With exams now behind you, final year students from all degree disciplines will be starting to focus on the big event that is graduation day. And yet this day of celebration – of marking years of hard work and commitment – may appear a little less joyous if uncertainty remains over “what happens afterwards”.
The truth is that for every undergraduate who has their career plans all sewn up, there will be others who, perhaps, haven’t got around to thinking that far ahead yet. Such is the reality of university life that whilst we know it is a good idea to start planning for the post-graduation years early, the pressures of studying, of meeting deadlines, of needing to juggle part-time work with study, means that longer term career plans are not always priority number one. So what can you do about it?
Don’t be shy!
At this time of year it is incredibly common for our careers consultants to be meeting final year students for the first time. We know that these students can find it intimidating to admit they are feeling a bit stuck this close to graduation, but we are here to help and we work non-judgementally. We can promise you that you won’t be the first (or the last) student to meet us in these circumstances. An appointment can be a really useful opportunity for you to talk things through and discover your options, whether you already have a vague idea of the area you want to work in, or whether the whole job market still baffles you entirely. A careers appointment is often a first step in the right direction.
It’s never too late.
It really isn’t. Despite the fact that you may know people who were working towards graduate scheme deadlines at the end of November, there are plenty more opportunities still around or even yet to come onto the market. (Check out websites like www.targetjobs.co.uk, www.prospects.ac.uk or www.milkround.com as evidence of this). And aside from the (often larger) organisations who use these types of job boards to recruit graduates, don’t forget that many SMEs will be relying on speculative applications or approaches from people who have networked their way onto the company’s radar in other ways. Recruitment agencies are another popular way for graduates to find work and will be recruiting immediately and throughout the year, rather than working to long lead-in application processes.
Whether it’s an appointment with a careers consultant or a chat with friends and family, it is really important that you start learning from others to see how very differently careers can develop from one person to the next. It may well help with confidence to find that other people are in the same boat, or that successful and established professionals didn’t always know what they wanted to do either. This approach has the added benefit of helping you to reach out and accept any potential help or suggestions that people may have to offer, in terms of career leads or perhaps just career ideas.
Final year students – come and see us! To book a 20 minute careers appointment either visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre (WG3 Queens’ Building) or telephone us on 020 7882 8533.