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Life as a Graduate

People rave about what to expect at University, whether you’re a fresher or a final year student. What about us Graduates though? What are we to expect life after university? Let me give you a bit of an insight. It is all well and good knowing what you are about to let yourself in for when starting your degree, but life afterwards is more important. You’ll realise this once you reach that stage.

Since gaining a degree in photography, I have chosen the path of Marketing. To some this may be a massive transition, but really I’ve been doing aspects of marketing for many years. Writing copy, digital advertisement, and promoting companies are what I do on a weekly basis on my blog. My degree has enabled me to gain the skills to do all of this. The tough part is convincing the employer you have the skills without the relevant qualification. You’ll notice two requirements that are becoming mandatory with a lot of jobs today; a degree and a driving license. If a license is essential for your role and you don’t hold one, there’s only one way around it – learn to drive. It’s not an instant fix, but it’s the only way you’ll get there. No brainer. If you don’t hold the relevant qualification, show you are determined to learn on the job and show your passion for the role.

You will not get a job the moment you finish your degree. It’s naïve to think you will. Some students do, and this isn’t down to luck, it’s down to determination. It is also down to what is available and when. For example, Graduate Schemes are a great start to becoming employed after university given you’re successful. You can apply the moment you start your final year.

Adjust your attitude. Moving home after three years at university can be a weird transition and you can find yourself becoming lazy. Snap out of it fast! I felt like this the first two weeks of being back at home and I soon found myself regretting it. When it came to looking for jobs I had no energy and my attitude was, “What’s the point?” or “I’ll look another day”. Treat job applications as a 9-5 job. That’s the advice I was given. If you wake up with a goal to send off two or three applications that day, your attitude will change and you’ll become more focused and motivated.

Overcoming a block of motivation can be simpler than you think. Job applications are tough, especially when the same advertisements pop up every day. Writing CV’s and endless cover letters can also become tedious. There’s something about ‘bigging yourself up’ through words that can be cringe-worthy. If you find yourself at a dead-end, take the day off. You are still allowed ‘me time’, but don’t make it your priority.

Dealing with rejection is tough. Sometimes rejection is silent, but can also be the worse – when employers do not send you a reply. This is the worse part of applications in my experience. You send off 20+ applications and one gets back to you. Fair enough, it’s a rejection email but at least you know they received your application. The others make you wonder whether they received it, what’s their verdict, their feedback, all these thoughts running through your mind. It makes you go a little insane.

Don’t let rejection get you down. The first application you send off won’t be the break-through for your career. You will most likely get rejected a large number of times before good news heads your way. If you are rejected, try and ask for feedback. You’ll find a lot of companies, especially the larger ones, won’t do this but smaller ones might be more open.

I’ve been applying for jobs for four months since finishing my degree in May. Throughout those four months I got nothing but an empty Inbox. Before I knew it, last week I received a phone-call asking if I was available for a phone interview there and then. I wasn’t prepared, but there are moment in life where you have to take risks. So I went for it. It went really well and he asked me in the following day for a face-to-face interview. The minute I got off the phone I checked my emails, and there sat a message saying I had been shortlisted for another application with my invitation for an interview next week. So I had been slapped in the face with three interviews within the space of 20 minutes. The interview the next day went really well and the feedback I got from the company was fantastic and a big confidence boost. The good news is, I have been offered that job. Thank goodness for that!

For some it will take a week to get a job, others might take just as long as me, then s
ome over a year. I know people who have had experience in all of those positions. It’s a nerve-racking and also confusing stage after university, but the best thing to do is just keep positive. Something will come your way at some point, but it takes a little while at times to get to where you want to be. Whilst you’re waiting, look for part-time jobs. If you are bringing in money and getting yourself into a routine every week it’ll help you keep motivated.

This is the best advice I can give to you graduates. It may not be much, but I’m speaking from experience. Advice I have received from others has helped me a lot and that’s why I want to put it in this article for you all to benefit from.



  • Anna says:

    Great article! And good advice that I will pass on, along with another article on job-hunting on WMW today, to a recent graduate who is struggling a bit.. x

    • Thank you! I find there are always different perspectives as a graduate, but coming from a perspective of a difficult journey it’s nice to be able to offer advice that has actually worked for me! x

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