It can be scary to think about venturing into the real world after three years at uni. Getting up in time for a 9am has seemed like such a struggle for so long, but soon you’ll be doing it 5 days a week. But what path do you take? Graduate schemes, entry-level jobs, travel or further study are all an option. So, what’s best for you?
The subject you study will have a huge impact on what you choose to do next. Some subjects lend themselves to further study while others have a high number of graduate schemes, so it’s worth looking at what is available in your industry as well as what the job market looks like.
Looking through job listings for graduates can be pretty soul-destroying (how can a job be both entry level and require 2 years experience?) but it is worth doing even if you don’t plan to take a job straight away. It’s not going to be good if you study a masters that doesn’t get you the job you want, or if you complete a graduate scheme that doesn’t teach you the skills you need. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the job that’s perfect for you right out of the gates, it can’t hurt to apply! Plus, if you know what you want to do and there are actual entry-level jobs available, why wait?
On the other hand, graduate schemes can be just as appealing because they are, as the name implies, designed for graduates. You know you won’t be competing with people with decades of experience or be expected to know more than you do. Often these schemes advertise and fill up early, long before the end of term so it’s important to apply early. They also vary massively depending on your subject area, sometimes they are almost ubiquitous and easy to find, but in others, they are almost unheard of but worth looking at before you make a decision.
If you’ve been lucky enough to save up some money while you’ve been studying it can be tempting to take some time off after you graduate and see the world. You could look into volunteering opportunities, work abroad schemes or just lounging by the beach trying to forget about your dissertation. But whatever you do while you’re away, it’s worth planning what you’ll do when you have to come back to the real world.
And then there is postgraduate study if you want to be a student for just a little bit longer, and this is the option that has hooked me. Some people can’t wait to be finished with assignments and essays, but I love being a student and having found a masters course that looks really interesting (Marketing) – I for one am looking forward to continuing my education.
Whatever you plan to do, it’s worth considering the options available to you. The Careers and Employability service is available to all students and graduates and can help you plan your next steps.