(Published on Urban Times)
Whoever laughs off the fact that it is both difficult and frustrating being a recent Graduate needs a lesson on how hard it really is: an average day can be endlessly spent searching on every job application website, jumping at any remotely interesting-sounding jobs, uploading a CV (putting your fears of data protection to one side) and hastily typing a cover letter. It’s a daily up and down of pumping adrenaline to patiently sitting tight for any recognition of your existence.
What is equally as difficult for Graduates like myself is coming to terms with life after university and trying to answer the endless queue of questioners asking: “What’s next?”. Well, if you’re also like me in the sense that your brain has been wrung-out from the final six-month-stretch of your education and you’re now idly working a mind-numbing retail job at home, then your zombified state might be leading you to the bright lights of the city, too…but there are other options.
It’s estimated that one in ten of last year’s UK Graduates were still unemployed a year after their studies ended (according to the BBC). Dependent on your previous experience (i.e. if you were lucky enough to squeeze in multiple internships around university deadlines) and what your certificate states, it’s entirely up to you and you alone to evaluate where you feel you’re best suited to be employed. What’s important to remember is you, whether you have a degree or not, can be in the best position to make that decision. You’ve just got to know how to plan it right.
If moving from home to a city for the first time or a bigger one than the one you live in, the job hunt is increasingly competitive but beyond that, it’s exciting and you’ll have endless choices while your independence still stays in tact. Identify in what environment you work best in: the hustle of the city keeping you on your toes or the quiet, rural life with minimal distractions. Decide your plan of action and be your own boot to get you out that door and off on your next mission – job-secured or not. Ask yourself if you can afford it and if the answer is no, stay at any job you can get until your financially able to make your move.
When I say any job, I mean any job. Money is hard to come by particularly for the over-qualified graduate. Yes, you have a degree but you have to prove to your temporary employer that you’ll take this position just as serious as you would your ‘real’ (and ideal) job. They’ll be the ones funding your aspirations and your potential rent deposit on your post-student flat. If you lose sight of what you’re destined to do, your passion wearing thin, revaluate your strengths and what you enjoy doing.
If that’s gradually becoming unrelated to your qualification, consider the fact that employers in your idealised job will appreciate the subject you took three, gruelling years to complete. Last but not least, make a more realistic version of your romanticised gap year plans from pre-uni. A fantastic option, budget dependent, is going abroad and interning. That part-time job you’ve been dissing may just be your literal ticket to a fresh perspective and some fantastic opportunities to enhance your cultural awareness and in some circumstances, work experience.
Photo credit: Ellie Mitchell