Taking the Next Step in Your Career

There comes a point in any job when you feel ready for the next challenge. So how can you take action to ensure progression? Our resident jobs expert Sue Mason, from the NUBS Postgraduate Careers team, shares her advice with five steps you can take to advance your career. 


When you first start a job, it is all new and exciting, then you settle into it and develop the expertise and confidence in your area of work, but for many, there comes a point when you feel ready for the next challenge. So how can you best take the next step to ensure success?

Taking the time to create a career development plan will help you to reach your career goals, stay motivated and inspired and make you work better, strengthen your relationship with others and take your career to the next level. Here are 5 steps you can take:

  1. Identify your current position in your career – What are you doing well? What do you enjoy doing? What are you doing when you feel most motivated? What do you not like doing? What kinds of natural skills and talents do you have? What are you like as an employee? What do others say about you?
  2. Identify your career destination - What would your dream career be if nothing was holding you back? Is that realistic? Participate in informational interviews to find out more about potential roles. Where else could your skills be used? Would that have better growth potential? Considering where you are and the skills you have, where would you like your career to be in two, five and ten years?

  3. Do a gap analysis – Think creatively about how you could close the gap between where you are and want to be. Find job listings for the type of job you want. Look at the qualifications, experience, knowledge, and skills that you will need. Do you have all of these? Consider any barriers to your achieving success. Who can help you? Does your personal brand reflect the career you want? Do you need to expand your knowledge, experience, and skills, attend CPD sessions, read or study?

  4. Create your career development plan – List what you will need to do to close the gap. Find some quick wins, medium, and longer-term plans. Make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Consider if developments need to happen in a particular order.

  5. Measure your progress and be ready to re-evaluate – Action the plan. Keep to the dates set and check it regularly to see how you are doing. Congratulate yourself for your successes and learn from your failures. It is okay to change direction over time if your goals or your life circumstances change.

Visualising your future is the first step towards realising it and if you follow these steps, you will be ready for the next exciting phase of your career. You can even refer to your career development achievements when it's time to apply for a new position or negotiate for a raise.

Careers support for NUBS alumni

If you would like some support with taking the next step in your career, our trained Careers Consultants will be happy to support you with:

  • evaluating your skills, interests, and motivations
  • maximising opportunities to gain experience, develop skills and build connections
  • devising a career development plan
  • navigating your next steps, by either gaining work, changing careers, starting a business or further study.

You can contact us at: