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Consider your Motivations for Further Study | The Careers Service Consider your Motivations for Further Study – Oxford University Careers Service
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Why do further study?

There a many reasons why someone would choose to undertake further study. They are likely to be a mix of some of the following:

  • To satisfy intellectual curiosity, fuel a passion for your subject.
  • To gain expertise in a specific area, or to build evidence of experience of a sector.
  • To improve your career prospects, more on this below.
  • To gain entry to a career for which a higher degree is a (virtually) essential precursor.
  • To change direction into another discipline.
  • To enhance your skills generally.
  • To boost a weak academic record.
  • To buy some time while you make career decisions, or while the labour market refreshes.
  • To maintain a student lifestyle…

It’s worth taking some time to think beyond your basic motivation. We highlight some of the other issues you might consider below.

Will it improve your career prospects?

For some professions postgraduate qualifications are essential. For example, in the UK you are likely to need them for research and teaching posts in universities, health specialisms and legal careers.

Often a postgraduate course is just one possible route to gaining experience and entry to a sector. This is, for example, the case in journalism, museum work, environmental work, and international development.

In the UK, employers often do not demand a higher degree, and in some cases a postgraduate could be recruited to do the same job as a first-degree graduate. In many business areas employers will take you on regardless of your subject, and train you themselves or put you through the necessary professional training.

Further study will not automatically get you a better job, but it can improve your chances if the employer requires the specialism you have developed. The transferable skills gained from doing postgraduate study, carefully targeted and effectively marketed in an application, can greatly enhance job applications, but may not earn you a better starting salary.

For international careers thorough research is even more important. Different countries often have their own professional qualifications, and even within the European Union there may not be harmony. Sector-specific postgraduate qualifications gained in a particular location may only be valid for jobs in the same country. As such, it may be important to consider whether you’re likely to wish to move between countries before you begin.

Research the area you want to go into, and discuss your ideas with a Careers Adviser before embarking on a course which may not be necessary for your future career. More on this below.

How to research for yourself

Thorough research of an occupation is necessary before deciding to undertake any related study.

External Resources
This information was last updated on 14 August 2018.
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Recent blogs about Consider your Motivations for Further Study

Apply now for The Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Health and Life Sciences!

Blogged by Fiona Sinclair on 14/12/2018.

Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Health and Life Sciences…

The purpose of the Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Health and Life Sciences programme is to provide early career researchers (DPhil students, RAs, and postdocs with an opportunity to develop the core employability skills required for a transition into analytical or policy roles in the sector.

Participants volunteer some of their own time to work in teams, over a 3-4 month period, to address a strategic issue or business opportunity for a client organisation in the health and life science sector. the programme is open to all disciplines and will offer participants a unique insight into the health and life sciences sector.

but it isn’t just about consulting!

The programme will provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • Experience an Assessment Centre and hone their presentation skills
  • Develop key employability skills such as business and customer awareness, strategic thinking, creativity, team working and communication
  • Demonstrate key employability skills in their CV and in job interviews
  • Tackle strategic business issues and opportunities and make a contribution to the sector
  • Gain an awareness of the commercial, social and behavioural contexts of professional environments.

Apply now

Applications for the Researcher Strategy Consultancy – Health and Life Sciences are now open. The closing date is 16 January (noon). APPLY HERE

If you have any queries regarding the programme, please email courses@careers.ox.ac.uk

Applications open for The Agency – Hilary Term 2019!

Blogged by Fiona Sinclair on 12/12/2018.

The Agency in Hilary Term…

The Agency was developed by The Careers Service and the Oxford Advertising and Marketing Society to help students gain practical experience working within an environment similar to a traditional creative agency – with real client projects from local businesses, charities and community organisations.

You will be working in small teams of six over one academic term to find a creative solution to an intellectually challenging problem.

… it isn’t just about marketing and advertising!

The Agency will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Develop application and assessment centre skills;
  • Increase commercial awareness by tackling strategic business issues and concerns;
  • Gain specialised skills for working in a creative agency;
  • Develop other key employability skills useful in any career such as self-management, team working, problem solving and communication;
  • Produce demonstrable examples of keys skills for your CV or for use in job/internship interviews;
  • Contribute to the local community and gain work experience.

Apply now

Applications for The Agency programme in Hilary 2019 are now open. The closing date is 8 January (noon). APPLY HERE

To find out more about the programme visit The Agency webpage, or email us on courses@careers.ox.ac.uk.

Become a student ambassador for the Creative Industries Federation

Blogged by Lara Hayward on 06/12/2018.

Are you considering a career in the creative industries? Are you a passionate creative and looking for a new challenge? For current higher and further education students who have an interest in the creative industries, the Creative Industries Federation (“CIF”) are piloting a new Student Ambassador Programme. CIF Student Ambassadors will be representatives for the membership body at their universities, helping to spread the word about events and opportunities in the creative industries while making the most of the insight, research, events and networking benefits that the Federation can offer them.

A great opportunity to learn more about the creative industries and add experience to your CV.

For more information on the programme, click here.

Roundhouse Co-working Hub: Mentoring and masterclass opportunities in the creative industry

Blogged by Lara Hayward on 06/12/2018.

A new co-working space at the Roundhouse

Many people know the Roundhouse as a gig venue, or a place to see theatre, dance or circus. But what many people don’t know is that each year, 6,000 young people (aged 11-25) also come to the Roundhouse to take part in projects or use rehearsal and studio space right underneath the main auditorium where so many people have seen a show.

The Roundhouse’s Centre for Creative and Digital Entrepreneurs is a co-working space within the new campus, which will be built in the Roundhouse yard and will comprise three large studio spaces and a new outdoor bar for audiences. It will allow the Roundhouse to work with young people, up to the age of 30, so that they can support the next generation of record label owners, film producers and tech innovators to achieve their dreams. Through desk space, mentors and masterclasses they will help young people build their future in the creative industries. For further information on the pilot, see the Roundhouse Chief Executive and Artistic Director Marcus Davey’s blog post here

How to… answer the tricky questions over the Christmas lunch

Blogged by Jonathan Black on 29/11/2018.

Three questions not to ask most students and graduates over the Christmas break:

  1. how’s the work/dissertation going?
  2. do you want any money?
  3. what are you going to do after your degree?

The Careers Service Recommended answers are: “Really well”, “Yes, please”, and “I’m exploring my options and developing a plan.” And when you have the follow up question about what exactly your options are, can we suggest that you share the following with your relatives and suggest that they have a go?

First up is the test which all students have to pass before being able to start the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) – the compulsory course required to qualify as a barrister.

Second, for non-lawyers, is a whole series of aptitude tests – you can find those here.

Third, you could complete some or all of our CareerCompass – then discuss it with your family.

Fourth, suggest your family tries the McKinsey practice test.

Finally, to demonstrate how much research and preparation you are doing, you could tell them that you are going to book to see a Careers Adviser, 1:1, next term, will be reviewing the 2,000+ vacancies on the system (at time of writing), applying to The Student Consultancy, thinking about MicroInternships, or just reading the extensive collection of briefing materials on different sectors.

Whatever you do, we wish you a relaxing winter break, and look forward to seeing you next term and next year.

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