Frequently Asked Questions
I’m still looking for a job?
- Even if you know exactly what you want to do, it is worth being flexible. Don't restrict your applications to the household-name employers or to very competitive career areas such as investment banking, marketing or media. Broaden your career search by looking at other, less well-known careers that offer similar experience and job satisfaction.
- Don’t rule out jobs that are not specifically labelled as “graduate jobs”: these can be good starting points.
What is a graduate internship?
Many graduates now start their career in a graduate internship – a fixed term position (typically 3-6 months) that gives you a chance to try out, or get experience in, a graduate-level job. These may lead on to an offer of a permanent position! The following sites are good sources of vacancies targeted on new or recent graduates. Most of them have a free vacancy alert service for registered users.
I still don’t know what I want to do …
If this is your problem, don’t worry – many other graduates are in the same position and there are many opportunities open to graduates whatever your degree subject. The following resources should help you to get started, but you may find it useful to discuss your situation with a careers adviser.
I don’t have any experience …
Don’t write off any work experience as irrelevant – casual jobs in retail and hospitality jobs can add skills such as customer service, working in a busy team, and the ability to work under pressure to your CV – things that most graduate employers will look for.
Voluntary work can help you to gain experience, improve your skills, boost your confidence and build up your CV.
I’m thinking of further study…
Further study can mean postgraduate degrees, vocational and practical skills training. There are many short courses that you can take, often part-time or by distance learning, to build up skills such as:
- IT and office skills, particularly databases and spreadsheets, are important in almost any career area. The European Computer Driving Licence is a good way to develop skills in the core MS Office packages.
- Driving is another useful skill, opening up jobs that require travel or are located in hard-to-reach areas so, if you don’t yet have a full licence, it is worth trying to achieve this as soon as possible. Many driving schools offer student discounts, so sign up before your student card expires!
- Languages are always useful and brushing up on your rusty GCSE French, through an organised course or through self-study, could be valuable.
- Numeracy is important for many careers but is a skill that many graduates feel that they lack. If you have a low GCSE grade in Maths, or just want to improve your numeracy skills, retaking your GCSE, or taking a course such as the Open University’s “Starting with Maths” would be worthwhile.
- Business and finance courses can help you to build up the skills and knowledge needed for a specific career area, or just to develop commercial awareness that graduate employers look for. These courses could include, for example, the Foundation Award in Public Relations, the Certificate in Finance, Accounting & Business or Open University modules in business and management.
If you are considering further academic study, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons – not just to put off the day when you will need to find a job! Think about how a postgraduate degree will fit in to your career plans – is it really important to employers in the areas that interest you? Will you need practical experience even with a postgrad degree?