Feeling lost after graduation? Here’s what you can do

Sep 11, 2019

It is quite normal to feel lost after graduation. A few months ago, you couldn’t wait until your exams were over and now you are wondering where all the time went. 

Now that you are a graduate, there will be lots of new opportunities to look forward to and important decisions to make. 

In this post, we’ll share some tips on how you can beat that feeling of being lost after graduation. We’ll also share some tips on what you can do to get your career off to a great start! 

1) Remember that it is completely normal to feel lost after graduation

The student lifestyle is like none other. 

For the past few years, your life has been centred around essay deadlines, maintaining an active social life and getting to lectures on time. 

All of that came to an abrupt end and now you have a lot of things to think about regarding your future. 

It is completely normal to feel lost after graduation because you are experiencing a massive change in your lifestyle.

However, this feeling will fade away as you adjust to your new lifestyle as a graduate. 

2) Don’t compare yourself to your friends 

Feeling lost after graduation? Here’s what you can do

I know it can be difficult not to compare yourself to your friends, but remember, you are on your own journey. 

Whilst all of your friends might have graduated and seem as though they have ‘their lives together’ you’ll never know what they are going through. 

If you feel as though everyone else has landed a great graduate job and you are at home twiddling your thumbs, now is a good time to start your graduate job search. 

3) Reflect on your time at university

Whether you’ve recently graduated from your undergraduate or postgraduate studies, you’ll have a lot to reflect on. 

Take some time to think about what you really enjoyed doing when you were at university.

Was it working in a group? 

Did you particularly enjoy being the president of a society?

Also, take some time to reflect on any work-related experiences you may have gained. Think about the skills you gained from it.

What did you absolutely hate about university? Maybe you disliked writing long essays? Whatever it was bare it in mind and think about why you disliked it. 

4) Write down your skills and interests 

Now that you have taken some time to reflect on your time at university, write down all of the skills that you have gained. 

Use the STAR method to write out examples of how you have been able to demonstrate these skills during your academic studies or your work experience. 

The STAR method is an acronym for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result 

It is a good idea to practise using the STAR method because it will come in handy during your upcoming interviews for graduate jobs. 

Also, note down any interests you gained whilst you were at university. Maybe you became fascinated by technology, or maybe finance has piqued your interest. 

5) Match your skills against the 6 key skills that all employers will look for in graduates.

 Even if you do not have any work experience yet, you’ll be able to use examples from your time at university. 

The 6 key employability skills for graduates are:

  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Organising and planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Professionalism
  • Working on your own initiative 

Using the STAR method, write out examples of how you are able to demonstrate each of those skills. 

6) Work out your career typology 

Most graduates aren’t aware of this, but all graduate jobs can be categorised into three key areas:

  • Knowledge architects
  • Communicators
  • Specialists

Graduates who are knowledge architects are hired for their ability to analyse data and draw valuable insights from them. Examples include management consultants or accountants. 

Communicators are employed to build and maintain profitable relationships. Examples include sales and marketing roles. 

Specialists make up only around 10% of graduates. These graduates are hired primarily for there specialist knowledge in a particular field. Many specialists study vocational courses at university such as medicine, or nursing. 

Knowing your career typology will help you to narrow down what types of graduate jobs. This will help you massively if you are feeling lost after graduation.

Once you know that you are a communicator, for instance, you’ll be able to focus your job search on communicator roles. 

7) Put together your graduate CV 

The idea of putting together your graduate CV may seem daunting. This is especially the case if you feel as though you do not have much work experience. 

However, don’t put it off, because you’ll want to have a solid CV that you can easily tailor if a graduate opportunity comes up. 

In our book, The Student Book, we have dedicated a whole section to writing your first graduate CV and included several examples of great graduate CVs. 

Get yourself a copy of The Graduate Book either in hardback or ebook. 

8) Start applying for graduate-level jobs 

As you have invested all that time and money into getting a degree, you’ll probably want to get a graduate job that has great prospects. 

Now that you understand what your skills and interests are and what your career typology is, you can start thinking about sending off some job applications. 

If you don’t follow the process outlined above and rush into applying for graduate jobs you may end up feeling confused and even more lost after graduation.

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped over 500 students and graduates to secure graduate positions at a large number of the top graduate employers including PwC, JP Morgan, Facebook and many more. 

If you find yourself struggling to find a graduate job after university, get in touch with us.

9) Keep in touch with your friends from university 

Many people gain lifelong friends at university. 

Maintaining these friendships will is a great idea. 

Even if you have all moved away, take the time to meet up. Some graduates move home and isolate themselves which contributes to them feeling lost after graduation or even depressed

Maintaining a healthy social life is good for your mental health and wellbeing. 

Keeping in touch with people from your course is a good way to build up your professional network. 

You never know what companies they will work at in the future and they may prove to be a useful connection. Add them on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. 

10) Make the time to pursue new activities and interests 

Now that you have finished university, you may have some extra time on your hands. 

Use this time wisely to pursue activities that you may have put on hold during your studies. 

We have helped many people who have felt lost after university to discover their career path and launch successful careers.

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