Whether you’ve already graduated and are struggling to find that perfect job, or if you will be graduating soon, Francesca Hooper from Inspiring Interns provides some tips on overcoming fears that can often hold graduates back.
Remember that we at the Careers Centre are here to help you with all things post-university, whether you’re a current Leeds student or if you have already graduated. See our website for full details of our support and services.
As end-of-university celebrations fizzle out, reality decides it’s time to catapult you back to Planet Earth. You are now ready to enter the ‘real world’!
Even though the internet is riddled with horror stories about post-uni life, you mustn’t surrender to the inevitable fear. To help you, here’s a list of the five fears haunting graduates and tips on how to combat them.
- It’s taking too long to find a job
For some people it can take a couple of months, for others it can stretch to ten. It doesn’t mean you’re inadequate, it’s often just a matter of chance. Job hunting is a roller-coaster with far too many ups and downs and you’ve got to remember not focus too heavily on the downs.
You are good enough and do have suitable qualifications. You just have to step back, breathe, and move on to the next one. Just prepare for your upcoming interview to the best of your ability and the rest is up to them.
Job seeking is a strange alternative universe where things eventually work out for the best. If you feel like you’ve lost out on your dream job, don’t panic, because you most likely haven’t. A better opportunity often arises from just around the corner.
If the job hunting blues are bogging you down, then have a little peruse at this blog. Bummed by bizarre interviews and annoyed at the length of the process, Erica Buist penned all her frustrations onto a blog: How to Be Jobless. Ironically, it drew so much online traffic that The Guardian ended up giving her a full-time position as a journalist!
- You don’t think your result is good enough
An unopened bottle of bubbly sits next to you as you eagerly await results. You and your friends frantically check the clock until the crucial moment arrives. Everyone erupts in celebration as their predicted grade materializes. You’re awash in fear as yours doesn’t…
You may start fretting about whether your final grade will let you achieve your final goals. Have no fear! Obtaining any level of degree will always work in your favour. It’s a golden nugget to employers, hard proof that you are proficient in a specialized area.
Search for graduate schemes that welcome all levels of degrees. You may not be able to apply for that high-flying job immediately. However, as careers adviser Saiyadah Smith says: “Once you’ve got your foot through the door you can build up your skills and contacts and if you do well, you’ll be favourably placed when jobs are advertised internally.”
Be sure to add any extracurricular activities, volunteering or side hustles (a business or project) onto your CV. This should be paired with a succinct cover letter elaborating on what these experiences have taught you.
- There aren’t enough jobs available to graduates
We’re bombarded with this mythic notion that there aren’t enough positions available for recent grads. However, luckily for us, studies prove the exact opposite. High Fliers have collated the data to prove that there are, in fact, places for graduates in the working world.
Back in January 2016, employers predicted that with the annual rise of graduates there would be at least 20,976 graduate vacancies. However, by December, they noticed that more than 800 openings were left unfilled.
High Fliers speculate that there are jobs available to graduates, it’s just many of them turn down offers. The research covered all possible industries from the retail sector to Law.
Luckily for recent grads, the country’s top employers plan to increase their graduate recruitment by a further 4.3% in 2017. So, keep your eyes peeled and keep on trawling through those job sites!
- Your degree isn’t practical enough
The ‘sensible’ qualifications are those guaranteed to land you jobs straightaway, such as Engineering, Occupational Therapy or anything involving Business and Finance. If you came out with a BA in English Literature, or something in the Arts, fear not! It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be deprived of a good job or self-fulfilment.
If you force yourself to work in the realm of finance with no interest in it, you may as well not have gone to university at all. Being a specialist in your field of interest requires motivation, and you’ll only be driven if the subject fascinates you.
As Steve Jobs famously said “the only way to do great work is to love what you do”. This is especially relevant after uni as you seek out job opportunities. Employers can tell right off the bat whether a candidate is truly passionate about their specialty.
If you feel that too many doors aren’t opening, then look into internships as they are a great way to strengthen your CV. You can even do quick additional online courses for free at FutureLearn and OpenLearn.
- Your university wasn’t good enough
There can be some stigma about which university you attended. Some people can throw you looks of disdain because you didn’t attend Cambridge or Oxford. Definitely ignore these kind of looks or remarks.
The prestige of a university changes with every course. For example, by using The Complete University Guide, the top 3 ranking Dentistry courses in the UK are from Queen Mary University of London, Glasgow and Dundee. These universities aren’t in the overall top 10 but they are in this particular area. The quality of a course is often far more significant than the university’s ranking.
There’s a reason why you chose whatever course you did. It may be weird and wonderful like Theatre Practice & Puppetry. Definitely one that catches the eye!
Potential employers aren’t going to whip out the league table at your interviews to scrutinize you. Instead, they value field-specific knowledge and applied skills. The key is to list all the university projects you were involved in and display an undying love for your subject.
Francesca Hooper writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To browse graduate jobs London and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website.