Its estimated that one in five graduates are unsure how to progress after graduating; so don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is probably you’re reaction when people keep asking what you’re doing after uni…
With graduation ceremonies round the corner and exams nearly over, it’s that time of year again now, and most people are usually in one of two situations; either you’ve got an idea but you’re unsure how to achieve your career goals, or you have absolutely no idea what to do next.
Not immediately landing yourself a graduate role after uni shouldn’t be seen as an issue, it’s an opportunity! You’re probably still young, with little to no responsibilities and more freedom than you think. So what to do next? here’s a few pieces of advice and some actionable things you can do right away.
Whether you decide to pursue a career straight away, volunteer, travel or just take on some part time work, you have to be doing something. Some people just want a few years away in Thailand, and others are happy to move home and just take on some part time work whilst they make longer term plans. Whatever you decide to do over the next 6-12 months, just make sure it’s something. Most employers see a gap in employment history as a negative, so it’s good to have something planned.
Gone are the days where you study a chosen discipline and are then tied to a career in that area. Most companies now aren’t too fussed what your chosen area of study was; they’re more interested in you being able to demonstrate an ability to learn. With this in mind, its good practice to have a look at your current top skills and compare this to the required skills of the industry or career path you want to go down. For example, you’re probably going to be lacking in skills as a designer if you don’t have a grasp of Adobe Creative Suite. If you’re unsure what your top skills are, there’s two things you can try. First, think about any software you’ve used for a previous job or uni project, and add those. For less tangible ‘soft’ skills, think about some common skills like ‘project management’, ‘teamwork’ or ‘leadership’ and decide if firstly these apply to you, and secondly if they’re relevant to your potential career. The easiest way to get an honest assessment of these skills is to ask previous employers and colleagues their thoughts; they may even write you a recommendation on LinkedIn if you were good!
And don’t panic. Although it may have been disappointing to not land that perfect grad scheme, there are so many opportunities out there. Too often graduates end up ‘falling into’ a certain career path and staying put for a long time. Whilst there is nothing explicitly wrong about this and many find exactly what they want to do this way, ‘falling into’ a career path usually suggests that it wasn’t a true goal or passion to begin with. If you have an idea in mind as to what you truly want to do, don’t settle for anything else, and take the time you have coming up to prepare yourself for that career. It’s at this time where you’re most likely to feel pressure from your parents and friends constantly asking what you’re going to do after uni, but be patient. If you didn’t land the job this time, take a step back, re-evaluate why and go again. If you’re still not sold on the idea of patience and potential after graduating, check out this video about graduation from entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, for a little bit of inspiration.
Now this suggestion may seem misplaced considering the post is all about not knowing what to do, but this process is a great starting point if you’re in this position. The simple process of taking a pad and paper and writing down some long term career targets, personal goals or just what you might want to do over the next 12-18 months, is an excellent way to prepare yourself for success. By committing at least some ideas to paper, it helps to clarify what it is you actually want to achieve, motivates you to take some real actions and enables you to see & celebrate your progress.
Now it’s time to take some of these ideas and put them into action. Here’s a handy little checklist you can use…
If you don’t have a solid idea of exactly what you want to do, just write down what your passion is, and think about how you could make money doing just that.
Think about the next 6-12 months. If you’re ready for a career now, great stuff, start applying. But maybe you want to travel or even take on some part time work. Either way, just reflect on the short term for now, and be patient to wait and prepare yourself for a career you’re truly passionate for.
If you’re still at uni, you can make use of the internal careers advice team. Alternatively, get in touch with one of the recruiters here at Cute. Not only do we have a number of graduate roles we’re currently recruiting for, but we’re more than happy to help and discuss some potential career paths with you.
Check out the image below to see a snapshot of some of the roles, and click here for full details.