If you’re approaching graduation and panicking about what to do next, don’t fret. We’ve put together some ideas of how you can plan ahead for life after finishing university.
It’s that time of the year again – graduation season! As you bid farewell to your university days, it’s natural to start contemplating what lies ahead. If you find yourself on the verge of graduating this year, we’ve got you covered with some tips on how to plan for the exciting chapter that awaits you after graduation.
What’s In This Guide?
- Go Graduate Job Hunting
- Take a Gap Year
- Research Postgraduate Opportunities / Study
- NetVoucherCodes Graduates
Go Graduate Job Hunting
1. Look on Job Sites
Let’s kick things off by exploring job sites like Indeed, Totaljobs, and LinkedIn. You can narrow down your search by filtering for specific skills, preferred locations, and even salary expectations! Oh, and don’t forget to enable those handy app notifications. That way, you can be lightning-fast in applying and never miss out on any opportunities that match your profile.
2. Speak to your University’s Careers Service
Another valuable resource is your university’s Careers Service. Shoot them an email or book an appointment with the careers team at your Student Union. They can provide insights into potential career paths that match your skillset and may have come across interesting opportunities that would suit you.
3. Cold Email Companies
Feeling a bit daring? Consider taking the plunge and cold emailing companies directly. Sometimes, taking the initiative can lead to surprising openings and connections you wouldn’t have stumbled upon otherwise. Also, this will ensure that you are applying for companies and jobs that you truly want, so your passion and skills will shine through in the interview process.
4. Accept that Your First Job may not be Your Dream Job
Remember that your first job post-graduation might not be your dream job, and the salary may not be exactly what you desire. But hey, it’s all part of the journey! Think of it as a stepping stone that will provide valuable experience and skills necessary to progress further in your career.
With this in mind, why not start now and gain experience? It can be easy to feel the pressure of getting a high paid corporate job, but this does not have to be the case. The pressure to land a high-paying corporate job can be intense, but it doesn’t have to define your path. And don’t stress about highly competitive graduate schemes that may have closed their applications. If those options don’t resonate with you, don’t panic. There are plenty of other paths to explore.
Just like Aaron Gratton, who works in Content Operations & Social Media for NetVoucherCodes, you can utilise your current position to acquire skills and contribute to your future career. Aaron plans to continue working in the marketing teams after graduating with a Marketing degree in 2026. He notes:
Once I graduate, I’m hoping to stay at NetVoucherCodes and put what I’ve learned into practice while gaining more experience before securing a new role within the marketing industry.Aaron Gratton
See? Picking up skills in your current role can pave the way for your dream job down the line. So, start searching for roles that align with your skillset and remember that everyone has to start somewhere!
5. Make use of Every Networking Opportunity
Next up, networking! Seize every opportunity to connect with professionals in your desired field. Ellie, our very own content writer at NetVoucherCodes who recently graduated, knows this all too well and says:
I’ve attended a lot of lectures with guest speakers who have given me insight into some of the careers I could pursue after graduation. I also hope to make connections and discover potential job opportunities in academia while completing my master’s degree.Ellie Macsymons
So, keep your eyes peeled for lectures given by guest speakers at your university, as they are often willing to chat with you about your future career and inspire you to pursue particular fields. You never know, these people could potentially be future employers, clients or connections that will help you further along in your career. Connect with them on LinkedIn, keep track of their career journeys, and engage with them to establish meaningful connections that can help you along your own career path.
Take a Gap Year
The years in education from GCSEs and A Levels to a degree are a stressful time for most students. If you need a break after your studies, why not take a gap year? Relax and unwind after constant assignments and exam seasons whilst building your personal profile and reflecting on what you want to do in the future.
Whichever way you decide to spend your time during your gap year, make sure you utilise it efficiently. Fill your time by travelling to destinations around the world, getting a temporary job or even joining a rewarding volunteering programme.
Are you dreaming of travelling the world? Pack your bags, hop on a plane, and embark on an incredible adventure during your gap year. Check out our budget-savvy guide on ‘How to Travel on a Student Budget’ for insider tips like buying interrail passes, taking coach and train journeys instead of pricey flights, booking in advance to save big and travelling as a group to split the cost.
What’s more, you can consider cheap accommodation such as hostels, find sponsors (yes, you heard it right – companies may sponsor you to travel!) and even consider volunteering abroad to make a positive impact while gaining valuable experience, such as English teaching programmes. The possibilities are endless when it comes to travelling abroad after graduation, so make the most of it!
2. Volunteer to Get Experience
If you’re eager to gain some hands-on experience, why not consider getting a temporary job or participating in a rewarding volunteering program? Not only will this help you develop essential skills, but it’ll also make your CV shine and impress future employers during job interviews. So, go ahead and explore paid teaching programs, dive into exciting volunteer opportunities, and show the world what you’re capable of!
3. Speak to Your Career’s Service
Charlie Stirzaker, one of our very own content writers who graduates in 2024, has decided to take a gap year after finishing University. He stated that he is uncertain about his career path just yet, but he will get advice from his university’s career service to decide how to utilise his gap year to gain employable skills and experience.
This is a great tip if you, like Charlie, are set on taking a gap year but don’t quite know what you want to do. Whichever way you decide to spend your time during your gap year, make sure you utilise it efficiently.
Research Postgraduate Opportunities / Study
Does postgraduate study sound like the perfect option for you? If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, then make sure you do your research to ensure that you make the best decision possible.
1. Pick a Course and University
First things first, you need to find a Master’s program that aligns with your academic interests. Most universities offer a convenient postgraduate course finder tool on their websites, making it easy for you to search and discover the ideal program. And hey, don’t forget to attend those postgraduate events like open days, tours, and exhibitions to ensure you’ve found the perfect fit.
2. Arrange a Funding Plan
The second, and arguably the most important thing you need to do to prepare for postgraduate study, is arrange a funding plan. While it may not be the most exciting part, it’s crucial to arrange a funding plan for your postgraduate studies.
There are plenty of ways to get money towards your studies, for example, scholarships are a great way to secure non-payable sums of cash to cover your study costs, especially if you’re willing to work with specific companies during or after your studies. Or, if you are a student on a particular course or meet certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a bursary to contribute to living and study costs.
It’s also worth checking if the university where you completed your bachelor’s degree also does master’s courses. Some universities offer existing students discounts on MA courses if they receive high marks, this is true of universities that are affiliated with each other too. This smart move could save you some serious cash!
Our Content Writer, Ellie, made use of this hack, stating: “I studied my English degree at Blackpool and the Fylde College, which is an associate of Lancaster University. Because I have received a first-class honours degree, Lancaster has offered me 20% off my tuition if I do a master’s degree with them. This 10% off has I received a 2:1”. This has gained Ellie a huge discount on her studies, so make sure you take note if you are on track to get one of these classifications.
A few members of the content team here at NetVoucherCodes have recently graduated or are currently studying at University. They were more than happy to share their stories.
For the past 3 years, I have studied English Language, Literature & Writing and recently achieved a 1st class BA Hons Degree. After graduation, I will be going on to study a Master’s in English and Gender Studies at Lancaster University while also working part-time continuing my passion for creative writing at NVC. After this, I would love to pursue a career in academia and potentially even undertake a PhD. I also love to travel and have always wanted to teach abroad, so this is definitely something I have my eyes set on in the future.
During my time as an undergrad, I worked part-time at NetVoucherCodes as a content writer. Doing this alongside my degree has helped me put my new skills into practice and has also allowed me to gain experience in the creative industry. Work has been extremely flexible in allowing me to continue my studies while also progressing at work. By working part time I have also been able to maintain a regular wage and save money while being a student.
Over the past few years, I have been offered access to the careers team at university who have helped massively in creating a 5-year plan for my future. I have recently also become part of the college alumni which grants me access to the careers team up to 3 years after graduation should I need help finding a job in the next few years.Ellie Macysmons, Content Writer at NetVoucherCodes
After completing my studies and graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in English Language and Literature, I realised that marketing held a strong appeal for me. So, during my job search, I focused on the skills I gained from my degree while keeping my sights on the marketing sector.
I was thrilled to secure the position of a content writer at NetVoucherCodes, as it perfectly aligned with the digital marketing field and allowed me to utilise my writing skills. I look forward to advancing in this field and developing my abilities while gaining valuable experience with this great company.Lucinda Fox, Content Writer & Social Media Coordinator at NetVoucherCodes
As a second-year student, I will be looking to graduate in summer 2024 and career opportunities are one I’ll be keeping an eye out for during my final year of University life. As a Law and Criminology student, I’ll be trying my best to get some work experience amongst law firms and social services to give me more of an idea of what I want to do in the future. Working part-time at NetVoucherCodes during my studies has been a huge help, not only financially, but has taught me invaluable skills I will be able to use in the future.
The best thing about university is that there are always doors which will open for you when you put your name out there and I’m confident I’ll progress towards finding a career I love over the next 12 months!Charlie Stirzaker, Content Writer at NetVoucherCodes
It’s fair to say, we are lucky to have such a creative and talented team here at NetVoucherCodes and are immensely proud of all their achievements🥳🎓.
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