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How to succeed after graduation – three pieces of advice you need to read



Feeling nervous before starting your new job? Wondering how to start job hunting? Contemplating taking a year out to travel or learn some new skills?

We asked our expert career advisers what are the top three things you need to know for success after graduation. Here’s what they said.

If you’re searching for a job:

  1. Really ask yourself what you want to do
    This isn’t easy to do – you need to be very honest with yourself, your qualifications, your interests and your skills and personality. Then you’ve got to work out where you fit in the job market. It’s not as simple as saying you want to work with people, or work in London, or like the sound of jobs in PR. Your thinking has to be deeper and much more strategic – you may have to accept that not every firm or organisation offers a graduate training scheme.
  2. Know the sector you want to work in
    Get to know the industry behind your interest. For example, if you’re interested in sport, find out more about the sports industry and all the roles within it. Don’t discount the jobs which don’t have graduate trainee in the title – there’s lots of them and they may prove to be great entry points and offer opportunities to gain experience and accreditation for what you’d like to do.
  3. Apply
    Once you’ve undertaken your research and identified your target employers, the next step is to apply. The more you can express career motivation, understand their business, their products and services, and the roles that make all of that happen, the more likely you are to have your application considered. Tailor your application to them – you may get a job offer to follow!

If you’re starting a new job:

  1. Make a positive first impression
    Your first few weeks in a new job can set the scene for future work relationships and how you’re seen within the organisation. So make sure that you dress and behave professionally, be proactive in getting to know your colleagues, and try to demonstrate a positive and can-do attitude from the outset. 
  2. Get involved
    In work, as at university, you get out what you put in. So, once you’re settled in, don’t be afraid to volunteer to get involved in projects or activities that are of interest to you, or make suggestions about how you feel you could add value to the organisation. Most employers will appreciate new recruits bringing enthusiasm and new ideas. 
  3. Keep learning! 
    Remember this is just the beginning of your career journey. So, keep looking for opportunities to learn and develop new skills in the workplace. In an ever-changing career landscape, those who are flexible, curious and have a commitment to learning and self-development are likely to be the ones who will be best-placed to negotiate their career effectively.

If you’re taking time out:

  1. What do you want to do with it?
    There are lots of reasons for taking time out, but it’s good to know what yours is. Do you want to travel, learn some new skills, or gain experience in a particular field? Don't forget – these aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, you could have a temporary job gaining experience in the field you want to work in while earning money for a period of travelling. It’s good to have a structured plan – otherwise it’s all too easy to let weeks turn into months. 
  2. Exotic is not always better!
    When you’re planning your time out, it’s a common perception that the furthest destinations carry the most kudos with employers. What’s more important is that you can explain what you’ve gained from your experience and how this could add value to a role or course. You can impress by helping at a local charity or working in a bar if you can articulate what skills you have learnt or situations you have dealt with. 
  3. Seek help
    Before, during, or after your time out, you can seek help. Talk to your family, friends and networks. You can also talk us in the Careers and Employability Service – either in person or by email, telephone or skype.
Whatever your next steps are - good luck! But don’t forget, we’re here to help. Visit our careers website to find out about our career workshops and networking opportunities exclusively for new graduates. You can also have a look at your alumni website for more careers advice, help and guidance from successful alumni.  
Posted on Wednesday 1st November 2017

Alumni Relations

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