It can be easier for graduates who have known what they want to do since being a child, did a specialist course with a clear career path, or a college course which included a work placement and so already have work experience under their belt. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do yet, it’s a big decision that’s worth spending time getting right.
Common situations for graduates leaving college without a job are:
- Not knowing what they want to do;
- Not being able to find a job in their chosen field
- Not having the necessary work experience
Here are some tips to help enter the world of work in an informed way:
- Borrow or buy a careers book. They cost little and help you to help yourself get clear about your career
- You may need to compromise short term and do a job you don’t especially like, but don’t compromise long term, because work is a massive chunk of your life
- Remember to develop your soft skills, i.e. interpersonal skills alongside any technical skills
- Ask your friends and family who they know who might be useful to ask advice from about different career options or to get some work experience with them doing a work placement
- Joining the industry association of your future career may feel like a large amount of money on top of mounting debt, but this investment can give you access to some great networking opportunities, support and resources
- Doing some volunteer work can be a great way to get some work experience that benefits you whilst helping others at the same time
- Spend time getting really clear about what job you want, write it down and visualise getting it
- Be proactive, persistent and creative in seeking what you want – don’t give up. Remember that persistence is the most important quality influencing success
- Use free/cheap resources to research different options – the Internet, local library, specialist business libraries, book shops etc
- Don’t do a career that someone else thinks you should do, choose a career that you really want to do – don’t be pressurised into doing something that isn’t you, it will only make you unhappy
- If you are not working, create structure as too much time on your hands can make you bored and lethargic, which is a vicious circle leading to inaction and more lethargy
- Look out for adverts for graduate fairs – visiting these can help you to narrow down your choices and meet useful contacts
After college/university, your education and qualifications come first on your CV after your personal contact details and you need to use any hobbies or club memberships to add ‘meat’ to your CV re: skills and experience. Once you have a job, put the career section first and move the education/qualification section further back
Don’t forget to think about what kind of employer suits you: big or small, formal or informal etc. The culture fit of your employer is very important and influences how you feel at work
Brand Republic Jobs provides a variety of entry level positions for graduates looking for their first career move.
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