There’s plenty of time
There’s at least nine months left of your academic career, and those nine months can be very fruitful in deciding what you want to do – so don’t rush.
Often, grad schemes have two application windows, so if you are too busy with university work to quite make the first one, there’s always time to do it later in the year. The civil service works like this.
Jobs that aren’t on a graduate scheme often come out later in the year, closer to their start date.
Work out what you actually want to do first
Having priorities is the most important thing. Work out if you prioritise a high salary, or pursuing your academic interests, or travelling, or even just staying close to home for a little while – or something that incorporates all of these things.
Once you’ve worked out what you actually need from that next step in life, the way to achieve it will look a little bit clearer. If you choose something that you think will make you happy, the making of a career path will feel less like a slog and more like an exciting adventure – which it is.
Contrary to popular belief, a ‘Plan’ is actually not necessary
Winging it can actually be rather successful. There’s no need to panic if you haven’t got a Plan or a job by the time you graduate. From personal experience, this is what happens to a lot of graduates.
Finding part-time work, work experience or going travelling can all be planned at very short notice. Job vacancies crop up all the time, so don’t feel there is a time limit for deciding on the next step.
Charities are always in need of volunteers, and in the long run, these can sometimes lead to paid jobs. Often, even without a Plan, things tend to fall into place.
Don’t allow anxiety about the future to pull enjoyment out of the present
It’s the last year of undergraduate life. For me, this meant returning from a year abroad, ready to rediscover the city I loved and to make memories with people I had known for three years.
It meant knowing the professors in my department, and concentrating on my academic work – and doing away with the all-nighters of first and second year. Think about the future, but not so much that it makes the present painfully stressful.
Ask for help
Universities are well equipped for the likes of final year students. Use that careers service, delve into the portal offering job vacancies and internships – and yes! Go to those CV workshops!
Make use of companies visiting your university. Use the opportunity to ask questions about the application process, and about the actual job.
One nugget of advice stuck in my mind from a meeting with a careers advisor: every application you do requires a lot of time, so put a lot of work into it. You need to stand out, and you need time and effort to exhibit those stand-out qualities in an application.
This led to a hiatus in my flurry of applications and concluded in a few haphazard spider diagrams and – eventually – a decision on my path for the next year. So do some spider diagrams too, and decide yours. And if you can’t decide just yet, there’s no problem with that, either.
(Followed by Telegraph)