It is our vision that all TU/e students have a clear picture of who they are, what they want after their studies and know how to get there and that, if needed, they can make use of the career development services provided by university.
Career development consist of identifying which career would suit you, job market orientation, development of skills, gaining knowledge and experience and finally applying for jobs. Career development is important as it helps you make choices during your study (in terms of electives, roles in team projects and additional activities) and being well prepared is half the way to success. You don’t have to know from the start of your studies what you will do after graduation, we actively stimulate to take more time to think about your interests and explore different options so that you have a solid confirmation of your direction by the time you graduate.
1. Identifiying which career would suit you
An important aspect of this step is self assessment to understand who you are. What kind of person are you, what is driving you, what are your strengths and pitfalls, what is providing you with or costing you energy. TU/e Career Academy offers the following options to help you with this:
- a workshop Self Assessment: SFC55 - Self-Assessment (tue.nl)
- Master students follow the Professional Identity Training including an assessment from My Motivational Insights
- Self guided learning materials
- Career coaching sessions
Another aspect to explore is what do I want in my career, in a job, from an employer and additional factors like work-life balance, salary, fun. More and more we also see that students want to have an impact. But the next question is what kind of impact? Would you like to work for an organization that is already doing well or an organization where still a lot can be changed? Do you want to have direct impact yourself or work for an organization that has impact? What does this impact look like? What is success for you? It good also be a starting point to think about what you don’t want and what you don’t know yet.
2. Job market orientation
Once you know who you are and what you want, it’s time to do a reality check. Does your dream job actually exists? Does your dream job meet your expectations and wishes? Can you enter that job right after graduation or do you need more experience, skills or knowledge? You can do this reality check by:
- Reading information (Google, LinkedIn, company website)
- Attending lunch lectures and other company presentations. You can find an overview of activities on TU/e on MyFuture
- Talking to people who work for/with the company (friends, family, alumni, employees of a company, your mentor, professors)
- Work shadowing
3. Development of skills
In the self assessment part you got an understanding of your skills, strengths and weaknesses. Through job market orientation you looked at what would be needed for your dream job. Now it’s time to match both and see where a gap lies in terms of skills and how you can develop these skills. Skills can be divided into hard skills (like programming, working with a certain software/tool), language skills (speaking/writing/listening/reading a certain language) and soft skills (like communication and presenting). Developing skills is a combination of following a training/tutorial, reading information, a lot of practice and having a feeling for a skill. The best combination also depends on your learning style and can be different per individual and skill.
For soft skills we provide a broad range of self guided learning materials on skillslab.
Next to skills you also have personality traits, which are a deeper part of who you are, and are often much more difficult to develop or change. Every positive side, has a downside and every negative point a positive side as well. When it comes to personality traits, we would advise you to embrace your strengths and accept your weaknesses and try to become aware when a strength becomes too much and converts to your pitfall. An ideal job matches your strengths, gives room to improve your weaknesses, but does not request too much tasks that don’t come natural to you. Would this be the case for your dream job?
4. Gaining knowledge and experience
When analyzing the gap between your dream job and current state, you will also see that you need certain knowledge and experience. Next step would be to research how you could gain that knowledge and experience. Do you for example need to do an internship, join a committee or follow a certain elective. It could also be that you cannot gain the knowledge or experience at this moment and need to build in a sub step in your career. It’s good to realize that many people don’t follow a straight career path. They build in additional steps, define it along the way or are jumping from one opportunity to the next one.
5. Applying for jobs
The main tip for the application process is to have clear focus on who you are, what you want and how that matches the needs of companies. If you have this clear, the only next step is to communicate it and a bit of luck. See yourself as a product in a store, waiting to be bought by a customer. How do you make sure that the customers knows what they are buying and what the right choice is for them? How do you differ from the other TU/e graduates in your program? TU/e Career Academy offers several services to help you with the communication during and preparation for the application process: