So you’re graduating this year but you haven’t worked out your career plan? You’re not alone!
Life after university can be pretty daunting, so we’ve put together some graduate careers advice to put your mind at ease.
What can I do with my degree?
No one said that life after uni would be plain sailing. Yes, you’ve worked your socks off for three years (or more) but that doesn’t mean you will be able to walk straight into a job. Some degree subjects are more specific than others and if yours is one of the less-specific subjects, you may be wondering what on earth you can do with it!
Don’t worry, there are plenty of options. Speak to a careers advisor about job roles that are related to your studies and then research the different industries. There are lots of graduate job sites to have a look at as well which may give you a better idea of the available roles within your sector. Take a look at sites like Milkround, Prospects and Grad Jobs. Many students don’t know what to do after university, but remember, you’ve studied a subject you enjoy so hopefully it will lead to a job you really enjoy!
And if you didn’t love the course as much as you thought you would? There are post-graduate options available which will enable you to develop your knowledge in a different area and it’s not unheard of for graduates to end up working in a completely different field from the subject they studied.
Graduate CV tips
We recommend sending speculative CV’s out asking for work experience, that’s the best way to find out if a career pathway is for you. Don’t panic about not having much experience. Everyone has to start somewhere and you just need to wait for that lucky break.
Make sure all of your qualifications and predicted grades are listed on your CV as well as all of your work experience. This can be anything from part-time jobs in retail stores, coffee shops to work at your student union. For each role, explain which skills you developed there and how these skills could be used in a new role. It might seem unrelated at first, but all skills are transferable in some way. Your university should have an employability department who will also still help you craft your CV to make sure you shine from the first time someone comes across your name!
Remember that your online presence is also important so, if you haven’t already, set up a LinkedIn account. This is basically an online CV which most employers look at when they are selecting candidates. You can find plenty of CV writing tips online on job sites such as CV Library, Reed and Monster.
Interview tips for graduates
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Read the job description again in detail and make notes about how your skills and experience suit the role. Do lots of research about the company using their own website, news stories and social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Prepare for questions about your work experience, your studies, your personality, skills and ambitions. You can find plenty of example questions, interview tips and graduate careers advice online.
Remember, you’ve done really well to get any interview in the first place as most graduate jobs have thousands of applicants. They already think you’re great before you’ve walked in, so all you have to do is talk about all of your achievements and your aspirations that you have for the future.
If it doesn’t go your way, don’t feel disheartened. Like anything, your interview performance will improve with practice. Always ask the company for feedback so that you can use it constructively at your next interview.
Life advice for graduates
Whilst you’re job hunting or undertaking work experience placements, you might not be feeling very financially secure. No more student loans! During this transition period, many graduates decide to move back in with family.
Even if you’re lucky enough to bag your dream job straight away, living with family could be a great way of saving the pennies.
It may be strange at first after having so much freedom at university, but you’ll thank yourself in a couple of years when you’ve saved up lots of money.
When you still don’t know what to do with life after university
This brings us to the final part of our graduate careers advice. If you’ve been to a careers advisor but it didn’t get you anywhere, job hunting has left you feeling uninspired and you still don’t know what to do with your life after uni, why not take a break?
You could do something completely different whilst you’re weighing up your future career options. This could be a great opportunity to take some time out and see the world. You could sign up for a volunteer or conservation project, take a TEFL course and teach abroad, or just go and work at a bar in a country or city of your choice!
If the career options available to you don’t pique your interest, you might want to consider post-graduate study so that you can specialise in a different subject. Or you could find a part-time job and then develop your own business or a side hustle in your free time. The options are endless.
So, is life better after uni? It will be, but it might not seem like it straight away. The most important thing is not to compare yourself to others too much. We all have different life journeys.
You might be lucky to find your dream job straight away, you might think you’ve found it and then end up changing your career path a few years down the line. You might work in a job you hate but slowly develop your own business on your side, you might work abroad, you might be offered an awesome job after a successful work experience placement or internship. Wherever life takes you, enjoy the journey.
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