Graduation: What's next?
Firstly, congratulations on graduating! You’ve worked hard for the last three years, and now with degree in hand you’re ready to take your steps into the big-wide world.
You may already have a plan in place but if you are left wondering what to do next, don’t panic – you have a whole range of opportunities available to you.
The majority of new graduates will want to put their skills to good use and enter the workplace. If you’re interested in a specific sector, then take a look at employer’s websites and see if they have any graduate vacancies or graduate schemes.
If you can, try to keep your search area as wide as possible. As well as local and national opportunities, don’t discount international companies – the world is your oyster!
Don’t worry if you haven’t yet decided on a precise career – the advantage to this is that it will allow you to consider a variety of jobs. Many successful businessmen and women have ‘fallen’ into successful careers this way so you’re in good company!
And don’t forget that your first job does not mean you are tied in for life, but it is certainly a great way of gaining valuable real-life experience, and can help you to discover where your true calling lies.
Don’t be too disheartened if you don’t walk into a job immediately after graduating. Finding a suitable position can take a while. Rather than having a large gap of unemployment on your CV, why not take up a part-time job, volunteer or undertake some further study whilst you apply for jobs?
Getting a degree doesn’t mean that you have to go out and work for somebody else – it can be a great motivator to test your entrepreneurial skills and set up on your own.
You may have a unique business idea or your final-year project may have potential for commercial success – if so why not take it further?
There is a lot of support available for small businesses and new start-ups including government initiatives and business loans. Many University Careers services can also provide advice and guidance on self-employment so it’s certainly worth contacting them.
If you enjoyed your three years at University that much, why not stay on a while? Many graduates in your position have found it incredibly rewarding to further their studies with a Postgraduate qualification.
It can be a huge commitment so it’s not something to jump into just because you don’t know what to do next; however if you need a specific qualification before entering your chosen career or you are extremely passionate about the subject in hand and want to learn more then it’s definitely an option to consider.
As mentioned above, it’s often worthwhile undertaking other activities whilst searching for jobs such as volunteering – if you can afford to do so you may wish to extend this further to gain some valuable experience in your chosen field.
Alternatively, why not take some time out and go travelling. Taking a gap year can be fantastic for your personal development – you’ll learn new skills such as budgeting, gain cultural awareness and possibly even learn a new language, particularly useful in the global workplace. And it will also help to make your CV that little bit more interesting!
Whilst travelling will give you some much needed rest and recuperation after your studies, don’t see it just as holiday. You’ll need to consider your plans when you return home (if you do, that is!) You shouldn’t expect a job to be just waiting for you when you get back, you’ll need to have put some effort into the search while you are away so set some time aside to do this alongside all the fun you’ll be having.
Whatever you decide your next step will be, don’t forget that you’re not on your own. Your University Careers Service won’t be closed to you after you’ve graduated – advice and guidance can be crucial and as an Alumni of the University you’ll still be able to access the services provided so make the most of it!