Being a student in university, and being a recent graduate from university may seem like worlds apart. In truth, people in either situation share a common career concern. And I think that concern is: What am I going to do after graduation?
There are many career-related options and opportunities available for students and recent grads, but it’s tough to decide which one is right. So lets break down some of the options and opportunities to see what might be fitting for you!
Continuing with academics
The option of continuing with school or returning to school is always worth considering. Further schooling can be an opportunity for networking, gaining more educational/formal training qualifications, and possibly forming a career in academics as well. Here are three possible options and opportunities if you’re interested in continuing with academics:
Before you run for the hills and panic about your GPA, know that graduate school is not just for the “A+” students. If you want to do graduate studies, and you’re worried, it’s always worth meeting with your professors or academic advisor to talk about how well you’re doing and the road to grad school. They can give you suggestions, advice, and insight into the details about grad school. It’s definitely a big commitment, so it’s important to do your research and understand the details around your program and the financial funding/support that’s available to you.
If you know what kind of career or industry you’d like to be a part of and work in, college is a great place to gain specific hands-on training. If you’re coming from university, a college program can be a great place where theory and application meet. It’s also a great chance to network with peers and instructors who already work in the industry you’re interested or passionate about.
Post-grad certificate degree
I’d like to think of post-grad certificate degrees as a hybrid between grad school and college. Both universities and colleges offer post-grad certificate programs, but the completion of one is within a year or two. Again, it’s an opportunity to network with peers and industry people, but it also offers opportunities to get internships and hands-on experience in the work you want to do.
Maybe you’re not sure what kind of career you can build with the degree you have, or maybe you want to try something different from what you studied at university. Either way, it may have felt like you had to find a career path while you were studying.
If you feel the need to take some time to regroup yourself and reconnect with your passions – do it, but do so while keeping yourself busy with a schedule. Internships are great opportunities for you to explore what kind of work and career life you want. And if you have the time and resources, travelling is a good option too. Internships and travelling can provide work and life experiences that can enrich you and your CV.
Job searching: The first “real job”
And of course, there’s always the option of looking for employment opportunities. With this option, I think it’s important to research and learn as much as you can about the industry and/or position you want to work in. It will reflect well in your cover letter, and show that you care about the position.
When you come across a job posting, make sure you record the due date and/or time of when your cover letter and CV needs to be submitted by so that you can give yourself sufficient time to prepare. And lastly, utilize your network, because job searching isn’t easy, and having more than one set of eyes looking is always helpful.