I asked final-year students about their post-uni plans
For a lot of final year students their main concern in the first months of this year, aside from the looming dissertation, will be what they want to do when they graduate. For a lot of courses, the route may seem simple: Law students may go on to do something related to law; Nursing students will become Nurses and so on.
But for those of us who study degrees such as History, English, Geography, even Media, the future is a little more blurry. With the transferable skills you gain from your respective degree, you can pretty much go into anything (not including medicine, of course), but the range of options is daunting.
Wanting to get a broad view of student opinions, I took to Twitter to ask how final year students (and recent graduates) feel about the search for something to do after uni.
‘Have you started looking for graduate jobs?’
A total of 88 people responded to this poll with 24% saying that yes, they had been looking for jobs and had already applied. However, a somewhat comforting 58% of responses said they hadn’t started looking yet, and 18% said they had looked but hadn’t yet applied. This could purely be down to the fact that there is usually so much going on during final year that many students decide to focus more on their studies than on job-hunting.
‘What kind of thing are you looking to do after uni?’
This poll had only 68 people respond, and it provided a rather varied response. 19% of students surveyed are looking into further education or masters degrees once they graduate, 16% responded with going into teaching and a further 16% onto a graduate scheme. The majority of people (49%) said they are looking at a more generalised graduate job (as opposed to the rumoured rigorous graduate schemes). For a lot of people, doing a master’s gives an extra year in uni where they don’t have to think about jobs; whereas some teaching courses provide the support of uni alongside the work of a job, making both these options rather popular.
‘Do you actually know what you want to do after uni?’
A huge 92 people responded to this poll, with a majority of 75% saying that they do not know what they want to do, and 25% saying that they do. I think this is a really important question. A lot of the time, students feel pressured to go to uni and pick a degree that they think they’ll want to pursue as a career. Sometimes this works out for them, and other times they completely change their mind by the time they graduate. On the other hand, there is so much that you can do after uni that it’s hard to know what to choose or what would be right for you.
‘Do you feel pressured to apply for graduate jobs despite not knowing what you want to do?’
Again, the results of this poll saw a majority of respondents (81%) answering that yes, they do feel pressured to apply for graduate jobs. This is a key issue, I feel. The pressure is put on us by the uni, who want to be able to say “Look, our course is successful! This percentage of people managed to get grad jobs within six months!” so that they can get more students to apply. For some, the pressure is put on by parents who don’t want their children to be living at home for the next however many years. Either way, there is still immense pressure, and that can lead to many students applying for jobs they don’t even want, just to say that they’ve done it.
All in all, applying for graduate jobs is a stressful time – especially when you feel unsure about what you want to do. Make sure you make use of your uni’s careers service as they can help point you in the right direction – whether it’s further education, other courses or even job fairs.
In terms of actually looking for graduate jobs, I would highly recommend Prospects as they let you take a quiz which determines what jobs they think would suit your needs. But be wary of this quiz, as it doesn’t take into account your degree and therefore could bring up degree-specific jobs that slot into their respective industries such as Advertising, Engineering or STEM. Prospects usually just shows graduate jobs/schemes, so it’s great when looking for a specific role.
Some people use Indeed to look for grad jobs, but I’ve often found that despite typing in my preferred job + “graduate” it brings up other related options such as part-time work, which isn’t always ideal. A quick Google search has brought up Graduate-Jobs which has a section for graduate jobs, schemes and internships which could prove fruitful depending on your search. If you want tips on nailing grad scheme interviews, check out this article.
Good luck, and try not to let the third year pressure get to you!