Once you have graduated it can be overwhelming to start thinking about your future and deciding what to do next. This isn't helped by the fact that everyone has their bit to say- go travelling, get an internship, join a graduate scheme, but which is the best plan of action? The road to success looks different for each person and it is important to realise that there is no 'right' route to employment after university.
Lauren did an English Literature degree at The University of Surrey. When she graduated she still wasn't sure what career path she wanted to follow.
'I had vague ideas about the types of industries I was interested in, but no definite plan.'Before making the huge decision Lauren decided to go travelling and spent four months exploring the world.
'I worked at the local sports centre and stables to fund the trip, then I spent four months travelling before coming back and starting my career search.'She got some work experience at a women's magazine in the marketing department and worked on various sections in the issue, designing, writing and editing pages. She applied for a job there after receiving glowing praise from her supervisor; 'unfortunately I didn't get it, but the experience was worth it.' Soon afterwards Lauren secured a six week internship at a top London events company working on a regional event. This led to another internship there, this time longer and paid, on another high profile exhibition. Lauren made the decision to apply for a permanent job at the company whilst on her second internship, and is now their e-Direct Marketing Executive for large scale events portfolio (LSE). This means she creates and manages the email campaigns for large scale events the company are in charge of.
What can you take away from Lauren's story?
• You can take the time to figure out what you want rather than rush head first into a career from university
• Your dream job isn't out of reach with a little ambition
Jonathan's story: IT
Jonathan studied physics at Imperial College London and after three years he decided he'd 'probably reached the pinnacle of my understanding of science' and so further study was not an option for him. He graduated during the recession when jobs were rare, which forced him to up his game to get employed. He decided to gain as much as experience as possible and quickly acquired a sales job at a London telesales company, however he didn't stay there long. Luckily, he landed himself another job at a telecoms company, this time in the IT department but felt that the direction of the company wasn't for him either. He relocated a few times and his third job after university was with a Managed Service Provider, which is where he currently works.
'I've always been good at computer stuff so the job is very natural, and it's good working in a team because everyone learns all the time, and that's a big driver for me.'
What can you take away from Jonathan's story?
• You can be picky with the jobs pursue- you don't have to settle for any old job, just because it pays
• Careers not necessarily related to your degree are still options- transferable skills are good!
Alex's story; accountancy:
Alex studied Sports and Exercise Science at The University of Exeter. Alongside his degree he undertook a work experience placement in business development; 'myself and some other students helped to set up and run a business'. Alex also completed a placement in the Finance department of a media company. In the final year of his degree Alex applied to over 20 accountancy firms and got varying responses.
'Out of all the applications I sent I was selected to attend two assessment days.'One company accepted Alex onto the training programme for the ACA qualification, meaning he had successfully secured himself a graduate job from university.
What can you take away from Alex's story?
• Perseverance pays off
• Gaining work experience before you graduate can speed up your employment
Whether you know exactly what you want to do or if you are still deciding it is crucial to realise that 'the road to success' looks different for every person. Learn from your experiences, seize opportunities, work hard and everything will fall into place.
Written by Anna Pitts, a Marketing Assistant and Online Researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. Her work involves PR and outreach and writing informative, interesting advice based articles for graduates and students.