Ask any student or recent graduate you know and all will agree that there seems to be more pressure on graduates to succeed than ever before, with recruitment processes seemingly becoming increasingly daunting. Faced with the prospect of psychometric testing, assessment centres and interviews, it’s understandable if you’re worried that you have little to offer a potential employer.
Think instead about what being a student gives you. Your degree will have armed you with transferable skills that you can talk about in your applications and interviews. (If you’re unsure about these, you can ask your lecturers or a Careers Consultant for guidance.) Consider all the things you’ve been involved in outside of the classroom – from sports, music and societies to part-time work and volunteering. You will have also gained skills and experience from these activities that you can talk about in applications and interviews to show employers what you have to offer them.
And don’t forget, your time at university is only three years of your life. You don’t have to have your entire future sorted out by the date of your graduation. My friend Phil graduated from a History degree in 2010 with no idea what came next, and after a year of “uninspiring” retail work and “waiting for the right job to come along”, he decided to pack his bags and see what else was out there – and hasn’t looked back since:
“After seeing much of Europe and South East Asia, I found myself working in Australia and got a great (and well paid!) job in Melbourne as an event manager, a field I had never even considered working within when I was a student. Travelling not only opened up so many opportunities for me, but it also gave me the confidence to spread my wings and give anything a go, regardless of how relevant it was to my time at uni.
“When I returned to the UK, doors were open to me that had very much been closed before, not because of my degree but from my experiences during the last eighteen months of travelling. The people I’d met, places I’d seen and opportunities I’d been given all played a huge part in finding a career path that I truly enjoyed and felt optimistic about.
“Now I work at STA Travel, mostly helping other graduates explore the world around them. I get a real buzz from it every day and definitely didn’t see myself in this position five years ago, but I wouldn’t change it for one second.”