For some lucky students who have had their heart set on their degree for years, graduating from university simply marks the start of the career they have always dreamed of (medics I’m looking at you). However, for some people, they may have even less of a clue what they want to do now than they did when they started university. It can be particularly difficult in some industries to find work when you have spent the past several years studying and not gaining any hands-on experience.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to postgrad life…
Remember how exciting it was moving to a new city all those years ago? No doubt by now you have probably grown to love the weird smells, familiar faces, and dodgy night spots where you have spent the last few years. So maybe it is time to move on again – try a new city, maybe even a new country. You might not be guaranteed a job in a new city, but the new experiences and people you meet will be far more rewarding than any job.
You may also want to try something completely out of left field, that you have never done before. Two friends of mine, both with Politics degrees, work on farms in New Zealand. At the end of the day, for the majority of people, they undertake a degree because it is something they enjoy and want to expand their knowledge on. That is not to say your degree is the be-all and end-all of who you are, and that you are confined to the career your degree dictates forever.
Volunteer work is another route which will really add to your CV. It is possible to balance volunteering whilst at university, however 3 months of volunteering full time after you have graduated will really make you stand out – giving up a lot of time and energy for a good cause will look very commendable and hopefully greatly impress any future employers.
It is also very important to take risks. Don’t be afraid to apply for something that you think you are underqualified for. Aim high, the worst that can happen is you don’t get the job, which would be the case if you didn’t apply anyway. On the other hand, don’t fear being overqualified. Ideally, any job you go in to will pay you what you deserve, and treat you with respect, but that is not to say that doing work below your pay grade is a negative thing. Any experience is good experience.
Internships or apprenticeships are always a good idea too. These are ideal for gaining experience in your field, whilst expanding your knowledge, and often they are followed by great employment opportunities – you have shown your willingness to put in the time and learn even more about what you want to do.
For some of you, maybe you want to do it all over again. Why not try a different degree, or take it further with a Masters? The choice is yours.