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Career advice for recent graduates

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 23 Jun 2023

Job seeking after university

Have you come to the end of your degree and are preparing to leave university? Leaving something you’re so familiar with can be scary but leaving university, although sad, is just the beginning of your career. It’s a time that brings many opportunities and it’s time for you to step out of your comfort zone and enter the workplace - whatever that may look like for you!

During this time, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with information. There is so much you’re being told. We’re here to help you find your next engineering job, but we’re also here to give you advice and support if you need it. Job seeking isn’t something you can rush, it takes time, patience and resilience. Skills you’ve probably learnt throughout your time at uni, it’s just time to put it into practice. Here are a few tips we’d give to students when finishing their degree and heading into work. 

Talk to your career counsellor

If you don’t already know, it’s likely that your university or college has the option to go and speak to a career counsellor. This service is here to offer you tailored support when it comes to your career goals. No matter what you studied, they are there to guide you in the right direction and if you need it, share advice and tips on how to reach your goals. Whether you are looking into entering the job market or you’re thinking about further education, they’ll help support your choices and guide you down the right path for you. 

Careers counsellors and services are there for the students to use and many don’t make use of this service. This doesn’t just stop once you end your student life either. Most universities are there to support their alumni and offer certain services for as long as they may need. So make sure you’re doing your research and understanding what is really there for you. 

They can even help with potential job prospects as well. Your university probably has a lot of professional contacts and if you’re talking to a counsellor that knows how to get you this information, you never know what kind of opportunities may arise. 

Ask for help with your CV

Your lecturers are probably more than happy to assist when it comes to writing your first CV. They not only have experience in the ‘real world’ but they know how this feels, so more often than not, they’re there when you ask for help. There are also other people within the university that can help, usually under the ‘career services’ umbrella or something similar. They’re going to be really useful if you either haven’t written a CV before or if it’s causing you some anxiety. They know how to help, so don’t struggle in silence, especially over something that can be avoided. 

Use all these resources whilst you still can - their advice will come in handy throughout your career. 

Your CV is also likely to be very different to the one you used for your university application and part-time jobs. Use this experience to your advantage but make sure you’re giving it a full revamp. Make it the best it can possibly be. 

Do you want an internship?

What are you looking for? Do you think you’d like to get straight into the world of work or are you looking for an internship or volunteering role to ease you in? 

Let’s get one thing clear - internships and volunteer roles aren’t easy. They require hard work, determination and skill set. However, these kinds of roles can be great for people wanting to work and experience their chosen sector but give you the chance to test the waters. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they leave education, and this is perfectly fine. There are options out there. It’s also understandable that not everyone is able to take on work that doesn’t give them the benefits they need. Have a think about what you want and figure out the steps you need to take. 

Continue to build your network

When you leave education, it can be really easy to lose contact with your peers and lecturers because of how busy life gets. There is always something that gets in the way and can stop you from messaging. However, it’s really important to keep your network active and keep building on it. This is your prime time to attend events, meet new people and grow your network. This is something you’ll do throughout your career, so don’t be worried if you don’t have that many industry connections. It’s something you grow and nurture over time. 

Don’t be disheartened

As you’ve probably learnt from your time at uni, nothing seems to go to plan straight away. There are going to be hurdles, rejections and more. But resilience is a key skill for a graduate and job seeker. It’s also not very likely you’ll get a job straight away. There will be various job applications, interviews and rejection letters to look forward to. Once again, it’s important to remember that you have all kinds of help provided to you from your uni, even when you’ve left. Use these services and resources to your advantage. Especially if you’re struggling because you don’t have to and shouldn’t feel alone. 

Be responsive

Take the time to get back to companies, even if you’re replying to a rejection letter. This may just be the thing that changes their mind. Whether you’re replying to an application query, an interview invitation or a rejection, make sure you’re being responsive and constantly showing the employer that you’re still interested. They want to know how you’d react and even if it doesn’t change their response this time, it may just keep you in their good books for the next role that may come up. Never underestimate the power of manners and positivity. 

Learning doesn’t end here

You're constantly learning. Whether that be from your degree, internship, job seeking or new job, the learning will never stop. And if it does, that’s often your indication to move on. You want to take every opportunity you can get, if it’s something you want. Make the most of this time and make sure you’re using the resources available. Many people miss out on these things and may not have the same outcome as graduates that use them. This is your time to shine, use it well.