Next steps for graduates

By J&C Team

Congratulations, you’ve graduated! If you know you want to start work now rather than tackling postgraduate study or going travelling, here are three ways to get focused.

1. Think strategically

If you’ve decided the area you want to work in, now’s the time for an action plan to help you achieve it. Mapping out your career path may help. Jot down where you are now, where you’d like to get to – and the obvious steps in between.

What new skills or experience do you need? It might be a question of some extra training to fill any gaps in your know-how.

If it’s too daunting to decide on the next 40 years of your working life, just focus shorter term on the next two or three years. First jobs after uni can be pivotal, as they’re a chance to find out what motivates you and where your natural skillset really lies.

2. Network, network, network

Make a list of everyone you know who could introduce you to someone working in your chosen sector. Send an email or post on Facebook asking for any leads. After all, unless people know your plans, they won’t be able to help you out.

Social media’s fantastic for job-hunting, especially if you go super-sleuth on the major platforms with a list of targeted keywords.

But don’t go purely digital at the expense of old school. Chatting to people at industry meet-ups, exhibitions or conventions is still a great way to get mental clarity on an area of work you’re interested in, as well as great fodder for interviews later on. And don’t forget, it takes just one new contact to turn into a prospective employer one day…

3. Build your experience

Experience gained in the workplace is proof to prospective employers you can apply yourself in different areas and types of roles.

Bit lacking in this area? Find out about work experience or work shadowing, interning
or volunteering – even for just half a day a week. Relevant postings are good CV fodder
(plus they prevent gaps developing on your timeline). But mostly they help you nurture contacts and develop transferable skills for work – teamwork, problem-solving and even leadership and management.