Confused about Career after Graduation? [Help is Here]

Dec 19, 2019

Many students feel confused about their career. If you are feeling this way, don’t worry – it’s completely normal.

In this post, we’ll share some tips on what to do if you feel confused about your career after graduating.

Why you are feeling confused about your career

As we mentioned above, it is completely normal to feel confused about your career after graduation. In fact, you may also be feeling lost or maybe a bit unhappy. Many graduates report that they have experienced these emotions after university.

You’ve probably got a bunch of questions whirling around in your mind right now, and it’s all a bit confusing! Here are some of the questions you might have:

What type of graduate job is right for me?

Are you confused about your career options after graduating?

Not many people are aware of this, but graduate jobs can be categorised into three groups.

  • Specialist
  • Knowledge architect
  • Communicator

We’ll explain each of these three typologies and how to work out which group you are aligned to later in this post.

types of graduate job

Without understanding these career typologies, many graduates feel really confused.

This is due to the fact that 90% of degrees are non-vocational. This means employers may not be looking to hire a graduate based on specific knowledge they gained in their degree.

If you studied nursing, for example, you’d be hired into a nursing role because of the specific expertise you gained during your degree. Therefore you’d be classed as a specialist.

However, if you studied Business Studies, you may not be hired on the basis of your knowledge, but because of your transferable skills, experience and ability to thrive in the role and company. Therefore, you could be a communicator or a knowledge architect.

To illustrate this, you may have noticed that many graduate opportunities welcome applicants from any degree discipline.

Many graduates get confused into thinking that because they studied geography for example, they can only apply for geography-related roles but this is untrue.

What’s the difference between a graduate scheme and a graduate job?

If you have recently graduated, you might be confused as to whether you should apply for graduate schemes or graduate jobs.

Graduate scheme tends to be highly structured programmes. They are mainly focused on training and development. During a graduate scheme, you may be required to rotate around different departments over the course of a year or longer.

You can do a graduate scheme programme in many different areas such as technology, consulting, engineering, HR, sales, marketing and many other areas.

If a graduate scheme sounds right for you but you have recently graduated, you might need to wait until September to apply for graduate programmes that will start the following year from June/July onwards.

If you graduated a year ago or more you can still apply – check out our post called: Am I too old for a graduate scheme?

Graduate jobs tend to be less structured and have flexible start dates. If you already have an idea of what area you would like to go into, perhaps a graduate job is for you.

How do I work out what roles to apply for?

You may be perplexed by the number of different graduate job titles there are.

There are over a thousand different job titles for graduates out there and knowing which ones to apply for can be confusing.

Working out which of the three career types you align with and understanding your skills will drastically help you to narrow down your job search and identify what roles to apply for.

When is the best time to apply for graduate opportunities?

Now that you understand the difference between graduate jobs and graduate schemes, you will have a better understanding of when to apply for graduate opportunities.

If you are hoping to apply for graduate schemes at large companies you may need to wait for the next application window. Check out our post on when to apply for graduate schemes.

If you are hoping to apply for graduate jobs at smaller company, you can apply for these all year round. This is because they take on new grads depending on their business need.

I’m struggling to get a graduate job, what should I do?

Many graduates struggle to land a graduate job. It is a distressing fact, but 48% of graduates do not secure a graduate-level job and remain underemployed.

The competition for grraduate-level jobs is fierce. You are not just competing with graduates who graduated at the same time as you but with graduates who graduated years ago.

Read our post on what to do if you are struggling to find a job after university.

What to do if you are confused about your career after graduation

Now we will identify solutions for graduates who are confused about their career after university.

Analyse your skills and interests

We usually advise confused graduates to audit their skills.

This is a great starting point for working out what types of jobs would be right for you.

All graduates regardless of what they studied will be expected to have key employability skills.

You will need to demonstrate and show evidence of your skills throughout the entire application process.

Work out your career typology

As we mentioned above, there are three main career types.

  • Specialists are hired into graduate roles for their specific knowledge
  • Knowledge architects are hired into graduate roles for their ability to derive insights from data
  • Communicators are hired into graduate roles for their ability to form great relationships both internally and externally.

We explain the three career typologies in much more detail in The Student Book.

Write an achievement-based CV

Writing your first graduate CV can be difficult especially if you haven’t yet gained any work experience.

Your CV needs to be strong enough to convince potential employers that you have the skills and competencies to perform highly in the job.

Tip: Ensure that you strengthen your CV before applying for jobs.

Here are some tips for your graduate CV:

  • Make sure your CV is formatted correctly
  • Tailor your CV to every graduate opportunity that you apply for
  • Keep your CV concise to highlight the most relevant information

Get really good at performing well in interviews

Once you have identified your career typology, your skills and the right roles to apply for you’ll feel a lot less confused about your job search.

The next step is to get your applications to a high standard and to stand out amongst the competition.

It is better to send out fewer high-quality job applications than several low-quality ones.

In order to secure your graduate job, you will be required to complete several types of interviews.

Being able to perform highly in job interviews is a lifelong skill.

As a part of your graduate job applications, you may need to complete telephone interviews, video interviews, face-to-face interviews and assessment centres.

Do you want to improve your interview technique and become more confident in interview settings? Look into our interview coaching programme for professional training.

Confused about career after graduation: Summary

Thanks for taking the time to read our post for uni levers who are feeling confused about their career after graduation.

We hope that you found the information helpful. Hundreds of confused graduates have come to us for our help. If you would like some 1-2-1 career coaching, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We will help you to discover your career path and land your dream graduate job.

confused about career after graduation

The Seven Secrets of Success

Land your graduate job

Download your free copy of our guide that reveals the seven secrets of success when it comes to landing a graduate job.

  • Learn seven things you can implement today to enhance your job search strategy.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the graduate job market.
  • Find out how you can find your dream job with guidance from a graduate coach.

Please see our Jobs page for graduate jobs.

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