I read a Guardian article (1) about why Uni students shouldn’t worry too much about post graduation plans – and in all honestly I don’t know why students should not worry when their future is at stake. Admittedly, I can be a negative thinker at times – but I don’t see that as a negative thing in itself mostly. This post is about how I deal with thinking about what to do after graduation (which is closer than it seems, if you’re a second year like me).
– Consult the career portfolio!
The scary thing is that you are not alone. Thousands upon thousands of graduates graduate at more or less the same time every year, which isn’t very helpful if you don’t have a job to waltz into after the ceremony and free food. That said, there is a unique weapon which is the career portfolio – this is a folder / document (physical or online) which details how the author is developing professionally. For example, it may show strengths (and even weaknesses) as suggested by work history / hobbies which helps determine what kind of job the owner is the most suited to and can go for. The key word is “unique”, because it showcases your specific set professional abilities, and can help guide you into potential niches and slightly reduce competition for those niche jobs. With me, my portfolio (which includes a whiteboard filled with targets) shows that I am currently on track to working in the Welfare to Work sector with my experience in being a classroom assistant and confidence in Uni presentations, but am at a disadvantage (more or less) as I don’t have a driving licence (Welfare to Work requires a lot of outreach work). Hence, I have made a target to get a driving licence within the next two years in time for postgraduate graduation. It is things like this that will make you more competitive, and more suited for niche job markets. (It’s never too late to make one if you haven’t already!).
– Come up with as many plans as possible!
I personally find it advantageous to panic panic panic. That way, things will get done and I’m prepared before I even know it. Already I have been to numerous postgraduate open days even though it was way too early, but I’m glad I did as now I know where to apply come this November. I have plans to visit other open days even though I know where my preferences are, and I also have ideas of what kinds of jobs to apply for. Of course, there are no guarantees, but I guess it’s kind of refreshing when there’s paths to take instead of no paths at all. I try to be as realistic as I can be.
– Embrace work opportunities!
While studying is great, it is also worth making the most of opportunities to do work experience. With September coming up this year, chances are that job vacancies will start arising when students leave their part time jobs and go for the full time ones, so there’s opportunities there. There’s also chances to do volunteering, which, from my experience, can be a great thing to do. I probably should join some clubs for next year, just so I can have a chance to share interests….
So I hope my readers aren’t too worried about the future, but I assume that some of them are. Don’t worry. Create a plan of action so that you have something to do after you have thrown the cap into the air at graduation. Be prepared!