I am still finding it difficult to believe that I am no longer a student. My graduation last month passed me by in a blur of delighted congratulations and tearful good byes but the thing that most struck me was the realisation that a great deal of us graduates are not where we expected to be by this milestone.
It's not just about qualifications. It's not just about education or background. How do I know? Because I didn't excel in either of these areas - instead, I actually put my own success down to something called soft skills - the vital skills such as communication, teamwork and time management which everyone needs to succeed at work and beyond.
Starting out on the career ladder can take time, but once you secure your first job, it will be a lot easier to progress, either within the company or in another role. The job market has changed considerably since I started out but it's still just as important to approach your career with the right mindset, the right outlook and real drive.
Universities need to realise that, for students, the hope of a rewarding career after graduation is as important as the pursuit of intellectual curiosity. Building career-focused learning into courses should become a key part of the university offer, rather than an added extra taken up by only the keenest of students.
The latest NEET figures show that one in eight young people are still not in education, employment or training. While there are many reasons for this, often, it can be simple things during the job application process that hold young people back. LifeSkills created with Barclays is a programme that aims to help young people build their employability skills and help them when they are applying for jobs. Below are some of the most common job hunting mistakes we see and tips on how to avoid them:
At a time when a lot of the conversations reaching young people are that its hard to get a job and build a career, it should be businesses inspiring the next generation by teaching them the things they need to know and how to be entrepreneurial. Empowering young people to believe in their ideas and their potential should be at the core of businesses everywhere. Yeah I needed to take a leap when I decided to build SB.TV into a business; there was a lot of risk involved. But it was the best decision I ever made. Just think of the potential if some of the world's biggest businesses made a promise to encourage entrepreneurial skills in young people - more jobs, more innovation, more economic growth.
Yes, you did read the title correctly - Arnold Schwarzenegger! The sixty-seven year old former bodybuilding champion, turned actor, turned politician, turned movie star again may not be everyone's first choice role model. Most prefer to attempt a bad impersonation of him, quoting one of his many famous one-liners.
Consider a full turn around. Work in your loathed job for as long as you can stick it and quit. Then go work abroad and completely change your surroundings. I know that this option isn't always affordable or possible for people, but changing your surroundings may be the therapeutic change that you need.
Trying to fill your days with productive and proactive work is difficult - even if you are learning to drive or have evening activities to go to etc. I'm very lucky that I don't have money worries, but for people who are job searching without financial support, it must be a complete nightmare, and so stressful.
It is fair to say that Facebook has revolutionised social interactions for most people. Whilst, once, friends would call each other on their parents' landline during the evening to catch up, now they are constantly connected in a network where information, news and events enrich and improve the lives of all members.
Deny it all you want, but at some point in your life you've been forced to clear your browsing history because of some questionable content you found yourself viewing at nearly midnight on a Friday after a stressful week. Sometimes the temptation is just too much to avoid surfing to the wrong side of the tracks and what follows is a swift re-writing of history where we pretend that we were on the phone or had dropped off for a moment instead.