you should start during the early stages of your studies. There is no career choice that suits everybody; draw up your own plan in accordance with your own values and needs. Your career plan will probably change as you become more self-confident and get more work experience.

Aalto students were asked five years after graduating, what skills they regarded as most important in their work. Besides the theoretical knowledge obviously needed from one’s study field, the skills needed to succeed are soft skills: negotiating, teamwork, presentation, communication, leadership and project management skills and generic knowledge of legislation and business basics. (Uraseurantaraportti by Aalto Career Services). Of course, you need to be a person whose skills can be easily put to use on projects.

Research shows that self-efficacy is a good predictor of career-decidedness. Self-efficacy is a task-specific self-confidence. In career planning it means how one perceives and believes one’s abilities to successfully explore careers and make successful decisions.

Outcome expectations are the anticipated results of exploring careers and making decisions (e.g., that career exploring, collecting information, organisation and persistence will help one to make a better decision).

Self-efficacy and outcome expectations motivate the goals (choice of activities, intention to perform) and predict actions (implementation of decision-making behaviors, activity choices, effort and persistence). High self-efficacy promotes positive outcome expectations, because those who are more confident in their skills are likely to be optimistic about making good decisions and achieving the things they value.

To improve your self-efficacy, set clear, specific and appropriately challenging goals and recoqnize small successes. Watch others: you learn by observation of models of other people. Reflect on your past accomplishments and have a can-do attitude.

Plans for the future

  • Know yourself, reflect on your learning, ask for honest and explicit feedback.
  • Recognize and understand your skills and strengths, believe in yourself. It will get you recruited.
  • Challenge yourself: get out of comfort zone!
  • Make a good CV, portfolio, LinkedIn profile or other job search document and find a way to remind  yourself of updating it regularly.
  • Grow your network: Get to know people, they are your future colleagues.
  • Start with a direction that matters to you.
  • Know your options and the current trends in working life.
  • Understand how companies work when they need new resources.
  • Make decisions and make an action plan.
  • Start today!

Read more about career planning

Seija Leppänen
career counselling psychologist
Aalto University Learning Services, Student Services
seija.leppanen@aalto.fi

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