What should your next steps be after finishing University?

You would think once you finish university, life would get simpler. After years of studying and training hard, you can now begin your life and get ready to start your chosen career.

Yet life isn’t always this simple…

For instance, sometimes your next best step isn’t venturing into the workplace, but continuing your learning (either in the workplace or within an academic setting). And if that is the case – do you continue on at university and do a postgraduate course? Or do you utilise the array of online courses available that can help you to keep your skills and your knowledge sharp?

What is the right choice?

In this post, we will explore some of your potential next steps:

  1. Graduate job – this one makes the most sense logically. Not only are they a stepping stone to progressing your career, but graduate schemes can provide you with valuable work experience.

    The key to succeeding with this one is making sure that not only is your CV full and intriguing, but that you showcase all of your work experience and various qualifications. REMEMBER: Your mission is to prove to prospective employers that you are the best choice and that you have got a well-rounded personality that bring a lot to the role.

  2. Become self-employed – there is no doubt that this is a risky move given that you have just qualified. However, if you aspire to own your own business or work freelance then it is impossible. You’ve just got to accept that you will need to work your way up from the bottom as you build up a presence within your chosen field.

    As your reputation grows, so will your business…

    Tip 1: take on projects for a small fee (to begin with) and aim to gather as many glowing testimonials as possible. These testimonials will prove more valuable to your business (in the long run) than earning massive profits.
    Tip 2: as you’re building up your business, consider taking on another job. This shouldn’t be anything too demanding or taxing, but should be something that you can easily do to help pay the bills whilst you create a strong foundation for your business.

  3. Gap year – when you’ve spent years studying hard with little relaxation; the prospect of taking a year out can be very tempting. From exploring the world, to simply taking the time to start a family or try out a business; a gap year can offer you a well-earned break.

    However, in either situation it is important that you enter into them with a clear plan. For example – have you got the money to cover a year of travelling i.e. can you afford to travel for a year without working? What exactly do you want to do with these 12 months?

    You need to have plan, as this time will easily fly by and could leave you with a wasted year that doesn’t add any value to your CV.

    Think about it a moment…

    When future employers see this gap, they will naturally want to know what you did during this time to explain why you wasn’t working or studying. If you’ve got nothing to show for it, it could affect your application.

  4. Post-graduate study – depending on where you see yourself in the future, adding a master’s degree or a doctorate to your arsenal could help you to make your career aspirations a reality. With their backing, you could become more of an expert in your field.

    With this option though, you need to think about the cost and the amount of work involved. For instance, postgraduate qualifications will be harder; will require more work, and will be much more intense than your degree. For that reason, we recommend getting advice before pursuing this route to ensure it is what you really want.

The truth is – there is no hurry to start your career. Sure, you can start as soon as you graduate – and this is fine if that is what you want – however, you will probably be working in this field for a very long time. So if you feel the need to experience more from life before you put your degree to use then that is fine too.

Just remember to do what feels right for you…

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