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The 10 Questions Every Recent Graduate Dreads Being Asked (and How to Answer Them)

Graduate questions

Graduating from university is all fun and games until you realize that you now have to go out and get a job.

A bombardment of questions from well-meaning friends and relatives are often the last thing you want to hear as a recent grad. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who feels this way! Answering frustrating questions is pretty much a rite of passage for new graduates. 

Here are 10 of the most irritating questions graduates get asked and how to answer them. 

1. So, have you got a job lined up?


What you want to answer: PLEASE STOP ASKING ME THIS. No, I have nothing lined up. I’m going to be jobless forever. Can you please just leave me alone to sulk?!

What you should answer: Not yet, but I’m looking out for new opportunities and will hopefully find something soon.

The verdict: As a recent graduate, the last thing you’ll want to be reminded of is your seemingly never-ending job search. Unfortunately, you’ll probably get asked this question quite often and unless you have a graduate job lined up, it’ll probably make you feel a bit rubbish.

Remember: bagging your first job can be really difficult. You’ll get there eventually but try not to be too hard on yourself in the meantime.

Find out how to use social media to get a grad job.

2. What are you going to do now?


What you want to answer: Cry.

What you should answer: I’m still figuring that out at the moment, but it’ll be fine.   

The verdict: People mainly ask this question to be polite and make small talk, blissfully unaware of the panic it can cause in recent grads. 

When people ask this, it’s best to just tell them the truth: that you’re still not sure about the specifics. Most graduates do find themselves in this position at some point after university. It’s completely fine to use this time to figure out what you want to do with your life.

3. What are your friends doing?


What you want to answer: All of my friends are starting their top graduate schemes and I’m not and they’re all going to be super successful and I won’t be.

What you should answer: A few of my friends are starting new jobs and some are still finding what they want to do.

The verdict: It’s easy to feel at times like your friends are more successful than you. However, the reality is that everyone feels a bit lost after graduation – even those friends who look like they have it all. Talk to your friends about this. They’re probably worried and nervous about the future too.

4. Don’t you think you should be looking for jobs?


What you want to answer: I am looking! No-one will hire me without 300 years of experience, the ability to speak 40 languages and a first-class degree from Oxford.

What you should answer: I’m still waiting to hear back from a few places, and I’m spending a bit longer on each application to make sure they’re good.

The verdict: Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for taking a day or two off applying for jobs.

One of the most important (and more obvious) pieces of advice for job hunting is to keep in mind that you only actually need one job, so it’s much better to spend a bit longer on one application and really make it good, then to apply for loads of jobs in quick succession. 

Here’s how to make your job application really stand out.

5. How are your interviews going?


What you want to answer: Well I’ve only had one, and I’m sat here staring at the LinkedIn job page, so what do you think? 

What you should answer: I haven’t really had many interviews so far, but the ones I have had have been a great learning opportunity, even though I didn’t get the job.

The verdict: Although it sounds cheesy, a bad interview will probably teach you a lot about what you can do better in the future. Like everything in life, the more you do something, the better you’ll get at it.

Identify which areas of the interview could’ve gone better, and then make an effort to improve this next time.

Here’s how to answer the most common job interview questions.  

6. What grade did you get?


What you want to answer: None of your business.

What you should answer: I’m pleased with my grade, but I don’t really want to discuss it if that’s alright. 

The verdict: This question is fine if you’re pleased with your grade, and if you want to answer, go for it! However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to answer this question if you don’t want to, especially if the question comes from a friend who’s just being nosy.

Even if you didn’t get the grade you hoped for, you can often impress employers with other things, such as skills you learnt either in your degree or during work experience.

Find out what experts have to say about finding a job during the coronavirus pandemic.

7. When are you moving out?


What you want to answer: Well… since I don’t have a job and have no money, um, never?

What you should answer: It depends on which job I end up getting. At the moment I’m just really enjoying spending time at home.

The verdict: Nobody really likes moving back home after university, especially as you’ll probably be used to your independence. However, most graduates do move home for a bit after university and there’s definitely no shame in it, so don’t feel bad. 

The bigger issue here is if your parents are asking this question. In which case, you may have slightly outstayed your welcome!

8. What can you even do with that degree?


What you want to answer: Well according to all the non-existent job offers I’m getting right now, absolutely nothing.

What you should answer: Oh, there are plenty of things I can do with this degree (start to list them off). In fact, the real problem is possibly having too many options!

The verdict: Even if you do feel like your options are fairly limited, there will be plenty of jobs out there that you didn’t even know existed. Take a look online at all of the options available to you. For example, this list of the most surprising jobs you can get with a humanities degree.

9. Are you going to go to grad school?


What you want to answer: I wish. Ugh I miss uni so much. Why does it have to be so expensive?!

What you should answer: It’s definitely an option. At the moment I’m just deciding what I want to do next. 

The verdict: In the similar way to the “have you got a job yet?” question, this question can be incredibly frustrating if you’re already feeling stressed about the future. The best thing to do here is to just be honest about your plans. If you’re unsure, say it. Chances are, lots of people feel exactly the same way.

If you’re looking into postgraduate study, but are worried about the cost, take a look at the many scholarships available to study abroad.

10. Do you miss uni?


What you want to answer: Don’t ask stupid questions. Obviously, I do.

What you should answer: I do miss it, but I’m also excited to start the next part of my life.

The verdict: Post-graduation depression is real. Life after graduation can feel directionless and lonely, especially if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. 

If you feel like this, it’s important to talk about how you’re feeling to a friend, family member or even a counselor. It will get better – this period of your life won’t last forever.

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Stephen O, Yamaira A & 8 others saved this
Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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