Finding a job immediately after finishing uni is no mean feat – as all the countless news stories of graduate unemployment have noted. This is an issue compounded further for those who are still not exactly sure what it is they want to do for a living now their education is well and truly over.
It’s understandable, of course. A person’s entire work history up until that point usually comprises of weekend or evening jobs undertaken for the sole reason of helping to pay rent, bills and a bit left over for the student union bar. Not only that, careers advice in schools may well start at 14 – or sometimes even earlier – but many student still leave feeling confused, unenthused or (in some cases) given less appealing alternatives, as a “fall back” as their first choice jobs may be difficult to come by.
All this leaves a recent graduate feeling completely at a loss, with a good qualification but no experience or even ideas of where to turn. As such, below are some ways of helping to navigate through the career fog and find the right direction.
Do what you love
It’s common knowledge that people do better at things they simply enjoy doing. Very rarely will someone find, for example, that they hate maths but are simultaneously exceptionally good at it. This is because we all excel at what we enjoy, then take these good feelings through to challenge ourselves when everything gets a little more advanced.
As such, look back over the courses you really enjoyed – or those for which you received higher-than-average grades without necessarily putting in any more work. Chances are these will point toward a career direction that is not only enjoyable but successful as well.
Seek out the professionals
Official, professional bodies can give an unflinching account of just what it would be like to work in their business or industry. This resource will not only provide quality information about what a certain job would entail, but also highlight some alternative roles of which a new graduate may not be aware.
These professional bodies can also give advice and assistance when it comes to securing the right job. They know exactly what is required for each role and can point prospective workers in the direction of courses or material to help ensure their CV is not too imbalanced for the qualifications:experience ratio.
If you are going to speak to a recruitment firm ahead of looking for a particular kind of job, it is always worth seeking out a specialist organisation that deals with that industry all – or the majority of – the time.
Speak with friends
Another old adage that rings true here is that ‘your best friends probably know you better than you know yourself’. They see everything you do, say or act in a coldly analytical fashion of which yourself, family members or partners are simply not capable. As such, they may be able to identify areas of strength which you may not have considered.
There’s also the much-fabled “wisdom of crowds”, where enough people gathered together should provide a good, solid answer to any question using their knowledge and diversity. This should also offer career paths you may not have already considered.
For those who didn’t opt for career-specific degrees, finding the right path may well be onerous, but these examples should illustrate that for all the difficulty, its certainly not impossible.