The time has come. That moment that you have spent that past 3 or 4 years dedicated to achieve. Graduation. The time has probably crept up on you and now you’re faced with the decision ‘now what?’ Well, fear not, we have lots of options and advice to get you started on your life journey. We spoke to graduates who have been in the same position a few years ago and found out what they got up to when the time came for them.
The prospect of growing up and leaving student life behind to go out in the big bad world on your own can be a scary thought. There come lots of worries and a responsibility that you may feel uncertain of facing but the plus side is that you have a whole new world waiting for you and can literally do anything you wish. The first 5 years after university are the times you have to find who and where you want to be. You can make mistakes and learn from them.
You have many routes you can choose from; you can take some time out to find yourself and go travelling. You may go job hunting or if you’re lucky you may already have a job waiting for you. Whichever you path you decide on, you need to go out there and walk it confidently. We spoke to some recent graduates who have been out of university for about 5 years to see what experiences they have had after student life.
Let’s say you want to take the career path, where do you start? Have you got a portfolio of work and an appealing CV? If not then this is your starting place, you need to make sure it is up-to-date and that it sells you as a person and employee. Depending on what industry you are going into, you need to be prepared and know what is expected of you. For the creative industries it is a good idea to have an imaginative approach that is creative and shows off your skills. For the technology industries you need a similar CV but concentrate on the design aspect showing you can use certain technology and so on.
A good example of a well-thought CV, a man got an interview at Google and so he designed his like a search page of Google. This is exactly the kind of thing you want to aim for, get creative and make your CV stand out and be memorable. Prepare a good cover letter to send along side it, you don’t want to make a general one that you send to multiple companies. It has to be adjusted to fit with the job and company you are applying to. Mentioned before was a portfolio of work, this is appropriate when applying to more creative industries or any industry that requires it. For instance if you are applying for a job at a magazine it would be good to have a portfolio of written and art work that can show your skills for the job.
Searching and applying for the job takes hard work and dedication. You need to be prepared to spend some of your days trolling the internet for job vacancies. A good idea is to make a wish list of companies you would like a job within then find out everything you need to know about the company, do your research and be prepared. Often large organisations take applications months in advance especially for work experience. You may need to prepare yourself to work for free for a little while, that is why it is essential you network and get placements whilst you are still a student. It is vital to know people and like they say ‘It’s not what you know but who you know that matters’. A tip is to remember the word ‘networking’ and apply it to your life daily and you will soon see your contact list grow. You need to show determination and be ambitious and you can be sure you will achieve. However, if you do opt for the career path, it’s important to be prepared for rejection and have the attitude that you will continue until you succeed. It’s a tough market out there at the moment with the economic state but if you are determined and ambitious this will show and someone will give you the job.
We spoke to Helen from London who told us about how she got her career rolling by doing work experience and working for free before she was offered a full-time position at a well-known PR company in London.
‘I graduated 3 years ago and it took some time for me to realise what my ideal career would be. I had work experience at a magazine, a modelling agency and a PR company before I decided exactly what it was I wanted to do. I did my final work placement at a PR company and it opened my eyes to see that this was the career for me. I have spent the past 6 months learning the ins and outs of the company and have been given a promotion. My advice for anyone coming out of university is that you have to work hard and do it with a smile on your face even if you hate what you are doing. Commitment and hard work does not go unnoticed and you will be thankful when the company gives you a shining recommendation that may just land you the career you want.’
Read Part 2 of You’ve Graduated! Now What?! next Friday
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