What’s the story with...

future careers?
Future Careers and useful activities for getting a job
Time spent at university is valuable for making yourself more employable. You will gain skills and experiences that will be recognised by potential employers as likely to make you a more effective worker. Studying at university is not just purely subject-centred it is also skills-centred as employers are now looking for a more complex set of abilities and experiences among graduates. You will need to be: • able to solve problems and to apply ideas and skills to new areas; • able to work with others and be able and willing to learn; • able to master a wide range of complex topics; • able to cope with uncertainty and change; • self confident, self-reliant and self reflective. It is these high level qualities which are most important for your personal career progress. Geographers have one of the highest rates of graduate employment. This is because they can take all kinds of jobs in the public and private sectors. They can be both: • specialists - many specialise in their final year in technical areas and use those skills in their career - e.g. conservation, land management or computing skills, • generalists - good communicators in writing and orally, numerate and computer literate, with a wide understanding of how the world works and how people influence the physical environment.

Geographers can play to both strengths as needed high technical skills in specific areas and/or flexibility. In the past the six major career areas for geographers have been: • administration and management • teaching and lecturing • financial sector • marketing • research • industry and manufacturing


A geography degree should not take up all your time at university. A fair balance of study, sport, paid work and leisure will be beneficial as well as fun. There should be time outside the formal structure of your degree to broaden your horizons and help you get a job. There are six ways you can do this:

1. Acquiring new skills

You will be taught a wide range of skills as part of your geography degree and this is a clear strength of geography as a subject. Computer skills are important and the more you can acquire the better. Other useful skills include driving, first aid, foreign languages, certificates in leadership, which can be acquired through various schemes in the community.


5. Leadership and teamwork

There are a number of ways you can gain experience of being a leader or organiser. For example your role in college or student society, a sports club, religious organisation or social society. Being good at teamwork is a respected skill.

2. Jobs

You will probably take vacation or term-time jobs to earn money and it is worthwhile thinking about how you can use these jobs to improve you career prospects.

3. Active citizenship

Employers are usually impressed by people who have given something back to society, such as voluntary or charity work.


6. Using your university careers service

An invaluable source of advice. They can help you in a variety of ways: • tell you the types of jobs and specific employers; • train you in specific job-search skills; • provide counselling on your career choices; • arrange careers fairs and interviews with potential employers; • help you decide on the type of job you are looking for. At times your geography degree may seem to dominate your life at university, but it will provide only a modest part of the profile you will present to recruiters. You need to take the rest of your life and personality just as seriously, not least because they are what make you a whole person and they will add so much fun to your time at university.

4. Networking and contacts

Gaining contacts can be an important way to help your future career. You could choose a dissertation topic that puts you in touch with people in your career area or through part time or summer work.

Department of Geography Lancaster University Lancaster LA1 4YB Telephone: (01524) 593736 Fax: (01524) 847099 e-mail: web:

© Lancaster University November 2005