It is that time of the year, final year university students are wrapping up their studies and getting ready to celebrate the end of a chapter. Being one of those soon-to-be graduates myself, I am very excited about what is coming next in my professional and personal life. Along with a lot of excitement for your graduation, there is also a great deal of uncertainty and stress for many graduates.
It can be very daunting to try to figure out what is next because there are so many options after graduation: further study, gap year, graduate roles, internships and many more.
Step 1 – Figure out what you like
Much easier said than done. This if often the most difficult thing to do and it is the main thing University tries to teach students. After Uni you should have a vague idea of what you like to do and what you may not. For example, did you really love writing essays and researching particular topics and reading academic literature? Well why not consider further study, a Postgraduate may help you research and develop a particular field that fascinates you.
On the other side of the spectrum, you may be less academically inclined and realised during your studies that you want to get working as soon as possible. You may have already tasted the working life through part-time jobs or internships. This type of person may be looking to find a graduate job at the end of Uni and get some industry experience right-away.
Step 2 – Go after it!
Now that you have an ideal of what you like you are one step closer to reaching it. If it a particular industry you want to break into or a dream company here are a few tips:
LinkedIn is your best friend – If you are not already on there create a profile. Start researching recent graduates of professionals that are working in the industry or company you have in mind. Shoot them a message asking them to share some of their experience in the company. Ask them key questions about the recruitment process, job description and so on… You will find that most people LOVE talking about themselves and their achievements and if you approach them the right way will be happy to help you. Try to find people that you have things in common with. For example people that you went to the same University, you are from the same town or you studied the same course. These small things will increase your chances of building rapport with them and get more help.
Be Humble – you may need to make some sacrifices in order to get the result that you want. Applying to jobs takes time and a thick skin, you will get doors slammed in your face but you need to realise that it is often a numbers game. Send as many applications as you realistically can.
*BEWARE* do not send out “cookie-cutter” CV’s and cover letters because they are just a waste of time. If you are taking the time to apply for a job you are interested in you need to maximise your chances of getting an interview. When applying, make sure you tailor your application and thoroughly research the company. You may need to accept an internship even after graduation instead of a full-time role. This may not be ideal but it is necessary to get a foot in the door. Swallow your pride and grab every opportunity that comes your way.
Step 3 – Enjoy Life After Graduation
You have made it, you graduated, now you are off to the races. From this point on life is what you make of it, no more lectures, no more mandatory attendance and coursework, now you are solely accountable for your success! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that graduation and the end of Uni mean the end of learning… you could not be more WRONG. Make sure you keep developing even after graduation by reading, taking courses, and networking with new people.
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