SCAN Stage 2: Career Exploration and Research

Career Exploration relates to researching different options in order to establish which particular career pathways are most likely to match your own individual values, skills, interests and personality as identified through the self-assessment exercises carried out in stage one. As with self-assessment, thorough career exploration takes time but pays dividends in terms of making realistic career decisions and informing well- structured, coherent applications and interview answers.

Stage 2 is closely linked to Stage 1 and neither stage should be carried out in isolation, in that the clearer you are about what is important to you (stage 1) the more targeted and relevant your research (stage 2) will be.

As part of the career exploration stage you should take the following steps:

  • analyse your self-assessment, and construct a list of options that you would like to explore
  • for each option, pinpoint key areas for further investigation e.g. key criteria, opportunities, competition etc.
  • identify a first choice, as well as a backup-plan.

Career exploration can then be split into preliminary and specific research tasks:

Preliminary tasks concern more desk-bound online or journal based research concerning Specialist job descriptions (duties), person specification (entry criteria), competition (ratios), Opportunities (location), Trust data (values, funding, areas of specialism etc).

Specific research concerns more personalised information around areas of staff progression, culture, morale and personality which can only be ascertained through talking to a variety of individuals who work in the  specific speciality or trust you are currently researching. Constantly reviewing your professional network for gaps or opportunities greatly assists with this process.

Use the weblinks and other career exploration resources listed to fully explore your career options in more detail.

Specialty Links

Case studies

Career Exploration Links

Career Exploration Exercises

Networking template