So you’ve made it to the final year of university – congrats! Finishing your education is exciting and, quite frankly, a huge achievement.
But once the elation of handing in your dissertation has subsided, the sheer amount of options available to you after you’ve donned your mortarboard can be slightly overwhelming.
If you’re not entirely sure where to begin, here are some questions you can ask yourself.
What have I enjoyed so far?
Over the years you’ve probably experienced a lot of different working styles in a variety of sectors. From working in the student shop, to completing group projects to course-related internships, you’ve had a lot of opportunities to find out what works for you, and what doesn’t.
When it comes to finding the perfect graduate job, you can consider your degree and what modules you liked, but it’s also important to think about other aspects of education. Maybe you really enjoyed working with other people in societies or loved doing the weekly reading for seminars.
Whatever experience you’ve had during your degree, reflecting on these ideas can help you realise the kind of role you could not only be good at, but also enjoy doing on a daily basis (which is arguably more important)!
What are my options after university?
There are so many pathways you can go down once you graduate, but you might not know about them all!
You can apply for grad schemes at large corporations, which are extremely competitive but can offer their successful applicants a seductive selection of perks. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also consider getting involved in start-ups or SMEs (Small and medium employers).
Trends show more graduates than ever are choosing to kickstart their careers in this way, thanks to the skills and development potential start ups offer. And, with a number of specialist graduate recruitment agencies ready to help fresh university leavers find their dream role, it’s not hard to see why.
If you’re not quite ready for the world of work, want to further your study or travel the world, there’s an option for all of this and more. Graduates have a wealth of doors ready to be opened, from applying for a masters to a post university gap year.
Who do I know?
If you’re interested in learning more about a specific industry, think about whether you know anyone who already works in that world.
Reaching out to a contact in the industry for a chat so you can widen your understanding of what a day-to-day in that job would be is extremely valuable. From understanding more about your chosen industry to having a foot in the door with a useful contact, who you know can be what lands you your dream job.
Alternatively, if you don’t know anyone personally, have a look at relevant company sites you’d be interested in working for and look up potentially valuable contacts worth contacting. There’s nothing to lose by sending them a friendly and professional email. You never know–they may even respond.
What can I do with my degree?
Your university careers service and degree department should definitely be able to help you get to know some paths your alumni predecessors have taken! Alternatively, you can research job opportunities relating to your course yourself.
What do I value?
When you’re applying for a 9-5 job, there’s a lot to think about. If you thought university was a commitment, the world of work is the next level up.
As such, making sure you only apply for the right positions for you is important. Asking yourself what you value is a good place to start when deciding which job vacancies are a good match.
These values can range from small things like commute time and whether training is offered, to larger things like ethical and sustainability concerns. Company culture and methodology also varies between employers, and this will be a huge part of your day to day life, so it’s definitely something to consider.
Starting work as a newly fledged graduate is an exciting time in your life. As you start your career, you want to get off on the best foot possible. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to a prosperous career.