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about 1 month ago by Credit: Sally Gleeson [edited by Thea Fraser]

Five Thoughts on Being a Fresh Grad

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July. The post-dissertation hand in relief and final exam completion bliss are fading into a distant memory. So you’ve been to uni, you’ve moved town, you have had three whole years of the best nights out you will ever have in your life (in addition to some of the most questionable outfit choices), you left with an honourable qualification… so, now what? ‘Have I reached my peak so soon? Is it all downhill from here?’ I hear you cry, as the existential dread sashays into the room. Yes, some Graduates are fortunate enough to have already secured a Graduate Role before they finish their degree, but many (if not most) of us aren’t – resulting in an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. Don’t worry bab, you’re not alone. The stark reality is that being a Graduate is hard (say it louder for the people in the back), but not impossible. 

It’s all about perspective

When you find yourself deleting yet another rejection email and opening Instagram, to console yourself, only to find that that one girl from your Digital Marketing seminar (who always got on your nerves) has just been offered a grad job with Societe Generale in Hong Kong. Bloody Hong Kong!!!! Don’t compare yourself to her and shame yourself, or think that you’re less worthy, just remember - she hasn’t posted the list of rejections she received before she landed this acceptance. Just because some people are moving into professional roles sooner than you doesn’t mean they didn’t take a lot of rejection along the way. Let your inevitable rejections feed your motivation/drive to be better. There is no deadline for success. 

Get busy, not maudlin

Don’t dwell on what you haven’t got. Focus on what you have now, what you want and how you plan on getting it. Be realistic with the roles that you are applying for and keep your options open. Flexibility can open a lot of doors. That said, keep your goals in mind and take all opportunities and experience afforded to you as a means to achieving them, even in those experiences are borne of necessity and don’t seem immediately linked to your goal industry. Get creative with it. Perseverance and tenacity, as well as a positive, enterprising outlook, are as (if not more) important to many employers than which university you attended.  

Don’t sit around waiting for divine inspiration. 

Take a proactive approach to job searching. This is the real world. We can’t sit and wait for good ideas to find us. We have to take ownership and control over our lives and what we want from them. There are a wealth of online tools for those of us who aren’t too sure what they want or what is open to them. Google ‘what can I do with my degree?’ and you will be surprised what you might discover from a simple search. So, get looking or get lost! And be realistic - don’t only apply for the 3 largest corporates in your industry with 28,000 applicants for 250 jobs, then cry and give up because you’re clearly ‘destined to fail’. It isn’t always best to be small fish in a big pond. Look around, apply for SMEs. Commit to the search. Every time you sit down to do a proper and thorough job search, look until you’ve found every single relevant role. Then look twice more. 

Have faith in yourself

You’ve got this. It may take time but don’t let that get you down. Trust me, everyone is feeling the same. That girl in Hong Kong is no more clear, or any less scared than you, no matter how many times she writes #blessed #corporategal in her captions. She’s confused about the future. We all are. But it’s how we choose to deal with that reality that enables success. Life is full of failure, and you will have your fair share. Its cliché as all hell but the idea that you miss 100% shots that you don’t take is one cheesy adage we Graduates should try and keep in mind. And you know what? Now and then, feel a bit sorry for yourself. It’s okay to have that quiet night in after that rejection email, just don’t let it turn from a quiet night in to a month of apathy and reluctance to keep trying. You’re a fighter, you can brush it off and crack on. We both know you’re good enough. 

You’re not alone

Remember your early teens, when thought that you were the first, last and only person to ever feel angsty and misunderstood… only to look back as an adult and realise that that feeling was in fact near-universal? Well, it can be easy for recent Graduates to fall into a similar way of thinking – so snap out of it! Easier said than done when for every positive Grad article you see in the British media, you can find one that directly contradicts it (sometimes even within the same publication). Don’t let the media scare you into panic and regret about your degree. Nearly half of all employed graduates are in so-called ‘non-professional’ work six months after graduating. But work experience of any kind is valued by hiring managers because it enables you to refine a host transferable skills, from timekeeping to interpersonal team relationships and communication.  ​

Searching for Grad roles can feel like an arduous and fruitless task, it’s scary and very little like what most of us envisaged, but at least most of us are in the same boat. It’s okay not to leave uni with a Grad job. It’s fine if it takes you a while afterwards. Keep calm, carry on and be that candidate who can creatively sell themselves by showing how they used what many consider a setback as a valuable experience for skill-building instead. 

If you’re a fresh graduate looking for some guidance, leave your details below and a member of our team will be in touch.

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