The essential tips for keeping calm after graduation and entering the adult world
So, now that you have donned the cap and gown, received your degree in front of mum and dad, what’s next? After drinking yourself into a stupor for the last week, melancholically revisiting the pub crawls, the parties, the late-night cram sessions; all those odd stories, you start to realise that your free licence to live like a student has expired. ‘My parents, society, even my peers will expect things from me,’ you think. ‘They will expect me to function as an adult does.’ Well, don’t panic.
As a graduate of the 2016 graduating class, you have a lot to be cheery about: Office for National Statistics data currently puts unemployment at 4.9 percent, its lowest since 2005. And, aside from a few, those in the public sector or in the financial services arena, most sectors are now growing. So, landing that first job should be a doddle, right?
Despite the encouraging unemployment statistics, competition in the job market remains fierce – the head of global marketing at Reed, Catherine Maskell said recently that, ‘young workers are thinking ahead and want to have it all.’ If you are aiming for the stars then first thing’s first, the C.V. Keep it snappy, simple and to the point. Sell yourself but remember to refrain from over embellishment. Employers want to know why and how you would slot perfectly into their role. No one wants to know how many Pokemon you have caught or how many fishing rods you have. Keep it concise and to the point. If the good stuff is on page two and you are applicant forty of a hundred, it may be that your ‘something significant’ gets overlooked.
Secondly, tailor each application individually. Of course, the C.V. should be altered to meet the specifications of each job application as best you can. But more importantly, send a tailored cover letter every time. Put the time in, do the research into the prospective employer and make sure that the letter stresses all you have to offer each particular role – don’t forget, although you have graduated, the careers service is still open to you and this is their area of expertise. Have them look it over, or have a friend do it.
Thirdly, clean up that digital footprint. Facebook will no doubt be awash with pictures of you and your mates looking unsavoury. Whilst these shared memories may be perfectly innocent, they can leave you open to discrimination when applying for jobs. Don’t give employers the chance to form a negative impression of you. Take the pictures and comments down or alter your security settings so that only your nearest and dearest can see those cutesy misdemeanours.
Remember to keep calm, it won’t happen immediately. Research commissioned by totaljobs.com suggested that a quarter of all job seekers had been looking for work for periods exceeding twelve months. So, don’t worry if you are not getting any love straight away.
Despite the very low unemployment rate, some areas of the UK economy are recovering slowly. Sectors like teaching and local government lag considerably behind their private sector counterparts. If you do happen to be a ‘wannabe’ teacher or someone that studied public policy, then getting that first foot on the ‘proper’ job ladder may be tough.
Don’t give up. Get all the experience you can in the field you are aiming for. Get the student account switched to a graduate one before the bank goes bananas. Spend some time with the family. Just enjoy yourself, whilst you wait for your big break. Just make ends meet. Wait tables or work at the checkout at the local Sainsbury’s. There is absolutely no shame in it and the current makeup of the British economy is such that casual and temporary work is fairly easy to come by. One of the largest growing sectors last year was hospitality, according to prospects.ac.uk.
As the common saying goes, ‘a job’s a job’s a job.’ Never was a truer word spoken. The only thing to remember is to keep plodding along and that break will come.