career development / Coronavirus

COVID 19: Graduating in a recession: top tips from Warwick Alumni, part 2

This edition continues our theme of advice and encouragement to those of you who have recently graduated. This week, wise words from both a more recent graduate and one with many years’ experience and wisdom.

Anita Chagar, BA in English Literature (2015), MA in Educational Leadership, Teach First (2018)

Anita Chagari jpeg blogI completed the Teach First programme from 2015-2017 as a secondary school English teacher. I then worked for Teach First’s Recruitment Team as an Assessor from 2017-2019. As of September 2019, I am a graduate at Heathrow Airport on their Future Leaders Programme.


  • Don’t wait to hear back from one application before applying for the next one. Apply to multiple opportunities at a time, and if one comes back unsuccessful, immediately find another opportunity to apply for. When you are successful in securing a role, you can withdraw your other applications.
  • Whilst waiting to receive news on applications, keep yourself busy with activities that benefit your personal development. For example, reading relevant materials; completing online training; volunteering; supporting a charity; writing a blog on topical affairs; finding short-term work experience to practice skills.


  • It’s okay to not know right now exactly what you want to do or who you want to be in the long-term. Instead focus on the journey you would like to go on – the experiences you would like to have, the professional relationships you would like to build, the qualities you would like to develop within yourself. This will help you eventually reach that elusive end goal, which you may figure out along the way, or not at all – but you will be grateful for the journey that got you there.

anita chagari aviation jpeg blog

Don’t feel like you have to set yourself on one role, one organisation, or one sector, straight after graduating. You may start out in a job that you soon realise is not suited to you; don’t be afraid to make a change and go elsewhere. Transferable skills and experience are valued wherever you go; you can provide your new place of work with a unique insight that can lead to innovative ways of working.


  • Everything happens for a reason. Even if you don’t know the reason immediately, it will come to you eventually. And you’ll find yourself appreciating the challenges you have faced because of the heightened strength you now have when you overcame them.
  • Don’t consider ‘The Class of 2020/The COVID-19 Cohort’ as a label for uncertainty, adversity or loss, but as a label for determination, resilience and a new way of achieving success. 

Peter Blackman Philosophy

Congratulations on graduating. Commiserations it’s been an unprecedented (sic) end to your undergraduate studies. Nevertheless trust you have fantastic happy memories of Warwick. I know it was a major contribution to my philosophy of life and how I’ve lived it. Yes, 1975 was a long time ago. But as now it was a time of slump and really hard to find a job. It took me over 100 applications before I was selected to join the NatWest Graduate Management Programme. I had twelve great years with NatWest and when I left (on ethical principles despite being tiered for an excellent career had I stayed) I went on to have a varied and fruitful working life.

Now I’m semi-retired I’m busier than ever! And still using the skills and life-philosophy I gained at Warwick. At present I’m an essential NHS volunteer and also a guide dog puppy walker – that’s also something my wife and I did for the first time whilst I was at Warwick – because we answered the regular advert in the Coventry Evening Telegraph for volunteers for guide dogs because of their centre in Leamington – all our pups still come from the National Breeding Centre there.

So for what it’s worth my suggestion for you is to be proud…

You are Warwick graduates; persevere and be broad minded about the sort of future you seek; you may ‘fall’ into something unexpected and find it both satisfying and developmental. I learnt a great deal of skills for a wide range of work from those first years with NatWest and I was surprised to be a banker. Later it took me to the British Bankers’ Association where I had responsibility for agriculture, risk and lending management, small & medium businesses, charitable appeals and the environment – so I worked with the International Panel on Climate Change and went to the 1995 Berlin Climate Change Conference. You never know what life will bring. Enjoy!


If you’re unsure how to get started on your career planning, try the University of Warwick’s Self-Awareness Careers Moodle

For recent graduates who have not yet joined Warwick’s Alumni Community  find out about the benefits of keeping in touch.








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