Just graduated? Now what? Some words of career wisdom from us to you
As our social media feeds fill with the obligatory cap throw boomerangs, and the proudmum #’s, we got to thinking about graduation. If you’re reading this post and you’re one of the lucky few who’ve bagged your dream grad job already then we salute you (we really do). But, if you accidentally/sort of forgot that university was ever going to end, it’s probably around this time, that you’ll start to think, what the HELL am I going to do now?!
If you’re asking yourself this question; we’re here to help. We asked a few members of the Campus team to tell us how they felt after graduating, and how to make it out the other side…
“When I completed my studies with a mountain of debt, I instantly regretted all the opportunities I’d wasted to visit the careers service and the dearth of research and thinking I’d (definitely not) put into what I’d do when I graduated. Everyone else seemed to know what they were doing and had applied for a multitude of graduate schemes in the preceding months. The problem was, I really didn’t know what a history degree had equipped me to do. The truth was that I didn’t think any business would be that interested in me. I had a chat with a family friend who was a ‘high achiever’ and she really got me to think about all the skills I’d picked up on my course: communication, analysis, research, to name but a few. She also made me think about some of the skills I’d developed and what I’d enjoyed doing in the call centre jobs I’d had whilst supporting myself at university. This really helped me hone in on the fact that I wanted a role that involved loads of team working and interacting with business people to help them solve issues of all kinds within their companies. It took a few interviews to settle my nerves but I soon landed my first ‘proper’ role and spent 3 great years there growing my skills.”
-Abs is now Director at Campus Futures-
“I honestly think graduation was one of the saddest days of my life. The realisation that it was all over, and that I had literally no idea what was about to come next, was super overwhelming. Everyone around me seemed to have something sorted, be it a Masters, the army, or a job in TV, my housemates had been quietly planning their next steps (whilst I’d been watching copious amount of Takeshi’s castle). I studied History of Art, and absolutely loved it, but I quickly realised, that with no industry experience, pursuing a career directly related to my undergrad degree was going to be tricky. It took me – what felt like forever – to get my first ‘grad job’, applying for hundreds of roles willy-nilly, and the rejections/ lack of response, was really soul destroying. My advice to anyone who is in a similar boat is – REALLY think about what you’re good at, and what you enjoy – this’ll give you some direction when applying for jobs. For me it was people and problem solving. Also, keep tabs on the jobs that you’re applying for – keep a spread sheet, so when recruiters call you, you know which job they’re calling you about! And be selective too! Don’t apply for any old thing, slow and steady wins the race. When interview invitations started coming in, just going out and meeting professionals, and seeing different offices and types of businesses was a fantastic experience and really helped me get a feel for the type of company I’d like to work for. My post-university experience was far from smooth sailing, but – trust me – you’ll look back and you’ll realise that you magically calved your own career path without even realising it!”
-Amy is now HR and Account Manager at Campus-
“Graduating from university was one of the scariest things I’ve done. I’d already bagged myself an extra year by doing a Masters degree after my undergrad in English, but now I was expected to move into the real world, and I had no idea what I wanted. I ended up moving down south to Leeds, 200 miles from my family, and started looking for jobs. After 5 years at university, I knew I wanted to do something related to my degree but English is a pretty broad subject and doesn’t really point you in a specific direction. I spent about 7 weeks in cafes and libraries (my internet wasn’t installed at the new flat yet) trawling through job sites. I got more and more down heartened about how things were going, as I was filling out so many applications where I never even got a rejection email – I just never heard from them. Eventually, in my seventh week of job-hunting, I was invited to a couple of interviews, and the rest is history! The best advice that I can give to people who have just graduated: don’t give up. It’s easy to get upset about how many jobs you’re applying for without getting anywhere, but you just have to keep going and make sure that your applications are the best they can be, even if it’s the twentieth one you’re sending out that day! You never know which one might be a yes, and it only takes one!”