Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Succeed in the workplace

1 The career planning process – where am I now?

Described image
Figure 1 The careers planning process

Here’s a quick reminder of where you are in the careers planning process. You’ve already completed step one, ‘know yourself’, and are moving on to ‘explore opportunities’ now. You’re already a quarter of the way through the process – well done for sticking with it.

Now you need to match what you know about yourself to the opportunities available.

You’ll learn about the importance of this next step in the first activity of the week.

Activity 1 Why explore opportunities?

Allow approximately 10 minutes

Watch this short video in which a careers adviser explains the importance of this step in the career planning process.

Download this video clip.Video player: intro.mp4
Skip transcript


Adele Merrison:
Hi. I’m Adele Merrison and I’m a Careers adviser. Identifying the right career, course or training route for you is often called the ‘career planning process’. This can be divided into four parts, and it’s important that you work through all of these, so you can research and weigh up the options open to you, in an informed, methodical and realistic manner.
End transcript
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Although the adviser talks specifically about paid work, the point she is making holds true for unpaid work. It is becoming rare that you can find unpaid work without the same kind of search for opportunities that you do for paid work. You may agree with some of the points made in the video, especially if they reflect your own experiences. You might disagree with some too, for the same reason. Take a few minutes to note down in your notebook your reactions to the following questions.

  1. How far do you agree with what the careers adviser says – do you have any personal experiences that suggest she has a good point?
  2. How do you feel about taking a structured approach to pursuing your aspirations?
  3. What challenges might adopting this approach present for you? Who might support or help you in meeting such a challenge?


As with most of the activities in this course, what you will have written down will reflect your own personal experiences. Try not to think of any challenges as obstacles, but rather as problems to be solved. In that way you can start to take control of them.

A structured approach can really help, whether you are absolutely certain of what work you want to do, or uncertain. You are fortunate if you have a very clear idea, as most people won’t be in this position. Identifying where your ideas fall in this range of possibilities is a good place to start when exploring opportunities and you’ll consider this in the next section.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus