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The prospect of finishing university after 3+ years of study and commitment might leave you with mixed feelings about what the future holds, and even perhaps some anxiety around what entering the working world will be like.
Whether you are planning to head straight into the workforce, take some time out to relax, pursue postgraduate study, or do something else entirely - consider the questions below, and see what applies to how you’re feeling.
We hope the ideas and resources we’ve laid out here will help you decide your next steps and better prepare you for your next exciting chapter.
1. What are your top skills?
Think about the skills you already possess, and the skills you may need to develop to become more employable ahead of your graduate job search.
It’s important to remember that skills aren't just things you have picked up from the classroom, and that skills such as teamwork and communication can be developed through work and extracurricular activities.
Which of these skills could be applied to a career, and how can you go about developing new skills to give you an even better chance of following your desired path?
2. What experience are employers looking for in graduates?
Landing a graduate job after university is no small feat! However, acquiring highly sought after skills and experiences could help to increase your chances of getting that first role.
Employers tend to favour students that have undertaken work experience, internships, volunteered in charity work or operated within peer leadership roles - such as being a CA student representative or leading a student society or council.
These kinds of experiences allow students to broaden their horizons, apply their knowledge and refine various necessary skill sets. Employers see these efforts as demonstrated examples of teamwork, leadership, professionalism and work ethic.
3. Should I apply for work experience or an internship before I graduate?
Work experience - whether paid or not - can help you to build on your employable skills (like communication, teamwork and time management), and provide valuable insight into what kinds of work you enjoy (and what might not be right for you).
Undergoing an internship prior to graduation is one of the best ways to have a taste of the working world as you have the opportunity to test the waters, grow your skills and network with industry experts.
What you do outside your studies can make a big difference to your employability, so remember that it's all about being proactive and doing the right things to get noticed.
4. Do you have an up-to-date resume?
Whether you’re looking at securing an internship while studying, volunteering or even a full-time role for when you graduate, you pretty much can’t land any role you apply for without a resume.
Your resume is essentially a summary of your current skills and experience, and it plays a crucial role in helping employers understand whether you are the right person for the job. To stand out from the competition, make sure you take some time to shine up your resume.
5. Do you have an appetite to continue studying?
Although postgraduate study is optional, it can be a very rewarding experience if you are looking to develop a more in-depth knowledge of a specific field.
If you’re looking to get ahead in your career (right after finishing your undergraduate studies), or expand into something new with postgraduate study, make sure you do your research about what’s possible for you based on your results or other qualification entry requirements.
Determine what you need to do next in order to pursue further education and achieve your goals - and if you need support, speak to a careers adviser.
6. Are you overthinking your next choice?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of potential pathways ahead of you, the fact of the matter is that you will make a decision eventually.
Regardless of whether or not it was in your initial plan when you first started university - developing a growth mindset now, and striving to be as resilient and adaptive as possible, will enable you to become more curious and open to learning from your experiences and mistakes.
Use this time to develop the skills you need to deal with change and thrive in today's ever-changing business environment.
7. What will make you happy?
According to Deloitte, happiness at work does not just have to be a millennial ideal, but a beneficial reality for all.
Whether you choose to follow a well-thought-out plan, or simply trust your gut instinct, engaging a positive outlook and making career decisions based on a mix of skills, suitability and passion can be a recipe for success and fulfillment.
Although we can’t tell you what job you will have, or where in the world you will be after graduating university, we hope these questions and related resources go a long way in helping you to decide your next steps.
With so many pathways available to you as a soon-to-be-grad, we have every confidence that you’ll make the right decision about your future.
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