The question of what to do after University is one that almost every student thinks about after graduating.
After the excitement of graduating fades away, most students start to worry about what comes next, and this is, in fact, very normal. You do not have to have everything figured out just because you are a graduate.
You are not alone, in fact, recent research of Gov.uk shows that over 86% of graduated professionals are working, which means a staggering 14% are unemployed.
Another research reveals 94% of graduates switched careers by the time they reached the age of 24. Whether they got a useless degree or they just couldn’t find the job they graduated for, these stats are shocking.
But don’t despair.
There are so many things that you can do after University, especially if you are still deciding about the career path you want to take. This is the best time to take risks and discover new interests.
However, most students end up comparing their journeys with their peers – this big mistake will cause you more problems. Everybody has different paths to take, and it is important to find your path, personal and career-wise.
So, if you are unsure what your next steps should be, keep reading.
This article will provide over 20 different ideas you can choose from, regardless of the degree that you studied. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?
After graduation, you will have a lot of free time, and it is very easy to lie down all day doing nothing. This trap can turn unhealthy very fast if not taken care of – if you get comfortable doing nothing all day, it will be hard to find the motivation to do anything. The only way you can take care of this issue is with a semblance of structure.
One thing that University provides is structured time, and this is what you need to replicate after graduating. Having a routine and sticking to it helps you take charge of your day, enabling you to complete any tasks you may have. Besides, it also ensures that you are taking charge of your future, whether it is by regularly spending time on a hobby, career development, or job search.
Your routine doesn’t have to be rigid; it just has to contain tasks that will keep you busy. Plus, you stay ahead of the curve by scheduling time to apply to jobs, updating your resume, and preparing for job interviews.
Sometimes, jobs require you to have extra skills to qualify.
A good way to make yourself a prime candidate is by taking individual courses, either offline or online. If you are interested in vocational jobs, you can take trade classes to ensure that you have the necessary hands-on skills. For example, if you want to become a developer, you need to learn different programming languages before you can apply for programming jobs.
The same goes for massage therapy or nutrition – there are level 3 courses available that will prepare you to become a certified massage therapist or nutritionist. Regardless of the career you are interested in, continuing courses are available to increase your chances of landing a good job in your dream career.
As earlier stated, you do not need to have everything figured out just because you have graduated. You can still take time to figure things out; one way you can do this is by relaxing at home. You can move back home where you do not have to worry about paying rent and explore all your options.
You can use this time to connect with different people in your field of study, volunteer with your immediate community and apply for jobs. Besides, by regrouping at home, you reduce the pressure that you will feel of figuring your future out quickly.
Once you graduate, you must ensure that your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is up to date and contains all your grades, skills and work experiences. Your CV is the first impression that your prospective employer has of you, and you need to ensure that it is a good impression. Make sure that there are no errors in your CV and that it is relevant to the job you are applying for. Also, ensure that you add all your volunteering while in school, as you need everything that will give you an edge over other candidates.
Getting a full-time job without experience is a good idea that most graduates should explore, especially if they cannot go back to further their studies, start a business or travel across the world. While getting a full-time job is a good idea, the labour market has pros and cons. It can be quite hard to navigate the labour market as a fresh graduate, but it is worth it after getting your first full-time job.
Remember that getting job rejections doesn’t mean you must stop searching for job opportunities. Rather, the market is competitive, so you must continually enhance your skills and expertise. You can also get an entry-level job in a different field –all you have to think about is building your resume and enhancing your expertise.
A full-time job will allow you to practice all the knowledge and skills you have been taught at the University, and if it is a job doing what you love, all the better. You also do not need to worry that you have made a decision about your career that can never be changed – you can always change your job or career as you desire. Besides, getting your first full-time job is a step in the right direction, as you will get all the expertise and experience you need to become an expert in your field.
A Gap year is a time to explore after your college graduation. It may seem very daunting, especially because you will be giving up a whole year to figure things out, but it is a good idea to consider if you can afford to. Post-graduation is usually one of the most confusing times, especially when graduating leaves you more confused about your future than when you started University. Besides, taking a gap year may sometimes lead to you doing a complete 180 in terms of career choices – some people end up going back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree in a whole new course.
You can spend your gap year any way you want – it depends on what you can afford. Some people use their gap year to travel around the world and gain new experiences. Others, on the other hand, take part-time jobs in different fields to experiment and figure out what they actually like. Plus, graduates that have taken gap years have built different soft skills like communication, empathy, and problem-solving from their experiences.
If you are passionate about something, you can turn it into a job. For example, if you love working out, you can take courses to become a personal trainer and start offering your services to people that need them. Personal training is not hard to learn, but it requires you to have a passion for fitness and for helping others succeed with their goals.
The same goes for if you love painting, wig making, crocheting, or even sewing; you can consider selling what you create and making a living from your passion.
Furthering your education, especially going to graduate school, is a good idea, especially if you are in a field that requires you to specialise in your field of focus, like medicine, law or teaching. With a Master’s degree, you can increase your skills and capabilities while also enhancing your job opportunities.
However, you must ensure that you are not doing it for the wrong reasons. Don’t decide to go to graduate school as a means to an end because you haven’t found a job or you don’t know what to do next after your Bachelor’s. You should also not decide to go because you want to delay your student loan repayments. Besides, you will have limited practical experience if you pursue a master’s degree directly after getting your Bachelor’s.
If you believe graduate school is the best route, you need to find a graduate school that will benefit your envisioned career. Research the graduate schools and review their admission requirements before applying to ensure you understand exactly what you are up for.
If you have yet to decide on the career path you want to follow, you can spend some time making a positive impact through volunteering. Many volunteer programs are available, and if you check your local community, you might find one. Some of these volunteer programs offer to pay you a small stipend, while others go as far as covering your living expenses. However, there are some that are completely unpaid.
You can find volunteer work in your field of study that will equip you with experience and enable you to develop the hard and soft skills needed in any profession. These skills include communication, flexibility, leadership, time management, problem-solving, and others. Additionally, volunteering enables you to understand how established organisations operate, and you can increase your network through volunteering.
While volunteering will enable you to help people, it is a perfect opportunity to figure out which career you want to pursue. Volunteering will open your eyes to different career choices, aiding in your decision-making, and you can even get a paid position within the organisation. Plus, it also adds to your work experience and will give you a competitive edge when entering the labour market.
Internships are a great opportunity for you to gain real-world experience while slowly making your way into the workforce. They are also a great way for you to gain entry into cut-throat industries. Because interns have different responsibilities than full-time employees, you will have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn on the job. Additionally, internships often lead to full-time jobs or recommendation letters that can open more doors for you.
Even though a paid internship is ideal, you should also consider taking unpaid ones just for work experience and networking. You should be careful of companies that only employ interns to take advantage of them by giving them multiple tasks without any pay. So, you must ensure that you are applying for internships with companies with a good culture and reputation.
You need to remember that you are not bound by your degree. It is fine if you decide that you no longer want to pursue what you studied. If you like owning a business, you can ditch your degree and start a business. There are different ways you can become self-employed, depending on what type of business you want to start, your entrepreneurial skills, and others.
There are many benefits to starting your own business, like flexibility, autonomy, independence, etc. But before you start a business, you need to assess your skills and ensure that your business idea is viable. If you determine that your idea is viable, you are well on your way to starting your business. For example, if you want to become a dropshipper, you can decide to sell only products that are in demand – this means that you have to be constantly online to know the products that are trending.
If you enjoy working with children, consider pursuing a position as a babysitter or nanny. People with children are always looking for babysitters, and you can start by taking care of the children in your community. There are different nanny services that you can apply for if you want to make it a more official position. Plus, you can become an au pair abroad – enabling you to travel while also earning a living, a good way to build strong personal references.
Universities always have jobs available for recent graduates to assist with research in different fields. All you have to do is reach out to your professors to find available job opportunities. You can also network with your former coursemates to find a role that suits your interests. Also, working in the University is not limited to those in the sciences, as different departments still need help with research and administrative tasks like academic advising, admissions, and others.
If you are not ready for a full-time position, consider taking a part-time job in an area you are passionate about. For example, if you are passionate about books, you can work part-time at a bookshop or library. Part-time jobs enable you to have the time to take courses and build your resume. However, sometimes, you may realise that your part-time job can develop into a more permanent position.
Do you have a particular skill that you can make money from? If yes, you should consider freelancing. Freelancing is a great opportunity for you to make money doing what you love. For example, if you know how to design websites or write articles, you can become a freelancer and make your hours offering your services to people that need them. There are multiple freelance sites available, so you do not have to worry about how to market your skills. All you have to do is register and start offering your services.
Transitioning from university life can sometimes be daunting, but you can explore new hobbies and interests to help ease your mind. Sometimes, these hobbies can help you find your passion or decide what you’ll do next.
Some hobbies you can try to keep your mind busy include cooking and nutrition, yoga, painting, sculpting, gardening, rug tufting, crocheting, etc.
You can apply for apprenticeship positions that will give you real-life experiences after graduating. Apprenticeships differ from internships in the type of work and mentorship the apprentice will receive. As an apprentice, you will be given real-world tasks associated with the company to solve. Also, you will have a mentor in the form of a colleague that will guide you every step of the way.
Most apprenticeships usually lead to full-time positions within the organisation. But even when they do not, you will have the experience and expertise to become an asset in any company you apply for afterwards.
There are different public service organisations available that you can apply to as a recent graduate, and they will pay you a small stipend to serve the community. This opportunity will enable you to learn new skills while serving the community. There are different public service organisations; some focus on educating people in low-income areas, while others focus on wide-ranging community service. Besides, public service is a good way to build your professional network while deciding on what career path you want to take.
Travelling is a good way to gain perspective while relaxing after graduation. This may not be the most available option for everyone, but it is a great idea if you can afford it. Travelling = allows you to meet and learn from people from different parts of the world. It also increases your network and allows you to learn many skills like independence, adaptability, finance management, communication, and others. Besides, you can conclude what you want to do next when travelling.
Moving away from home, especially to a new country, will give you a broader perspective on life. You must research the countries you can visit and spend some time in without a visa. You can also apply for government-funded programs that allow you to visit other countries.
You can even decide to become a volunteer or an au pair in another country – there are endless opportunities. Teaching abroad is a very popular option for people travelling abroad as some foreign countries usually are enrolled in English courses and look for English speakers to teach children and adults. However, you must see this journey as a learning opportunity to understand yourself better and plan your future.
There are seasonal jobs, like farming, skiing, sailing on a sailboat, and others, that you can do. All you have to do is find these seasonal jobs that will enable you to earn a living while you decide what to do next. These jobs don’t usually require you to have any particular skills, like during peak seasons, and they are a good way to gain diverse work experience.
Additionally, these seasonal jobs allow you to make money that will fund your dreams – whether it’s to travel or go on a career coaching retreat.