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Research and Explore

  • ‘I have some ideas what I want to do’ 
  • 'I am actively researching and exploring different career ideas'

This stage is all about exploring some of the ideas and options you have developed. It’s a time to research and test career ideas, build networks, and increase your knowledge of the wide variety of career possibilities. You will consider the ‘fit’ between certain roles and sectors and your own values and skills. This is a stage for getting work experience, seeking shadowing opportunities making connections (Are you on LinkedIn? for example) and generally testing out possibilities.

It’s a time to ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I need experience?
  • Is my degree enough on its own?
  • What’s it like working in X sector?
  • How do people working in Y role get into this field?
  • How do I connect with influential people?
  • How can I improve my CV?

As well as attending many of the Careers & Employability Service's events where you have a chance to connect with employers and benefitting from the support available to all students through the service and in departments, there are a variety of activities across the College that you can do to start exploring your options – we've listed some examples below.


Discover the other stages of the framework

You may realise that you're in one of the other stages. Check out the Evaluate and Enact pages and choose the one most suited to where you are now, and take one step to kick start your graduate career!

You can also complete our 'What stage are you at?' quiz on Moodle.

If you need more guidance on what stage you are at now, or want advice on how to move on to the next stage, you can book a one-to-one appointment with a Careers Consultant. Find out more.

What's on?

Research 'What's on?' now on campus. These events and activities can help you to gain the valuable experience you need, make connections and improve your CV.

Find out more.



Research your options at Careers Fairs

Nothing says 'Explore' more than Careers Fairs. These are the ideal place for students who are in the 'Explore' stage. From the annual Careers Fair in October and smaller Careers Fairs in the Event Space, the Careers & Employability Service regularly holds fairs where you have the opportunity to speak to employers who have come on campus specifically to meet students just like you, who have decided what they want to do after graduation, and are keen to get hired.

These fairs help you to make the first point of contact with a company, sign up to their mailing list and ask questions about their application process. Consider our fairs as a first step, and don't stop when you leave! You will know what they are expecting from applicants and you need to decide what you need to do to be successful in the application process. This may involve doing mock assessment centres, getting a CV or application check, improving your numeracy skills or practising online interviews.

Check what fairs are coming up soon here

Kick start your idea with the Student Opportunities Fund

Do you have entrepreneurial spirit? Do you think outside the box? Have an idea for something that could improve the student experience? If you – or a group of students – have a creative or innovative concept for a project, social enterprise or activity that requires funding to get you kick started, applications for the Student Opportunities Fund are now open! Funded by Royal Holloway alumni who donate every year to support projects and initiatives which enrich the student experience here on campus, you can apply for anything between £100 and £3,000. Recipients will also benefit from mentorship to ensure that ideas are successfully translated into applications.  Apply now.

Engage in volunteering

Royal Holloway Volunteering has strong partnerships with the local community and local businesses. Volunteering is an ideal way to keep your skills up-to-date, expand your network, learn industry-related skills and demonstrate your ability to work in a team. Students who volunteer can add leadership, problem solving, adaptability, and communication as key skills on their CVs. Community work also often offers you the opportunity to discover  the‘fit’ between certain roles and sectors and your own values and skills, not to mention the leadership opportunities for all students. Find out more.

Research your opportunities with sector-focused careers weeks

Throughout the year, the Careers & Employability Service holds themed weeks where students from across the College have the opportunity to discover what careers are like in different sectors, what skills employers are looking for and what type of job roles are out there for graduates.

Many of these weeks have 'Beginner's Guide' sessions which are a great starting point to discover your options.

These events offer you a great opportunity to ask the core questions (above) for the 'Explore' stage for different sectors. You'll discover if you need experience, whether your degree is enough on its own, how you can improve your CV to get application ready in the future, and make valuable connections.

Find out more.

Register to use the Careers Portal, go to the events tab and book your place here.

Find resources from previous sector-focused careers weeks here.

Connect and get LinkedIn

Creating a good LinkedIn profile is essential to enable potential employers to find you online.

  • Attend the Careers & Employability Service's workshops or termly LinkedIn Day where you can get a free professional headshot and get troubleshooting advice on your profile or tips on setting your page up. Keep an eye on the events calendar for the next event!
  • Check out LinkedIn's resources for students to learn;

- how to build a strong student profile

- how to make connections/network with people and, importantly,

- how to use LinkedIn to research employers.

  • Register to use the Careers Portal, go to the appointments tab and book your time slot for a LinkedIn profile check here.

Gain valuable experience with a part-time job

Working part-time is a good way to help cover living and academic expenses while studying. It’s also a way to gain valuable work experience before graduating.

A part-time job is a great way to find out what you like and don’t like about a role and what you’re good at. Find out more.

Opt for a Year in Business/Industry

Some departments offer you the opportunity to complete a year in business/industry, which is a great way to gain professional work experience and gain a full understanding of the job market and different sectors

Ask your Personal Tutor/department if this is an option for you.

Consider Study Abroad

Studying abroad is a great way to develop new skills and experience student life in another country. You can spend up to a year away from Royal Holloway, depending on which option you choose.

It can help:

  • enhance your overall knowledge and understanding of your subject
  • develop your intercultural skills
  • widen your network of friends and future contacts
  • increase your independence and self confidence.

You can take part in one exchange during your time at Royal Holloway. The longest you can be away is one academic year.

Find out more.

Get experience and test out a sector or job role with placements, internships, summer schemes and insight days

  • Micro-placements scheme: A micro-placement lasts for two to four weeks, takes place during summer vacation, and offers you the opportunity to experience a day-to-day professional working environment. Open to second years and some first years from 14 departments, it’s also a great chance to develop new skills and improve your career prospects after graduation. Curious? Check out the experiences of our students and graduates on our micro-placements graduates page! Applications open at the very start of autumn term so watch this space for updates on how you can apply. Check if you're eligible to apply and find out more here.
  • Many students secure their own placements and internships . Kick start your job hunting by browsing our web pages. We advertise up to 1,500 jobs every week: just filter by industry and job type. Explore now
  • Many of the employers who visit campus for Careers Fairs or as part of the Employer in Residence scheme offer opportunities for students for all years. Keep an eye on the Careers & Employability Service's events calendar for upcoming events.

Pitch for funding and support on a sports project 

Have a passion for increasing sport participation? Got an idea that you want to take the lead on?  Need a bit of funding and support to get you off the ground?

Royal Holloway Sports are  keen to enable students with great ideas and a passion for sport to take the lead on a project of their own.

This is a great way to gain experience in project management and is something that would make you stand out from the crowd in the job market.

Submit your 280 word proposal

Get answers to your questions with visiting employers 

  • When you're in the 'Explore' stage, take the time to research and test career ideas, build networks, and increase your knowledge of the wide variety of career possibilities. There are many opportunities for you to meet employers here on campus and to find out the ‘fit’ between certain roles and sectors and your own values and skills.
  • Hundreds of alumni and employers visit our campus every year to speak about student and graduate career opportunities, and to offer career coaching and top tips. Did you know that as part of the Careers & Employability Service's Employer in Residence Scheme, you can book a to speak with visiting employers? These informal situations allow you to ask employers questions in an informal environment and make new connections. These are ideal situations for you to asks the questions you really want answers e.g. What's it really like to work in their sector?, How can I get a job in this field?, 
  • From alumni panels to Careers Fairs and information sessions on specific sectors, you have the chance to engage with and network with employers at many events on campus. Find out more.
  • Remember to keep an eye out for employer-led events in your department!

Get involved with the Students' Union

Students who are in the 'Explore' stage are encouraged to get work experience, seek shadowing opportunities, make connections and generally testing out possibilities.

The Royal Holloway Students' Union is the perfect place to put these aims into practice. From part-time work to academic representative roles and roles within clubs and societies, your Students' Union not only provides hundreds of opportunities for you to learn and upskill here on campus, but supports you in the process.

Get involved now!

Research your prospects with these online resources!

Prospects is a useful website, where you can explore the different roles in a sectors and discover what's out there for you in the modern workplace.

Check out these pages that are suited for the 'Explore' stage:

Take your hobbies and interests to a new level with sports volunteering

Want to spread your passion for support as well as giving back to the community? Royal Holloway Sports has many one-off and long-term volunteering opportunities for students. Research has also shown that students engaged in coaching and sports volunteering earn on average £4,000-£5,000 more than those who don’t.

Find out more.

Book a one-to-one appointment with a Careers Consultant

When you are in the 'Explore' stage, it helps to discuss your ideas and research your options with a Careers Consultant.

Register to use the Careers Portal, go to the appointments tab and book your time slot here

Skype and phone appointments are also available. If you have any queries, contact the Careers team.

Network at our Alumni Sports Day

Every year, Royal Holloway graduates return to campus for our Alumni Sports Day. As well as supporting your fellow students in their battle against alumni for the Hancock cup, this is the perfect opportunity to network with graduates and learn how they're putting the skills they learned at the College into action in their careers.

Connect with alumni

At Royal Holloway, students have the opportunity to meet with alumni throughout the academic year. Graduates of the College can really inspire you as they have shared the same experiences as you and you can relate to them. The alumni who visit campus are always willing to engage with students. We encourage you to take the opportunity to hear them present at the Careers & Employability Services's sector-focused alumni panels, when they return to departments or join us as employers at Careers Fairs and as employers in residence.

Network by volunteering to work in your department

Your department is always looking for students to help out on activities, which are great ways for you to learn make real connections with the staff in your departments as well as fellow students. 

Speak to your Personal Tutor or contact your department's office to find out how you can get involved.

Vounteer overseas and coach in sport with Bears Abroad

If you are looking expand your horizons and make a lasting positive impact by volunteering in sport overseas then check Royal Holloway Sport's recommendations with Challenges Abroad and Think Pacific.

Find out more.

Volunteer with the College's Art and Archives Collections team

When it comes to a career in arts, culture and heritage, it's all about the connections you make and the experience you have to add to your CV.

 By volunteering with our Art and Archive Collection teams, you'll have the opportunity to upskill, gain professional experience and work closely with our on-campus experts.

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