Ah, graduation. A mixture of ‘freedom at last!’ and a bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to an important chapter of your life. If you’re about to graduate, there are probably lots of things on your mind…but the main question that you’re probably mulling (or stressing) over is: what’s next? Graduation is both a long-awaited milestone and a big trigger of uncertainty and anxiety for lots of students, especially when it comes to planning their future careers. Here are a few steps that you can take to create a career plan post-graduation – and make the whole process run smoothly.
1. Try applying for an internship
Internships are a fantastic way to get experience, references for future jobs, and discover what you’d actually like to do! Lots of awesome companies offer these to graduates, and if they’re looking for more staff, this could also be a great way to get a long-term job after your internship. The easiest way to find different internships is to use a job search engine (such as Jooble). You can filter your job search to include internships-only. At the time of writing this article, we found internships from the likes of Ernst & Young and Deloitte – so this is definitely an option worth checking out.
2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
And no, we don’t mean that you need to figure out how to respond to this question in interviews (but be prepared to hear it a lot). Where do you really see yourself 3, 5, or 10 years after graduating?
Most students, especially nowadays, don’t really want to make any long-term plans and want to try lots of different options. And that’s okay. You don’t have to have it all figured out. But you can help yourself by envisioning where you want to be, what skills you want to develop or what experiences you want to have, well…experienced, 5 years from now. This will help you understand what you need to look for in order to get to your vision – i.e what work experience will you need? Will you need any extra education? What are some hypothetical or real steps that you can take to obtain these?
It’s really worth investing some time into brainstorming and writing out your ideas – you might be surprised at what you come up with! Not only that, but you’ll also get some much-needed clarity and peace about your post-graduation situation. Once these thoughts are out of your mind, you’ll feel a lot less stressed.
3. Start looking for jobs
Finally, try diving right into your job hunt. Look through graduate job opportunities and figure out which ones you’re more interested in. Make a list of those that excite you and perhaps even get in touch with some employers/ companies to find out more. Showing interest before you actually apply for a job can really make you stand out from the crowd and even boost your chances of landing the role when you do apply. But overall, this step is mostly about seeing what your options are and what potential experience you might need (to get said experience, you can refer back to point number 1 above).
You can also always look for freelance jobs if you decide you don’t want to do a 9-5 after graduation. Good places to look include platforms such as Upwork. Depending on your line of work, this can be a great temporary solution that can become a full-time job if you want it to.
Spend some time on this step, as just like tip 2 above, you’ll find that you can get a lot of peace of mind simply by learning what opportunities are available and writing them out. Clarity = confidence and the info that you get from your job search will go a long way into helping you plan your career.
Whatever you decide to do after graduation, try to honour that this is a huge milestone and you might need time to adjust. Perhaps you don’t need to have it all figured out before or right after you graduate – maybe the most productive thing to do would be to take some time off (if circumstances permit), explore your interests outside of school, and plan your career from there. This can often help you make a much more informed decision, which will result in a much happier you! In any case, nothing is set in stone and sometimes, you might find that staying flexible and open to different options (in other words, not following a rigid plan) can take you places you never considered and didn’t know you’d love.
We hope these tips help shine some light on the steps you’ll need to take after graduation. Best of luck!