Firstly, do you know what you want to do post university? If you do great. Then it is a case of looking to the sector and thinking of the skills that you need to evidence to land that role. But, if you don’t have any idea then you should look to book yourself in with a careers consultant to help you find your way and you can also use the great resource that is Prospects Planner. Also take into consideration that 84% of graduate scheme roles don’t specify a particular degree. So, you have a much wider selection of options than you may think.
Don’t panic at fears of unemployment. The headlines are very scary but it is important to read the details behind them. Yes younger people, those aged 18 – 24, are more likely to be unemployed. But the figure is skewed – those with fewer qualifications and younger people are more likely to be working in the sectors hardest hit by the recession caused by the pandemic. By completing a degree you have given yourself an advantage in the current labour market. A good way of finding out more is to see articles written by graduate labour market experts like Charlie Ball on Luminate which offers interesting and reassuring insights into the job market. Ball analyses data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and notes that UK GDP is expected to return to its pre-pandemic levels by early 2022.
So, some of you may now worry that your work experience isn’t what recruiters are looking for. Ball suggests looking at what you did over the pandemic and reflecting positively on the ‘soft’ skills such as organisation and communication that you may have demonstrated. Please bear in mind everyone is in the same situation and that the groupwork for example, you may have done via MS Teams or a virtual work experience is still impressive to a recruiter. Talk about that part time job in terms of the soft skills you developed and give your examples. To help you explore, the Warwick Student Opportunity YouTube channel offers short video guidance on everything from structuring answers to CV and cover letters
You may be thinking of undertaking another course and if you are interested in the subject that is great. But please do seek advice, if you haven’t already, on what it can offer you in both the longer and shorter term. Do you need it to get into the industry of your choice? A recent Guardian article quoted the Early Careers Survey of 2021 which explored the value of work experience. The study showed that those who volunteered, worked in supermarkets or other related non-grad work were seen as being “far more employable than those who ‘waited out’ the pandemic by completing a Masters“. Also don’t think that you can no longer access careers support because you can. Check out your university provision on their website. Here at the University of Warwick we offer one to one guidance for two years post study and then a life time access to information on our website.
Looking at what you already have is a great starting point. How self-aware are you? Check out our excellent Self Awareness, Self-Development Moodle. From here you can start by reflecting on what your degree has given you and developed you before you start to make applications. This will help you to better answer the recruiters questions more fully and/or enable you to evidence some key modules in the education section of your CV. Don’t forget it is up to you to show them how you have developed
My final suggestion, network! Like a farmer not a hunter; look at the contacts you have and nurture these and any new ones. Have conversations with people and see where these can take you. Ask them for advice or how they got into the industry you want to break into. Listening to others will give you ideas and help you to understand what the reality of the world of work is truly like. Warwick students can check out the Networking Moodle.Yes, a good LinkedIn profile helps (so do get advice on that and look at other peoples to see what works for them that you can adapt) but also remember that careers fairs are coming up. You will be able to speak to recruiters online and tailor applications to what they are looking for. Always avoid the generic and concentrate on the specific to save you time and energy.
Good luck and please try to not worry about what may or may not be around the corner. Remember that worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It might give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere!