Life After University

Leaving university is an emotional experience: if you’re in your final year at the moment, chances are you’re trying not to think of the big black hole lurking after your final piece of coursework is handed in and the time’s up on your last exam.  Media coverage of the job market probably won’t be helping your mood, either; you might’ve gone into your degree with a bucket full of dreams and determination in spades, but the recession has dominated the news in the last four years. It’s difficult for graduates out there.  Huw Edwards insists every night: life’s no beach for the under-30 and over-qualified amongst us.  Rob Carrick over at the Globe and Mail is another well-known media personality that has been detailing the issues that today’s young people face.

But cheer up! It’s not as bad as all that. Every generation faces its challenges, and every generation has faced since time immemorial the BC (Before Career) slump that comes after you’ve graduated. After all, you’re going from having focus, set hours, and immediate feedback for your work to having just yourself to depend on. That can be hard, and you’ll face a number of choices along the way which could determine the direction your life takes. While young adults today do have several hardships that previous generations didn’t have to deal with, they also have unique tools like the internet that offer a bevy of opportunities that could only have been found in science fiction movies decades ago.

Direct Line Group have a few ideas to help you decide how to snap out of the slump. They recruit for insurance jobs across the UK, and are proof that employers are still looking for qualified, confident people who’ve navigated university and are ready for what comes next.

Firing Out Applications vs. Focus

It can be tempting to apply for every job that comes along that you think you might be vaguely suited to: often motivated by unemployment guilt, you can find yourself clicking ‘Send’ on a number of applications, then crossing your fingers in the hope that you don’t get the job.

While it might seem useless to put your name down for jobs you wouldn’t dream of doing in a million years, it can be a good way to stay in job-seeking mode. If you’re someone who’s not confident about CVs or interviews, the practice (without the risk) can help prepare you to apply for the big jobs you really want.

If you’re a list-maker, however, and are sending out CVs because you’ve set yourself the task of applying for 5 jobs a week, you might benefit from sitting back and taking a look at what you want. Focus on your location, your goals and how tailored your CV is to your ultimate ambitions. And make time to relax: plugging away at a problem without taking time to stop and think can be exhausting.

Out and about vs. internet clout

It’s fair to say job seeking is mainly internet-based nowadays. Trawling online recruitment sites, checking your e-mail updates and making LinkedIn connections are all great ways to get awareness of (and network in) your chosen industry, and all the while you’re developing computing skills that are invaluable in a modern workplace.

But don’t forget about getting out and actually talking to employers. Are there any small businesses in your area that are related to your field of study? They might be only too happy to help out some local talent. Even if they can’t offer you work experience, you will be able to get a sense of what the environment’s like: whether you love it or loathe it, you’ll be better equipped to decide what type of place you’d like to work in.

Also, getting out and about will give you a bit of time away from your desk. An energy boost and some fresh air will keep you feeling positive!

Fast Buck vs. First Rung 

Part time work can be a great way to get a bit of extra money while you’re waiting for your dream job to land in your lap, it’s handy to have something industrious-looking to pop on your CV and it’s a great way to get used to working in a team.  But bar work, waitressing or temp jobs can be really tiring, as well as acting as a distraction from the task at hand: getting you a lasting, fulfilling career. Don’t feel guilty if you’re working limited hours or you don’t take on too much responsibility while you’re looking for a permanent job.

And most of all…

Try to see friends, see films and shows and make time for your family. Human contact is important to keep you cheerful (and sane) as you navigate the murky waters of the job market. Moreover, you never know where that casual conversation will take you, whether it’s a revelation about what direction you want to take or even a job offer.

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