Your post-uni life is sure to be dominated by questions surrounding the best graduate jobs and ‘suitable careers’. Finding the right job can certainly feel impossible!
It may feel like there are millions of career paths out there, and it’s a maze trying to find the ideal one for you. Job sites are overwhelming, the interview process is demanding, and you’re not quite sure you’re the right fit for anything!
Well, we can promise you that you are! So, to help you choose a career path, we’ve sourced the help of a few recruitment experts, and have compiled a short list of tips to finding your ideal graduate career!
Register to a recruitment agency
Re-think any bad feelings you had toward recruitment agencies! Registering with a recruitment agency will give you genuine, honest, one-to-one insight for free – it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
There are loads of recruitment agencies tailored specifically to graduate needs, who are ready to help you right out of university.
They give you interview tips for a top graduate job, but also help you work out what direction you want to take your career in.
Rachel, who works for graduate recruitment company Give A Grad A Go, concurs: ‘You’ll have someone in your corner every step of the way, supporting you with CV tips and interview preparation’.
Use LinkedIn (and social media) properly!
Never underestimate the power of social media.
Take a day off of scrolling through TikTok and rattling through everybody’s Insta stories, and make an effort to reach out and dig around.
LinkedIn, despite its flaws, is a genuinely great platform for putting yourself out there and navigating your early career. Make connections with a broad range of people, and see what you can learn about their various industries, and whether any appeal to you!
Joe, also an experienced recruiter at Give A Grad A Go, emphasises that ‘Your LinkedIn should be an extension of your CV’, and reminds that ‘some employers, especially digital platforms, will conduct a search on social medias to see how you are presenting yourself’.
So, take these platforms seriously!
Cast your net wide – don’t narrow your search too early!
If you’re really unsure what direction your career is taking, then make sure to keep your options open. It sounds cliche, but you’ll seriously be surprised at what you stumble upon, and what takes your interest.
From her experience of the graduate careers, Rachel remarks how ‘You’d be surprised at the amount of roles you could be qualified for, and you definitely don’t need to stick to the typical career directions that your degree might be related to.’
The seed for your career path could come from anywhere: maybe buried in an old hobby, or undiscovered in something you haven’t even tried yet!
Treat every professional interaction as an opportunity to sell yourself
And, if you do end up going through the process of any of these broader jobs, don’t waste those opportunities!
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, finding your career path takes work. It’s going to take enthusiasm and engagement on your behalf to put yourself out there!
As Rachel says, ‘It could be a message to a hiring manager on LinkedIn, an initial phone call with a recruiter, or mingling at a networking event … First impressions definitely count.’
You never know – somebody might just see something in you that you never saw in yourself!
Think about both your skills and your interests
On that note, if you’re struggling to find a career that’s right for you, it might be time to really reflect on yourself.
Rewrite your CV, or edit your LinkedIn, and have a real think about the things you’ve achieved so far. Is there any general skill that appears across your life, like communication or organisation?
Equally, reflect on your hobbies, activities, and pastimes. We’ll all commit ourselves better to careers that we’re truly interested in. Your passion may be laying dormant in your mind – go and find it!
Break down your short and long term goals
It’s also important to think about what you’re really looking to achieve.
Are you after a management position in the next 5 years, or do you care more about leaving a legacy on the planet within the next 30?
Jot down a list, mindmap, or set of incoherent notes about what you really want to get out of your professional life. These sorts of questions can seriously help you navigate the manifold career paths that are out there.
At this young age, it can be hard to think of your goals. So, if you don’t think you have any, the next point might be more apt!
Consider your priorities
Everyone – whether you realise it yet or not – has their priorities. What matters more to you?
A strong work/life balance? Seeing the world? Your health? Your wealth?
Working out these sorts of conundrums will really help you narrow down your career path. Certain careers offer much better salary pathways, others a much better social life, and so on.
And, as Joe reminds us, ‘Don’t be afraid of these priorities shifting quicker or slower than you expect!’ In your early career, Joe ‘would always advise a reduced commute, putting less stresses and pressures on yourself, so you can dedicate more time to the work and building yourself.’
We are going to want different things at different times in our career, so be prepared to be fluid.
There might just not be one ‘ideal career path’
But don’t get too bogged down.
As Joe reminds us, ‘your career is a marathon, not a sprint’. You may find yourself in a job or a career path you didn’t expect, but often you’ll end up finding a passion or a skill you hadn’t considered.