The first step in your ‘life beyond graduation’ can be daunting – but all you need is a positive approach. Follow our three-step guide to turn that positive approach into a positive outcome.

Challenge limiting beliefs

“There aren’t any jobs”. “I don’t have what they want”. If this sound like you, ask yourself if these beliefs are based in fact. False beliefs are a barrier to success - for example believing you must secure a graduate scheme when approximately only 15% of graduates do so and the majority secure direct entry graduate level roles or pursue further study.

Do your research 

Understand what you offer in terms of skills, experience and knowledge and what it is you need to thrive. What comprises are you willing to make and what are your ‘deal breakers’ – things you will not compromise on because they are important to you, or because they do not suit you as a person?  For example, I’d love to work as a police detective, but shift work is a deal breaker for me. Do the same research for opportunities you are interested in – what criteria will you need to fulfil and what conditions / benefits can you expect in return? Matching these lists before you apply for a job will make sure that you’re applying for opportunities that suit you and increase your chances of success. 

Stay open minded

Consider all the options

Options for graduates include graduate schemes, further study, Internships, a gap year, graduate level jobs, Start Ups, temporary / freelance work or Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Explore areas of interest or develop dual goals with a combination of options, for example working part time while building your StartUp, 

Consider the differences between working in a large organisation and a small to medium sized enterprise (SME). Think about different sectors – public, private and third all offer unique opportunities and make sure you include titles such as assistant, consultant, coordinator, trainee in your search alongside ‘graduate’ roles. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the perfect opportunity because you didn’t know it was an option in the first place. 

Alternative routes

Sheryl Sandberg’s (Facebook Chief Operating Officer) view that “Careers aren’t ladders, they’re jungle gyms - move sideways, move down, move on, move off” encourages us to think differently about the route to our goal.  See every role as an opportunity to build skills, knowledge, experience and contacts. Think creatively – for example, taking temporary work in a target organisation may lead to permanent employment, joining the Civil Service then applying for Fast Stream from within might be a work around the usual recruitment process.

Opportunity sources

Utilise a variety of sources - job platforms, job boards, recruitment agencies, media adverts and organisation websites. Set up job alerts, contact your network, try speculative applications and take action to help recruiters find you by adding ‘looking for work ’to your LinkedIn profile, showcasing your work online and attending insight events. 

Connect with your Careers Services. We are here to help you explore your goals and the routes to achieving them. We can also offer advice at all stages of the application process and help you to find the information you need along the way.

‘Life beyond Graduation’. Daunting? Possibly. Do-able? Absolutely.