If you're graduating next year, you might have a mix of emotions about the future. From excitement and anticipation through to uncertainty and anxiety! Whatever your situation, we're here to help.
We've put together a list of questions we get asked by students starting their final year to help you think about your next step.
Read the advice from our team and get in contact with us.
Your top FAQs about planning your next step
Should I focus on my course or applying for jobs?
During your time at Nottingham, you will have had occasions where you’ve been juggling activities at the same time. This is another situation where you need to work out what you’re comfortable doing.
The application process for some jobs can be lengthy involving application forms, psychometric tests, interviews, and assessment centres but for others, it may involve updating your CV and attending an interview.
If you want to focus on your course this year, then do so. You may miss out some opportunities, but you could always apply for them next year. Many graduate schemes and postgraduate taught courses are open all year round so you can apply after you’ve completed your studies.
Why not talk to an adviser about your plans and check out our career wellbeing advice and resources.
I feel like I should know what I want to do, but I don’t. What should I do?
Lots of students are unsure about what they want to do in the future. Some students have no ideas and others have multiple ideas which can feel overwhelming.
We can help you generate job ideas or narrow down some of your ideas based on your skills, strengths, and interests.
On our choosing your career pages, look at the scenarios and select the one that best fits your situation to find out how what you can do next and how we can help.
Our advisers can help you every step of the way, book an appointment and get started.
I don't know anything about careers, what can I do?
Our events programme includes careers fairs, sector events with UoN alumni giving an insight into their area of expertise and job application workshops.
Even if you feel that your final year is too pressured to actively apply for opportunities, why not come along to an event where you can just listen and absorb information about different careers or the opportunities with a range of employers. Even if you decide that a career or employer doesn't interest you, this is part of the process of choosing what will be right for you!
Another option to get a feel of the roles open to you is to subscribe to Jobs by email. You will receive the latest vacancies direct to your inbox every fortnight. Reading the job descriptions will give you the chance to decide which roles appeal to you and which don't. You will need to select your initial career preferences but you can change these at any time.
Do I need to choose a career now for life?
No, you don’t!
The decision you make over the coming months or after graduation is based on your current situation, interests and skills, and the opportunities open to you.
Our interests develop, new opportunities arise, and situations change so it is not unusual for people to move between professions or specialisms as their career develops.
Come and talk to us about your next step.
My CV is looking a little bare, what can I do?
If you've not had chance to get involved in activities outside your degree, there are still opportunities open to you over the next year. You'll just need to work out how you can combine those activities with your study commitments so you don't put yourself under pressure.
You have a range of options open to you at Nottingham from getting involved in the Students' Union or exploring the modules on the Nottingham Advantage Award to getting a part-time job, volunteering role or work experience placement.
Think about what you want to get out of any new activity. Do you want to get involved in some fun activities outside your course, meet new people, earn some money, build your work-related skills, or gain an insight into a career area that interests you.
Find out more about your options in our careers guide, begin!, in the gaining experience section.
I’m interested in something that has nothing to do with my degree, how do I get in?
Your degree subject does not always determine what career you go into. Even if you are studying for a vocational degree such as engineering or computer science, you may decide to explore careers beyond your subject. You can apply your transferable skills developed during your degree to a wide range of career areas.
An engineering student or history student may decide to pursue a career in law. A chemistry student may want to work in marketing or human resources.
Depending on the career you want to enter, you may have to undertake a conversion course (for example, for a legal career) or study for a master’s or PhD. Alternatively, your employer may support you to get a professional qualification while you are working for them.
Check out the routes into careers that interests you and talk to an adviser.
I’m expecting a 2:2, will it have an impact on my job or further study plans?
There is a mixed landscape in terms of employers and universities specifying grade requirements for graduate jobs and postgraduate courses.
For example, the Civil Service and Transport for London ask for a 2:2 or above, and EY have moved to a blind recruitment process, which means they remove any personal characteristics from applications to remove bias. However, Police Now are asking for a 2:1.
It is a similar situation with postgraduate courses, for example the MSc Science Communication at Imperial College London requires a 2:1 whereas Anglia Ruskin University asks for a minimum of a 2:2 for its MSc Information and Communications Technology (Conversion).
If you're interested in studying for a PhD, most institutions will ask for 2:1.
We recommend that you check the minimum entry requirements for any employer or higher education institution that interests you.
If you have want to talk to us about any concerns you have about your next step, book an appointment with an adviser.
When do I apply for a master's or PhD?
It depends on the subject and courses. For some courses such as medicine or teaching, where you apply through a clearing house, there are specific closing dates.
For most postgraduate taught courses, you will apply to the university. Popular courses that have a large number of applications may close early when the institution has filled their places. In some cases, this can be as early as Christmas before the course starts the following year. For others, applications will be accepted right up to the start of the course.
There are set deadlines for some Doctoral Training Programmes but for other PhD opportunities the closing date for applications will be stated on the vacancy advert. If you are postgraduate taught student, check out postgraduate application timelines webpage.
If you want to continue your studies, it’s important to find out as soon as you can about any closing dates, so you don’t miss out.
Find out more about your further study options and funding.
Can I apply for more than one job with the same employer?
Yes, usually you can, but it’s worth checking with the employer in question beforehand. You may be applying for the same role but in two locations or departments, or for roles that require a similar skill set.
However, if you are applying for two quite distinct roles, you will have to clearly demonstrate to the employer why you would be a good fit for both roles.
Avoid taking a scattergun approach to your applications as employers can easily spot when applicants are not fully committed to a role or company.
If you need help with any aspect of applying for jobs, go to our making applications webpages for expert advice and practice resources.
Should I disclose my disability to an employer?
It is entirely up to you if you want to tell an employer about a disability and if so, how much information you want to share. Any information you share with the employer will only be shared with people directly involved in the recruitment process and not wider in the organisation.
You can ask for adjustments at every stage of the recruitment process so that you are not at a disadvantage.
Find out more about applying for job roles if you have a disability.
Four actions you can take to get started
Explore graduate and internship roles
At our on-campus careers fairs you can meet employers who have graduate roles and work experience placements on offer.
Wander around to explore what's on offer and chat to employers about their vacancies and what they look for in new recruits.
4. Find out more about the fairs
Dates for your diary
- Government, Public Sector and Charities Careers Fair – Wednesday 11 October
- Engineering, Science and Technology Career Fair – Monday 16 October
- Management, Consulting and Finance Careers Fair – Wednesday 25 October
- Law Careers Fair – Monday 30 October
- Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy Careers Fair - Wednesday 1 November