Just graduated and worried about what you’re going to do next? Try not to panic.. In this blog post our Careers Advisor, Georgina Larkin, explains how to keep calm and get yourself a graduate job.
“I’ve just finished my exams and have no idea what to do now…“. This is a phrase we hear a lot in the Careers Centre at this time of year. It can be a daunting time. For the past few months you have been concentrating on your finals, but now they are finished it seems as though all your friends have their lives sorted out. Everyone seems to be asking you, “So, what are you going to do now?” Does this sound familiar?
Don’t panic. You are not alone and you have lots of options. Here are 5 things you can do to get started on your career journey:
1. Think about yourself. Take some time to think about what you have done in the past, what you have enjoyed and what skills you have gained. Consider your academic subjects, extra-curricular activities and any work or internships you have done. Think about what motivates you and what sort of environment you would like to work in. There are more tips in this blog which may provide you with some direction. You could try a couple of career diagnostic tools to get some ideas: the Prospects Planner and Target Jobs Careers Report.
2. Do some research and broaden your network. There are some great starting points on our website, where you can research all sorts of options – such as further study, taking time out, setting up your own business or looking for your first job. Talk to other people about their work. Start to ask friends and family about their jobs, what they like and dislike about them. You never know what ideas and contacts they have that may be useful. Think about setting up a LinkedIn profile – there is useful information on our website on how to do this. The Leeds Network also hosts a wealth of information and contacts on what previous graduates are doing, with the opportunity to contact them.
3. Ask for help. The Careers Centre has a team of qualified Career Consultants who can talk through your ideas and options with you. And don’t worry if you have no ideas – they can help get you started. You can use the drop-in service without an appointment or if you are no longer in Leeds, you can contact us on the phone or by using our e-guidance service.
4. Be flexible. Having some direction makes it much easier to focus your research and job search, but be open-minded and open to take opportunities that come your way. You don’t have to be on a graduate scheme with a big name organisation to have a great graduate level job. Consider small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which account for 99% of UK companies. Remember that a huge number of jobs are never advertised, so think about making speculative enquiries. Sometimes it pays to take a job that’s not perfect just to get your foot in the door with an employer you would really like to work for. Similarly, try to be flexible about location and type of contract. Short-term contracts and internships can be a great way of trying out a job role or an organisation, and can often lead to greater things! You can register here for the Leeds Graduate Internship Programme which opens in September, with internships running through the winter.
5. Have a plan. Do something to get you started and this will make you feel much more positive about your future. Try allocating some time each day or week to devote to your career planning. This could include making notes of contacts and making time to keep in touch. Also keep a record of your job applications and always ask for feedback.
- Think about yourself and what you want from a job.
- Do some research and broaden your network.
- Ask for help. Contact the Careers Centre and talk through your options.
- Be flexible. Be prepared to come out of your comfort zone and try new things.
- Have a plan. Do something to get your career started. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel!