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Life after graduation: Three years on... what happens after graduation?

05 March, 2019Eleanor Bridger
Preparing for life after graduation can be a scary thought especially if you’re not quite sure about what career path you want to take. While you have the next three years to think about that, it’s important to be prepared so what ever happens - you’re ready for it.


Graduation dayToday’s graduate is entering the most competitive job market. Companies are trying to counteract the effects of the leave vote. This added to an already fierce graduate market where positions are fewer and the number of graduates continues to increase.

A degree isn't enough to stand out from the crowd anymore: you need to be able to show your knowledge of the industry and of the role you want to work in. Look at the course content and module options you have, which ones will give you the most relevant insight and skills for your career path?

Transferable skills

You might have a degree in accounting, but want to be a banker. You might have a degree in geography, but want to work in marketing. If you think you haven’t chosen a directly relevant degree, don’t worry. Many skills that you will gain at university are transferable to different roles. You’ll be learning key skills such as team work, research, organisation, project managing, prioritising, computer software, communication etc.

All of these attributes are what future employers will be looking for when recruiting and are crucial to your success in graduate recruitment assessment centres…

…the big guns

Most major companies will hold graduate assessment centres where successful first-stage applicants will be in competition for a graduate position. Graduate recruitment starts early, sometimes in the last term of your second year so don’t miss out on these opportunities.

Graduate assessment centres

Top tip: when performing a group task at an assessment centre, volunteer to be time keeper and help your team stay on schedule. This not only highlights good time management but also shows your ability to manage a team.

You can talk to your careers advisor to get prepared and ensure you've got all the skills needed to take part.

Talk to your careers advisor

Placement year

Some universities will offer you the choice to take a year break from your studies so you can enter the world of work. This is a great opportunity to explore the industry you think you want to work in, gaining vital on-the-job experience. Most companies will let you try various roles across departments so you can get real insight into how an organisation works and what roles you most enjoy. Top tip: You will graduate a year later but with far better career prospects so don’t get down about graduating after your friends.

Work experience and internships

During your three years you’ll have a lot of downtime, whether that’s during the week or over the holidays. Make use of this time and intern in roles or for companies that interest you. Yes, you may have to do your fair share of menial office jobs, but most companies will look to their interns and work placements for recruitment opportunities – get in and get yourself known.

Find out how to make the most of your internship. Talk to our careers team about the key application dates, and how to find and apply for internships.

And after all that, you might just want to pack up a backpack bigger than your body and travel the world! Whatever your choice, make sure you don’t leave it until graduation to think about it.

Talk to our careers team      Your internship