What to Do Now You’ve Graduated | Top Universities

What to Do Now You’ve Graduated

By Guest Writer

Updated October 8, 2021 Updated October 8, 2021

By Emily Valentine

You’ve spent the last three or more years studying for your degree, completed all your exams and handed in all your coursework. Now, your time at university is over and it’s time to have a think about what you want to do next. 

Once the graduation celebrations are over and the initial euphoria has worn off, you might find yourself feeling a little lost about which direction to head in. Sure, some people you know have lined up a graduate job already, but there’s no shame in still not having a firm plan for your future yet. Here are some potential ways to start the next chapter of your life.

Take a break and go traveling

After working so hard during your degree, you definitely deserve a break. Whether you choose to have a short holiday, go traveling for an extended period, become a volunteer or earn while you travel, you’re making a great choice. Experiencing different cultures can be good for you in so many ways, from building up your independence and becoming more open-minded.

There are so many options available to you, so do your research and choose areas of the world which intrigue and interest you. There are people who make a living out of traveling by blogging about their experiences, so if you wanted to monetize your experience then why not have a go.  You’ll need to be good with words, enjoy photography, be open to trying new things and committed to posting regularly. If it doesn’t work out then you haven’t lost anything, and you’ve gained an awesome diary of your experiences.

Continue your studies

If you just can’t bear to say goodbye to your university then maybe it’s not time to leave? Postgraduate study isn’t for everyone, and for some careers it’s really not necessary, but if you’ve done your research and realized you could enhance your employability by doing further study then go for it.

If you’re not sure you can afford to go ahead with another degree, check out whether you can get any grants or scholarships to make it more affordable.

Find a graduate job

Even this late in the game, it’s not too late to find a graduate job. The competition can be tough (some graduate schemes will require you to have achieved a specific degree or minimum award to apply).

Look for companies that offer career progression so that once you've completed your graduate placement you may be able to move into a permanent role within the company. Some companies will rotate you around different departments so you can get a feel for what sort of area you might want to progress into. These can include IT, finance, HR, marketing and business development.

Become an entrepreneur

If you don't fancy jumping on the nine-five bandwagon then why not try to go it alone and be your own boss? You’ll need a strong business idea, so ask family members or friends who have started up their own successful business for some advice. There are lots of other things to take into account when you’re self-employed, such as keeping a record of all your incomings and outgoings. 

There's a wealth of advice out there for people who want to start up their own company - you just have to do the research. Your university might be able to point you in the right direction, and may even offer a start-up grant. Also, look out for free seminars, talks and courses which are aimed at young entrepreneurs as these will be a good networking opportunity.

You won’t be making money overnight (it takes hard work and determination to be self-employed) but if you stick with it you could carve yourself a rewarding career as your own boss.

Get yourself an internship

Internships have come a long way since the days of making tea and doing the filing. You shouldn’t have to take an unpaid position so strive to find somewhere that’s willing to at least pay minimum wage. If you're going to do an internship then aim high. This is your chance to get your foot in the door at a company that you really want to work for but it’s not guaranteed to lead to a job. Bear this in mind and do your best to create a positive impression on your co-workers.

Emily Valentine writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To browse graduate jobs London and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website.

Lead image: Southeastern Seminary (Flickr)

This article was originally published in July 2017 . It was last updated in October 2021

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