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Find some inspiration

We understand that looking for career ideas can feel like a huge task – especially if you are faced with the pressures of studying at the same time.

Once you have found a few ideas that interest you and some potential options that seem to be suited to your individual skills, thinking about your career will feel a lot less stressful!

Try not to be influenced by other people! They may not want the same things from a job that you do, so different roles will suit them but not you.

The simple steps below will help you find some inspiration and get started...

Think about your subject

... it may lead to unexpected ideas

Your degree subject and the career paths of those with the same degree can be a good source of inspiration.

Think through what you have enjoyed the most and the least about your degree. It may be that the subject interests you enough to want to take it into your career, or perhaps it is the way it makes you think about things rather than the subject itself that really motivates you. Have a look at our Explore your options - by degree pages.  These what to do with your degree webpages from Prospects will help you think this through too.

Keep in mind that most employers do not require a specific degree: they are much more interested in your skills, your potential and whether you can demonstrate an interest in the role.

View the University of Cambridge graduate destination page to see what people with the same degree as you went on to do (you can use GradLink and LinkedIn for this too). You may be surprised at the range of options open to you.

See what others are doing

... and discover a world of possibilities

Careers inspiration can be found simply through talking to people you know about what they do, what they like about it, and how they got there. As well as people you know, it can prove very useful to talk to people you don't know to broaden your horizons.

Try searching GradLink using your interests as keywords to generate ideas. For example, searching for "mental health” might lead you to social work, youth work, teaching, psychology, policy, charities, campaigning, fundraising and, once you start thinking laterally, to even more. This can be a great starting point to generate some ideas to follow up. You can view more alumni profiles on LinkedIn, and read stories from alumni talking about their experiences in different sectors in our Careers Service blog below. 

The unicamcareers blog features alumni and student stories covering a vast range of careers, and is also where we share seasonal advice on topics including graduate schemes and successful applications.


unicamcareers blog



Browse vacancies

... just for inspiration

You can use Handshake for inspiration rather than to find and apply for a job. While you're browsing ask yourself:

  • What do you like the sound of, and why?
  • What job titles are new to you?
  • Which organisations are recruiting in your sector or preferred geographical area?
  • What doesn't appeal to you, and why?

Download any job role packs to find out more about what the jobs really involve (you don't have to apply!).

Are your existing perceptions of certain jobs realistic? Perhaps you love writing and think journalism must be right for you? Research journalism in our sector webpages or on the Prospects website to understand the reality – would you find the necessary networking and likely freelance career exciting or daunting? If so, you may consider writing in a different context (e.g. a communications role for a large charity).

Remember, when looking for ideas during Michaelmas term you might think most jobs are in corporate areas. That's just because these sectors have a lot of deadlines at this time, and have budgets to recruit heavily. Other career areas recruit at other times of year and in a much less structured way, so be aware that you might have to look a bit harder to find these. Explore our sector webpages for help with this.

Try new experiences

... explore your options and do something new

Cambridge is a great place to try different things and branch out. Why not join some societies? The more experiences you try, the more ideas you may have.

Look at our vacation work feedback for ideas about what to do outside of term. Developing skills, talking to people in new contexts, gaining insights into a new industry – all these can generate inspiration and make useful contacts. If you’re a PhD student you may be able to do some work experience alongside your research.

If you've graduated and still aren't sure about your career path, a break after university can give you time to generate or clarify ideas. What you do with a break is important though, so plan well to gain the experiences you need to move forward.

If you're considering postgraduate study, do your research to see what doors it will open (and those it won't). If you feel it may be right for you, find more information on our postgraduate study pages.

Join societies

Vacation work

Take a break

Further study