5 easy survival tips for recent graduates
First published 27 June 2018 • Updated 09 September 2019
You've graduated! That's the hard part over with. Or is it only just beginning? The switch from higher education to the bottom of the career ladder can be a culture shock. Here are some tips to help you go from learner to earner.
It’s natural after graduation to look out into the big wide world and wonder how you’re going to make it. The jobs market is tough, and thousands of people just like you are applying for anything and everything.
So how can you go from being a graduate to finding work?
Don’t worry! We are going to take you through 5 easy stages that will help you survive out there.
Follow these tips and you’ll cut down the stress and focus on what matters.
Things get complicated and it’s easy to forget the basics. So here are some no brainers for recent graduates that may not have occurred to you yet.
Tips for starting your career
1. Be prepared – job hunting and job applications
Knowledge getting means less fretting. A really good essay requires a lot of research. The same thing applies to getting on the jobs ladder now you’re a graduate.
Before you set foot on the first rung, think about where you’d like to be. Read up on companies of interest before you approach them. Talk in their language but don’t imitate them.
For this, a cover letter is make or break. Many employers wade through hundreds of them. Make yours stand out by showing that you understand where they’re coming from.
You’re looking for a profession, so…
2. Be professional – win over employers and recruiters
Being a recent graduate and becoming an adult doesn’t mean you give up on fun. But it does mean you put certain things in a box and don’t look at them for a while!
Sitting in the pub till chucking out time, then going to a friend’s house by way of the kebab shop is fine if you don’t have to be up in the morning. You can’t do that with a job where people are relying on you.
Your social life may also have led to some colourful social media. Consider deleting some choice pictures as employers can easily access this stuff online.
You’re all set. Or are you…?
3. Manage your money as a young professional
Good financial planning will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Otherwise you’re like many graduates, wandering blind onto a money-based minefield.
Get into the habit of drawing up a weekly or monthly budget, and keeping a close eye on what you spend. You’ll be surprised how quickly it all piles up.
If you aren’t the sharpest when it comes to numbers then apps are a good way to go. They can be easy to use and do the fiscal heavy lifting for you.
It gets better…
4. Graduate employment schemes
Major employers offer graduate employment schemes, giving you everything you need for a great career. They provide essential hands-on training.
You can start your journey to a job anywhere from Aldi to the BBC. The best thing about these positions is they’re paid and they equip with you transferable skills for other roles, should things with the company not work out.
The schemes can offer welcome stability in a market, which is always fluctuating. Read more about graduate employment opportunities here.
One more thing…
5. Be open to graduate career opportunities
While it’s good to have a goal, life doesn’t always work out the way you think. Try not to be closed-minded when applying for positions.
There are some jobs that may not seem suitable, but weigh up your options. Do you want to hold out for a perfect job? That takes time to track down.
In the meantime, why not consider something you might be good at that doesn’t involve a long term commitment? You might discover a career you never expected.
Make yourself employable!
Prepare your approach, remove anything dodgy from your social media, watch your finances, think about schemes but above all be flexible. As a recent graduate it’s all to play for.
Taking the plunge is scary, but if you have a positive outlook you can gain bags of confidence and this will only help your search.
Soon you'll be confident enough to go beyond survival towards a happy and successful career.
Nick Green is communications manager at Unbiased, the UK's favourite place to find advice you can trust. He has been writing professionally on finance, business and many other topics for over 15 years.
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