I’m graduating this year. That’s so scary to even think, let alone write down or say out loud, but I am graduating this year and it’s something that has to be faced. Preferably as early as possible. I get waves of panic about my future. Am I going to get a good grad job? When will I be able to move away from home? What will my life look like a year from graduation – unemployed? Employed but unhappy? Happily employed?
I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience of approaching graduation with all of you, so that whether you’re a first year, second year or in the same boat as I am, there is something here that you can hopefully relate to or something that will help you to prepare for life after university. Because lets face it, university is a bit of a bubble. You get given money from the government, you get to move out but not really pay full renting prices and you have the freedom to do whatever you want in a new environment and setting. No parents, no hassle. Or so you would think…
The first thing I’ve learned has to come down to preparing for graduation as early as possible. All throughout your educational life you probably would have been hounded by teachers to take part in this extra-curricular activity and join that after school club because it will help with your sixth form and university applications.
Well, when it comes to job applications what you really need is experience. All the experience you can get – there is never too much. So if you’ve joined a society related to your degree and you’re on the committee or you’ve done some volunteering that you can put on your CV, it honestly might just be the one thing that sets you apart from somebody else. It shows your passion and your interest in the subject and it demonstrates a growing ability to work in your specific field.
Another option might be to find a space for yourself online. Start a blog about your topic, work at your own pace and be your own boss. I love the freedom that this blog gives me. It’s fully flexible around my university work, but I’ve also been writing on it since before university and that means that there’s enough of me on this blog to direct employers to. Starting a blog related to your topic is an amazing way to build up a portfolio that employers can easily reach when sifting through applications.
It can be super difficult to work out what you want to do in life, even if your degree seems to direct you towards a particular path. I would love to get my novels published one day in the near future. I would love to blog more professionally on the side. I would love to write articles for a company’s fashion, beauty or book website. There are literally so many things I’d love to do. So if you can get experience early, then do it. And once again, get as much experience as you possibly can. I’ll be doing work experience with The Guardian for two weeks in just over a month now and I’m so excited about it!
Prepare yourself for job interviews by purchasing smart clothes! There’s nothing worse than being called in for an interview and stressing over what you can wear. If you have to ask whether something is smart enough, then it probably isn’t. But also, use your initiative. If you’re applying for a role in something like fashion, then let your sense of style shine through in the way that you present yourself. Also be prepared for telephone and video interviews, because they’re also a thing.
Finally, practice numerical and verbal reasoning tests as early as you can! I never realised that a fair few job applications require you to complete these and they can be bloody hard! I haven’t answered maths questions since I was in secondary school, so being asked to calculate ratios and percentages of this and that really does flummox me. Not to mention that it’s timed! If I had 24 hours to complete them, I’d get there eventually. But 25 minutes?! You must be joking.
If you have any tips for preparing for life after university, then let me know. Otherwise, thank you for reading and good luck!