Your choice of profession once you graduate will be dictated by a number of factors. Some careers will require particular qualifications, or postgraduate training. Other factors are the number of vacancies, where you want to live, and what employers are looking for. If you don’t have a particular career in mind, then there are many options open to you. However, the sheer choice can be bewildering and leave you worried about ending up in the wrong job. So how can you choose the right profession after graduation?
Remember that you can change jobs
Gone are the days when you went into a job straight after finishing your education and stayed with that employer until retirement. These days, it’s perfectly normal for people to change jobs frequently and build up a varied CV. It won’t be frowned upon if you go from one job to another within a relatively short space of time. In fact, it can be viewed as giving you the chance to gain experience with a number of different employers. So, if you don’t like a job, you can look for another one. You won’t be trapped in a career that you hate, so see it as a chance to gain experience and add another entry to your CV.
Use your university’s careers service
Your university’s careers service will usually be available to former students for some time after graduation. So, make use of their services to help you find a career that suits your skills and fits what you are looking for. In fact, you should get in touch with them well before graduation. They can help with finding you summer work that can enhance your CV, advise on what you need for professions that interest you, and provide details of graduate schemes offered by employers.
Consider what you are looking for
Of course, you need to know what you’re looking for in a career; the right one won’t simply fall into your lap or come to you in a dream. So devote some time to considering what you want to do. What matters to you? Is job satisfaction more important to you than money? Are you ambitious and want a high-flying career? Once you have a shortlist of possible careers, you then need to consider what qualifications you need, whether you will have to move to find a job in this field, and whether these employers are recruiting. You will have to be realistic. There’s no use wanting to join the Army if you hate being told what to do and are physically unfit. Being a pilot is fine if you can afford the training or are prepared (and able) to take out huge loans to pay for the course. And if you want to live in the country, hate the idea of a long commute, but all the jobs you want are city-based, you will have to make compromises.
Try temp jobs
Temporary jobs are an excellent way to try out different professions. If you find that one of them doesn’t appeal, you can move on to a different post when that assignment ends. You’ll also be gaining experience that can be used in your next job, so a temp post is never wasted time. Plus, you’ll be earning and supporting yourself – great news after the years spent living on a student budget!
Talk to people in the same field
Once you have a number of possible careers shortlisted, look for people who work in that field. They can provide insight into what it’s like, and provide a perspective that can only be gained from the inside. They’ll tell you how easy it is to get a promotion, the drawbacks of working in this type of job, and may also be able to put you in touch with the right people. Contacts are very important when you’re looking for a career, so begin to cultivate connections.
Try a career assessment
If you’re coming to the end of your studies and you really have no idea what you want to do, try a career assessment. You can find these online, go to a professional careers advisor, or may even find them at your local library. A career assessment will help identify your strengths and weaknesses, consider your attributes and what you seek in a career, and offer suggestions that fit your personality.