It may only seem like last week, that you arrived at University with your ready meals in one hand and your student card in the other but the end of the experience will be fast approaching and you’ll have to start thinking of a plan for when you finish.
The weeks following your graduation can be difficult as you adjust to life after University.
Here are your options during this sometimes hard but potentially exciting period although initially daunting, coming to the end of a three- or four-year course opens up a number of different opportunities. You might want to search for a graduate job, study at postgraduate level, or take some time out to go travelling or volunteer.
This process can be hard work and take time so it’s good to set a structure to your day to help you stay motivated and focused.
How do I get a graduate job?
Your first port of call should be your university careers service. They can give you concrete help and most will continue to support you after graduation, he says.
If you haven’t yet decided on the precise career you want to pursue, take a look at what you can do with your degree. Look around at job sectors for some ideas. Also, remember that your first job doesn’t tie you to a particular career forever, so don’t be too cautious about widening your search.
Network with industry professionals
Get out there, get involved and make yourself known to prospective employers. Also, manage your online reputation as everything you post online is in the public domain.
If you’re struggling, think outside the box a little. For example, have you considered working abroad or going self-employed?
Can I still get a job with a 2:2?
Don’t be downhearted if you leave university with a 2:2 – there are a range of ways that you can boost your chances of success.
While some large employers do accept 2:2s on their graduate schemes, many insist on a 2:1. Graduate schemes are only a small option for work after University so don’t worry – most places value work experience. Depending on the career you are interested in you could improve your employability by taking postgraduate study.
An alternative is to return to university to study at postgraduate level, a route that many in your position have found incredibly rewarding. However, you’ll need to make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. Embarking on a postgraduate qualification can help develop your specialist, in-depth knowledge of your undergraduate discipline and it may increase your employability.
Take a gap year
During your job search, you can get involved in other activities to strengthen your CV such as volunteering. You could take a gap year if you want to see more of the world, learn languages, and meet new people and possibly new opportunities.
Make sure you have a plan for when you’re back. Don’t go travelling and expect a job to be waiting for you when you get back. You’ll still need to put the effort into your search for work.
Enjoy this time – it can be hard – but remember this is what you’ve been working for!