What to do after graduation from university

Oct 6, 2019

Your degree has come to an end, and now you’re wondering what to do after graduation from university. 

If you’ve recently graduated and feel a bit unsure of what your next steps are, read this post!

We’ll outline some of the many options you have and share some tips to help you to thrive during this exciting stage of your journey. 

1: Launch your career

Whether you decide to get a graduate-level job or start-up your own business, you’ll probably want to get your graduate career off to a good start. 

There are many routes graduates can take. Here are some examples: 

  • Graduate scheme
  • Graduate job
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Training programme
  • Apprenticeships

We’ll go into each of these pathways in a bit more depth so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. 

Should I do a graduate scheme? 

A graduate scheme is a structured training programme designed for graduates.  

They usually last anywhere between 2-4 years (sometimes longer) and usually give graduates the opportunity to rotate across different departments. 

Graduate schemes are usually offered by large companies who have the resources to take on grads each year. 

However, keep your eyes peeled for the smaller companies that offer structured training programmes for graduates. 

When deciding whether a graduate scheme is for you, weigh up the pros and the cons:

Pros:

  • Competitive salary.
  • Other benefits – These will vary across companies.
  • The opportunity to rotate around different departments which is good if you are unsure of what to do after graduation from university.
  • Some graduate schemes fund your professional development.

Cons:

  • The structured nature of a graduate scheme is not for everyone.
  • Graduate schemes are extremely competitive.
  • There’s no guarantee that you’ll be offered a permanent role at the company after the scheme has finished, although either way, you would have gained a lot of experience.

Should I get a graduate job?

You might be wondering: what’s the difference between a graduate scheme and a graduate job?

Graduate schemes tend to be more structured than graduate jobs. They are pre-defined programmes with set rotations and training.

Graduate jobs don’t tend to have rotations. However, the role will suit a recent graduate who may not have several years of relevant experience.

If you already have a good idea of what you want to do you might opt for a graduate job in that area. 

Read our post called: “what is a graduate scheme?” to get a deeper understanding of the difference between graduate schemes and graduate jobs.

Becoming an entrepreneur or being self-employed after graduating 

What to do after graduation from university

Some graduates might decide to start a business or freelance straight out of university. 

Many businesses were started by people who met at university and co-founded a business. 

Some start businesses as a side hustle whilst at university. After university graduates might decide to grow their side hustle into a full-time business.

Others decide to freelance or work on a business idea and start their own company after university

If you decide that the entrepreneurial route is best for you, be sure to find out if your university has any resources to support you. 

Training programmes for graduates 

There is an increasing number of training programmes available to graduates who want to upskill in a specific area.

For example, if you would like to become a software developer for example, you could take an intensive course that will provide you with the skills and experience you need to land a job in that field even if you did a non-technical degree.  

An example of a programme like that is the QA graduate academy. It is a 12-week programme designed to help you to land a tech-related job.  

2: Continue your studies

Some graduates who do not know what to do after graduation from university opt for a masters degree. Check out our post called: “should I do a masters?”

We often advise recent graduates who are considering this option to think about this decision very carefully. 

This is because we find that a lot of graduates believe that having a masters degree will increase their chances of getting a graduate-level job, however, this is rarely the case.

We also advise against doing a masters if you are doing it simply to delay your graduate job search for an extra year because you don’t know what to post-graduation.

Most graduate schemes have a minimum entry requirement of an undergraduate degree with a 2:1 or a 2:2. Therefore, the employers won’t necessarily view your application more favourably if you have a masters degree. 

Also even if you do have a masters degree and are successful in landing a place on a graduate programme, you will still start in the same position as someone with a bachelors degree. Therefore, going to grad school may not give you the advantage you are looking for. 

There is an exception to this. If for example, you want to go into a particular specialism such as becoming an economist or going into the field of cybersecurity it might be useful. 

It is also important to bear in mind that some employers fund their employees to do their masters in a subject that will help them to perform better in their role. 

Also, it is worth considering that when you are a fresh graduate, you may not really know what direction you want your career to go in. Sometimes it is more beneficial to get a few years of work experience, then reassess what masters you would like to do. 

Doing a masters after university summary

In summary, if you really do not know what to do after graduation from university, jumping straight into a masters programme is not always the best decision. 

If you know that you would like to get onto a graduate scheme programme or get a graduate-level job, it is worth investing in getting a graduate coach for one-to-one coaching who will help you to achieve this goal. 

We see a large number of graduates who didn’t know what to do after graduating from their undergraduate degree and therefore decide to embark on postgraduate study. 

It is often the case that they find that they still did not know what to do after their masters.  

A lot of graduates come to us after completing their masters as they are struggling to find a job after graduation.  

3: Take a break 

For many, the final year of university is extremely challenging. 

Whilst you might not know what you want to do after graduation from university in terms of career, you might know that you definitely want to take a break. 

Taking a break after graduation will give you the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family members. 

Some graduates decide to take a well deserved holiday after university, or even travel the world. 

Travelling will allow you to experience different cultures and provide you with varied life experiences. 

These experiences can help you to stand out when it comes to sending out job applications or even pitching for clients. 

Taking a break will give you the opportunity to reflect on your time at university.

This will allow you to think carefully about your next steps.

Some graduates who finish university rush to find a job that might not be right for them. 

Taking some time out or even having a gap year can help you to truly discover your career path. 

4: Get a Graduate Coach 

If you are unsure of what to do after graduation from university, consider getting a graduate coach. 

A graduate coach will help you to develop lifelong skills related to how to:

  • Perform highly in interviews
  • Write achievement-based CVs
  • Land a graduate-level job that is right for you
  • Negotiate a higher salary
  • Advance quickly in your career

As well as helping you to secure your dream graduate-level job, a graduate coach can equip you with everything you need to know to do really well in your graduate position.

What to do after graduation from university: Summary

We hope this post has helped you if you didn’t know what to do after graduation.

There are many routes to take if you’ve recently graduated so carefully consider all of them before making a decision.

Our latest posts

When to Start Looking for Graduate Jobs
Nov 17, 2019

When to Start Looking for Graduate Jobs

Ideally, you’ll want to have a graduate job lined up and waiting for you when you finish university. However, this is not the reality for many...

Read post
Benefits of drinking water during an interview
Nov 15, 2019

Benefits of drinking water during an interview

Drinking water during an interview has many benefits. In this post, we will outline how having water with you in an interview is...

Read post
Unemployed with a Master’s Degree [What To Do Next]
Nov 13, 2019

Unemployed with a Master’s Degree [What To Do Next]

You’ve embarked on furthering your education by studying for a Master’s. You hoped that this experience would give you the edge when it came to...

Read post
See All Blog Post