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Graduate Careers: What I wish I’d known before I had to start one

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English: Rosemead_Graduates.JPG

English: Rosemead_Graduates.JPG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My story is one that I imagine will be familiar to lots of other twenty-something graduates out there.

Having done well at school, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to be in life, I went to uni to study an arts subject. Three years later, armed with my 2:1 and perfect CV of good grades and extracurriculars, I have found the job search a real struggle.

When I was at school I was told that it really didn’t matter what you studied as long as you did well and came out with a decent mark at the end, because at the end of the day, university was only about “discipline” and “showing you could achieve things”.

Unfortunately for this generation, a lot has changed since that advice was given. Following the recession, fewer jobs have been available for graduates, meaning that the numbers of young people doing masters degrees has risen. This, along with the emergence of the dreaded internship, has caused the meaning of the word ‘graduate’ to change beyond all recognition. Graduates who get jobs are those with MAs or several unpaid internships under their belts, meaning that in a still tight job market, those with only a BA and a handful of extracurriculars don’t get a look in.

So what’s the solution? Well, I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you things I wish I’d realised a long time ago:

First of all, be prepared. If you know what you want to do in life, arm yourself with as many tools as possible to enable you to get there. If you want to be a journalist, build up your portfolio as much as you can and do as much work experience as possible. Doing work experience whilst studying means you won’t have to do unpaid internships after you graduate – just be sure to make contacts and keep in touch.

If you don’t know what you want to do in life, do work experience anyway. Try and work it out along the way by finding placements you like and checking off the ones you don’t. And once you’ve found the path you want, pursue it. I always thought that with academics on my side, the world would be my oyster and I’d just easily fall into something great. I now know it doesn’t work like that – you’ve got to do as much legwork to find your career as you do for your academics, because it won’t find you.

And lastly, think carefully about each decision you make. In no way do I regret doing an arts degree, but I wish I’d thought more carefully about how it would pan out afterwards and what it would actually qualify me to do. For example, if you want to be a lawyer, by all means study French, but that alone won’t get you a training contract afterwards. You can still have both, just make sure to get involved in law society and do as much legal work experience as possible to give you the edge and get your name out there.

Finding the right job is never easy, and that’s all the more true for today’s graduates. But all is not lost and you can still have the career of your dreams, just do everything you can to get yourself onto that ladder and you’ll soon be ahead of the game.

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Written by getrealvideo

March 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

One Response

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  1. Hi there, its nice article on the topic of media print, we all be aware of media is a wonderful source of data.

    Dubai Property Lawyers

    March 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm


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