Now that another University year is finally over, we here at Student Housing Lancaster would like to offer a huge congratulations to those of you donning those graduation caps and gowns this year. You’re finally done with your studies, ready to head out into the big wide world and figure out how you’re going to be spending the next phase of your life.
Take a deep breath; it’s going to be OK.
Figuring out your next steps after graduation can be a daunting prospect. If your last few months have been spent frantically revising and getting in as many Uni nights out as possible before graduation, you may have neglected to set up what you’re going to be doing now it’s all over. If this sounds like you, take a look at some of our potential ideas for your next steps after graduation.
Identify Your Skills
Knowing which career sector you want to work in doesn’t come easy to everyone. If you’re someone who is panicking because you can’t decide what kind of career you want to take, an excellent first step is to sit down and identify your skill set. Acknowledging what skills you have is an essential step to planning your career. Not only is this important when identifying how well you match the requirements of a particular job or job sector, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to identify the skills you need to develop.
Think about the skills you’ve gained throughout your degree or any part-time jobs you’ve had in the past; these can be things as general as time management and communication, as well as more specific skills. You can take a look at websites like Prospects to explore ideas for potential jobs that match your skill set. If you require a more personal level of guidance, consider booking an appointment with your University careers advisor. Even if you don’t have a list of potential jobs or careers to discuss with them, you can bring your list of skills and they should be able to offer suggestions that might be useful to you.
Get Some Work Experience
If getting a job seems too daunting and you’re worried about getting stuck in the wrong career, consider work experience as an alternative. If there are a few things you think you could see yourself doing, but you’re not entirely sure as you’ve never experienced them before, then doing some work experience is a great way to dip your toe into the world of work without the full commitment that comes with a full-time job.
Make a list of what kinds of careers you could see yourself doing and find the names and contact details of companies close to you that offer those kinds of jobs. Get in touch with these companies by sending a polite email asking if they’d be willing to provide you with some work experience. The worst they can do is say no, better still, if you do secure work experience and find that you’re suited to the role, that company may offer you a job with them at the end of your work experience stint. At the very least, you’ll have something proactive to put on your CV even if you don’t end up sticking with that kind of job.
Take a Break to Reflect
Sometimes the right course of action is not to blindly throw yourself into a role, but to take some time to think about what you want to do. You’ve spent the last few years studying and working hard; it’s natural to want to take a few months for yourself right after graduation, even if it’s just to get into shape, start a blog or even just lounge around.
Keep a journal whilst you’re taking your time out and make notes of everything you see and experience, you never know, you could discover something about yourself that leads you to your dream career.
Get a Graduate Job
If you are more certain about a type of career you would like to do, but aren’t sure how to get your foot in the door, you could try graduate jobs. You can apply for graduate jobs online through various websites that advertise graduate jobs for all sorts of different career sectors all across the country.
Graduate jobs are a great way to get on the first rung of that career ladder but be warned, they can be fiercely competitive, with potentially thousands of students all applying for a few positions. So, make sure you work hard at that application, and don’t be discouraged if it isn’t accepted, you can always do some work experience in that sector and try again next year.
Do Some Volunteering
Volunteering, similar to work experience, is a great way to gain valuable skills that employers are looking for. Not only that, but you’ll get the added benefits of feeling great about doing some good in your community, or even abroad. In fact, doing volunteer work abroad not only gets you valuable skills, but you’ll also have the chance to experience another culture and potentially learn a new language, all great things to add to that CV. You can ask around your local community for volunteer opportunities in your area or search online for volunteer schemes overseas.
If you’re not ready to stop being a student just yet, you could always undertake a Masters or PhD. However, these are quite substantial financial undertakings, so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and not to put off entering the world of work.
Not all postgraduate qualifications are necessary for specific career paths, so speak to a careers advisor about your decision and weigh up your options before deciding if doing a Masters or PhD is worthwhile.
Take a Gap Year
Maybe the answer to your worries and questions isn’t in your hometown or even your University city, but somewhere out there in the world, waiting to be discovered. If you’ve always wanted to travel, right after graduating is a great time to do it before jumping into a career.
You can discover more of the world, learn a language, experience different cultures and meet new people before joining the world of work. Travel experiences can make you an excellent candidate to employers, especially if you’ve worked whilst abroad, so you have something to boost your CV with.
We hope you’ve enjoyed your time at University and are excited about what the next phase of your life brings. If you do decide to stick around for another stint as a student, you can browse our range of Lancaster student flats today.