Are you a graduate looking for a job? Some advice from a clued-up cohort

Please welcome our new columnist Yasmin Mattocks, recently in the job market after graduating from University with an English degree. In this article she shares her experiences and advice to anyone in similar circumstances…

Life after graduation: advice from an English graduate  

Graduating from university is really envisioned as the ultimate goal for a lot of students, and so it should be: it is an achievement which deserves to be celebrated. However, after you finally receiving a mere piece of paper awarding you your degree, it may dawn on a lot of graduates that their years of fun are all finally over and they don’t know what to do, or even worse, they can’t get a job.

article about graduates finding jobs

“It has taken me months to come to terms with the realities of life after graduation…”

I know that for me it felt like a bit of an anti-climax, overshadowed by unemployment, after years of thinking I would come straight out of university and bag a well-paying job. Following my graduation in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, I and many other graduates have found ourselves in a bit of a sticky situation.

It has taken me months to come to terms with the realities of life after graduation, and so I would like to share some advice with those who may be in the same position. Honestly, I have lost count of how many articles links my parents have sent me advising similar things, but I can now say from personal experience, the advice is worth taking into account.

  1. Be realistic

A common downfall for graduates is thinking that finding a job will be easy, unless you are one of the lucky ones: that is not always the case. Be realistic with yourself about how long you might have to stay at home for or continue working a part time job. There is nothing wrong with that, by the way! However, do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself. You may have to apply for hundreds of jobs and endure many interviews before you get one. This leads me on to my second point.

  1. Do not be hard on yourself

Getting a job is not an easy road at the best of times, but as a graduate you may encounter a little more difficulty. That is not to say you definitely will have trouble, but do not be fooled into thinking it is as easy as getting your degree and then voilà, a job appears.

It is completely normal for graduates to stay at home after graduation, work a part time job in the meantime, or go travelling. Go easy on yourself. It is worth it to try to just enjoy where you are for the time being. There is no rush: you have the rest of your life to start working. You are not a failure because you have not immediately secured a job after your degree.

  1. Make use of your time

So, you have finished your degree, and unless you are working a temporary job full time, you may feel like you have a lot of time on your hands. By all means, use it to relax if you need: you have just completed a degree, after all.

On the other hand, if you are keen to kickstart your career, it is wise to make use of your time: whether that is while you decide what you want to do with your future, or whilst you are waiting to hear back from job applications.

If you know what you want to do, get yourself some work experience, or do an online qualification (I did one in marketing). You could start your own blog, or get advice from family and friends who are in the same field you are interested in. These will not only help you become more employable but also will clarify whether you would enjoy that field of work for real.

  1. Learn how to be ‘employable’

Fundamentally employers are looking for knowledgeable candidates, which can be hard if you are a graduate looking to enter a profession you do not know the technicalities of. Whilst most employers will not expect entry level candidates to be familiar with the workplace jargon, it will always impress them more if you have learnt a bit about your profession.

Especially if your degree is not directly related to the job you want, learning about how the field generally operates will be beneficial to you and your employer. Essentially, graduates have a lot of knowledge, but that may not be much use to an employer if you cannot apply it effectively in the workplace.

It is OK to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of planning your future. Remind yourself that it is not easy out there in the big world of work. By taking it step by step, planning, researching and being pro-active you will learn and develop skills along the way which will help you in your search for a job.

article about graduates finding jobs

Yasmin Mattocks

To all the other graduates out there who have found themselves graduating at possibly the worst time imaginable (during COVID-19), you are not alone.

If I were asked to see light at the end of the tunnel for us, it is that we have extra time to be pro-active and try to figure out our futures. Good luck!

Yasmin Mattocks is an English graduate and animal lover. She is interested in pursuing a PR and marketing career, and is passionate about writing.

Main photo: Kameron Elder on Unsplash