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Finished your degree? Here’s how to get a career

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You’ve finished your degree. Congratulations. Seriously, well done. Now that you’ve put all that time and effort into getting it, now you need to figure out how to put it to good use, and find a good career. After all, that’s what these past few years have been about, no matter what your friends might have said to get you to go out drinking on a Tuesday night.

But there’s that question that’s been in the back of your mind ever since you started your final year and should be rearing its ugly head right about now: “What do I do now that I’m finished?” Well, there are some things that’ll help.

Figure out what kind of career suits you

For some degrees, this answer can be fairly straightforward, but for others, it’s not quite as simple. For example, degrees such as English may not point to the most obvious of career choices, so there’s going to be a need for you to sit down and think about exactly where you can go with your degree.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to start figuring out what your strengths and weaknesses are, as well as what skills you have gained throughout your degree. This should be helpful in highlighting certain career paths you may not have noticed before, and might get you to reconsider certain paths that you may have overlooked before.

If you’ve done internships or any kind of work experience, this should help in deciding where you want to go with your career.

Consider doing some more studying

If you’ve just finished a Bachelor’s degree, you could consider moving on to do a Masters degree, or even a PhD. Some career paths may force you down this road regardless of whether or not you originally wanted to pursue further study, as some companies have Masters degrees as part of their minimum requirements.

Even if it’s something that’s not compulsory for your career path, you can use a Masters degree to further specialise in a certain field in order to make yourself look more attractive to prospective employers.

Talk to the career counsellor

Your college or university’s career counsellor should be able to help with both of the steps mentioned above. Other than this though, they’ll also be able to help with figuring out what the next steps might be when your particular degree, and point you to some places which might be helpful and could end up securing you a job or internship.

Many career counsellors tend to send emails to final-year students in regards to job opportunities, so it’s always helpful to follow these up. At the very least, they should be able to ease some of the worries that some graduates go through once the pressure of being out of education starts to set in.

Make the perfect CV

Now that you’ve figured out what kind of career path you wish to pursue, you’ll need to customize your CV for that particular industry, i.e. a CV that might be perfect for the pharmaceutical industry may not be suitable for the agricultural industry.

With this in mind, you need to tailor your CV for that industry, and you can even go so far as to tailor your CV – as well as your cover letter – for each individual company. This may seem like a lot of work, but it can pay dividends in the long run.

Applying for jobs

Once you’ve figured out which career path you want to travel down, and you’ve perfected your CV and cover letter, it’s time to start sending out your applications. Like I mentioned above, try to tailor you applications to each individual company.

If the job market seems more barren than you originally thought, then you can always apply for a visa and work abroad for a number of years. Maybe it’ll be just for a year or two, or maybe even for the rest of your career, but if it’s something that you might be interested in, then start filling out those forms. At the very least, it’ll be an adventure and you’ll be able to gain experiences that may end up helping with your career path should you decide to return.

Have you got any more tips for recent graduates? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: ceasedesist / Flickr

Luke LubyFinished your degree? Here’s how to get a career

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