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Managing Your Career

Managing your career means being active and taking personal responsibility for this important element of your life.

Principle five of the Concordat states that:

“Individual researchers share the responsibility for and need to proactively engage in their own personal and career development”.

These pages offer advice on how you can manage your career more effectively and information on how Cardiff University can support you in this.

Career success can mean very different things to different people. For some it is all about linear progression; hierarchical and rigid with success measured by recognition of position, status, monetary reward and power; in research terms: professor or bust! For others it is something that is “self-determined, driven by personal values rather than organisational rewards, and serving the whole person, family, and life purpose” Hall (2004). Whichever end of the spectrum your view tends towards and wherever you think your next career move may be we can offer help to you at Cardiff University. The next steps are up to you.

What is managing your career?

Managing your career is a balance of using and developing your own knowledge, skills and experience; anticipating and dealing with change in your life and the employment market; and, through this, putting yourself in the position to seize opportunities.

Practical ways to help you get started with managing your career

  • Appreciating the need to be active in continuing to engage in professional development and taking personal responsibility for your career progression and enhanced employability.
  • Setting yourself realistic shorter or medium term career goals and starting to identify ways of achieving them.
  • Assessing your range and level of skills, knowledge and experience gained through your research and demonstrating an insight into the transferable nature of these skills to other work environments, and the range of career opportunities available within and outside academia
  • Developing the ability to present the ‘employable self’ – your experience, personal attributes and skills - through selection processes like CVs, applications and interviews.

How do you do it?

Managing your career can sound like a job in itself when viewed as a whole but if you think about the individual elements you will find that you are already well on the way and that there are many sources of help.

Hall, D.T. (2004), "The protean career: a quarter-century journey", Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 65 No.1, pp.1-13.


Researcher Development Framework

You may find it useful to use the Researcher Development Framework to assist you in your development planning. This summarises the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of effective and highly skilled researchers and is endorsed by the UK Research Councils. It is relevant for a wide range of careers and can help you prepare both for useful discussions with your PI and in prioritising courses and other development opportunities.

For areas where you feel you need to concentrate your development you could also try the RDF Professional Development Planner available as a download from the VITAE website.