Image: Suad Kamardeen/Unsplash
Image: Suad Kamardeen/Unsplash
Graduation from university is not just about the gown and cap although that’s a nice bonus.
With August in full swing and much of the year already over due to the COVID-19 pandemic students may be wondering what will happen next.
It’s best to be prepared for what happens next, no matter how frightening it seems.
Your classes may have taught you a lot but they might not have taught you how to handle the transition between studies and the start of the next phase.
Whether it is postgraduate studies or working life, it can be a little nerve-wracking but the sooner you start to prepare, the better.
Decide whether you will pursue further studies or whether it’s time to get out there and kickstart your career.
Remember that postgraduate studies don’t always have to be directly related to your undergraduate degree. This is particularly applicable to the arts and social sciences, but you’ll need to provide motivation for your application if you do decide to diverge.
If postgrad is your game, then contact the course coordinator of the programme you want to enter and ask questions. Find out as much as you can and make an informed decision.
If you decide to venture out into the big wide world, you will need a few items in your job-hunting “toolbox”.
Being prepared for interviews is a major one. Your institution might offer guidance on interview skills, but if not the internet offers plenty of ready advice.
If you’re really daring, you could apply for an interview at a job that you don’t necessarily want just to get some experience.
Whichever route you take, it is important to improve your network. Take a free course on networking, create networks on social media and open yourself up to opportunities.
This includes keeping your profile updated online on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. You’ll also feel more confident with a curated profile.
Make sure that what you post online promotes and enhances your professional image. Post professional, good quality photos, post interesting news and articles and try to avoid controversial topics as much as possible.
Create or update your CV, or resume as they call it in the United States (US), as this often may help you to get a foot in the door..
Remember to keep your CV relevant to the job you’re applying for. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself, including nerdy hobbies.
Also, it’s a good idea to can ask interviewers what made your CV stand out when you go for interviews. Then you can use that to refine and improve it further.
In the current economic climate, which is very poor, jobs are in short supply. It’s wise to be willing to accept a basic job at first, even if it’s not in your field.
You can always use this as a base to find better positions and pick up skills along the way. This might include looking for internships, even ones that differ from your field of expertise.
Learn which websites advertise positions and jobs. LinkedIn and Bizcommunity are just two examples.
Signing up for newsletters may also help you to keep updated on vacancies.
Start a project while you look for work. There are many opportunities online to start your own hustle. It shows that you have initiative, which many employers will value.