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5 Ideas For What To Do After University

If you're unsure what to do after university, you're not alone.

The end of university is a rewarding time when you can enjoy the culmination of three years’ of hard work, but it's common to also feel a bit overwhelmed, especially if you’re not sure what to do next. 

From taking a well-deserved break to pursuing a postgraduate degree, our list of the top five ideas for what to do after university will help you make the most of your time following graduation. 

1. Take a break

What to do after you finish universityOnce you have successfully completed your undergraduate degree, you may not have a clear idea of what you want to do next. Taking some time out can provide much-needed breathing space to explore your options or interests. 

After the pressure of university life, you may be ready for a break before going into full-time employment or postgraduate study. Taking a break or a gap year is an opportunity to recharge and gain some valuable life experience. 

Our article on taking a gap year has some great ideas on what you can do if you decide to take some time out after your first degree.

You could also use this time to gain some work experience or to volunteer for a charity or good cause. Either of these pursuits will benefit your CV and employability, and will also enrich your life. 


2. Look for a graduate job 

Most graduates go on to find work after their degree. You may want to pursue a career in an industry that is related to your degree, or you may opt to change direction and pursue a different route. 

Many employers run graduate job schemes to develop future leaders, particularly the larger companies and corporations. If you are looking for a graduate job, it’s a good idea to research companies you would like to work for and see if they have a suitable program. It’s a good idea to look for companies that offer career progression after your placement role 

Choosing a graduate job will take time and effort and there is a lot of competition for good jobs. To improve your chances of success, make sure you do the following:

Update your LinkedIn profile – LinkedIn is one of the first places prospective employers look when thinking about recruiting. Make sure your profile is up to date and showcases you at your best.

Ensure your CV is up to date – it’s also essential to have an up-to-date CV and post it to job sites. You could also send it to companies that you’re interested in working for in case they have any new job opportunities coming up.

Register with recruitment agencies – when you are looking for a job it’s essential that you get as much exposure as possible to increase your chances of employment. By registering with a recruitment agency, especially one that specialises in graduate jobs, you are more likely to find that perfect job. 

Gain some work experience ­– work experience, whether it’s paid or voluntary is a great addition to your CV as well as being an ideal opportunity to network with people in your area of interest, Plus, you could end up being in the right place at the right time if a vacancy should become available.

Fully prepare for any job interviews – once you get offered a job interview it’s important to prepare for it properly. You can do this by researching the company and thinking of good questions to ask the interviewer.

3. Spend time volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience and improve your career prospects when you’re on the hunt for the perfect graduate job, as it shows employers you are self-motivated and are willing to work hard.

Another benefit of volunteering after university is that you could learn new skills or improve on skills you already have, this will further your chances of getting the perfect job in the future.

Your time spent volunteering will also enable you to meet new people and grow your social network. Networking can be key to helping you find the right job after university

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as a volunteer you will be contributing to a good cause, this is always a worthwhile endeavour. 

4. Work for yourself 

If you have a good business idea, you could consider launching a business and becoming self-employed after university.

Many universities offer start-up support schemes for alumni, particularly those institutions with a well-established business school. So, your first step to getting your idea up and running should be to contact your former university and see if they are in a position to help. Support could come in the form of financial loans and sponsorship or via a mentoring scheme with experienced people in a relevant field.

Before embarking on your business, it’s important to do your research and make sure there is a market for your idea. You will then need to have a solid business plan and have worked out how you will fund and market your new venture.

Be prepared for hard work and long hours to get your business off the ground. Bear in mind that the majority of new businesses take up to three years before they start making a profit.

Being your own boss can offer flexibility, freedom and autonomy. It also comes with great responsibility, especially when employing staff or providing a service to your customers. However, if it works out, being self-employed can be an extremely fulfilling choice.

5. Continue your studies

Getting a postgraduate degree can enhance your academic knowledge and career prospects.

Before choosing the postgraduate route, make sure you have done your research on course fees, funding and the amount of time you will need to commit to studying.

The benefits of postgraduate study are numerous and include:

Move into academia or research – studying a masters degree can be a stepping stone to studying a doctorate. And by earning a PhD, a career in academia will be well within your grasp.

Specialise in your chosen field – as an undergraduate student you hopefully studied a subject that interested you. Postgraduate study will give you the opportunity to explore an area of that degree topic in greater detail.

Enhanced your career prospects – postgraduate courses can be a great way to enhance your career prospects, thereby increasing your chances of promotion, as well as your earning potential. Some postgraduate courses can lead to professional qualifications, while others will give you a new skillset and knowledge to help further your career.

Become an expert in your chosen field – by specialising in your specific subject, postgraduate study can give you the chance to become an expert in your field.

Change your study path to a different subject – you do not necessarily have to study the same subject at masters level as you did in your undergraduate degree. Postgraduate study can be the perfect opportunity to study a whole new subject in greater detail.

Some subjects are available for study abroad – there are plenty of reasons to study abroad and studying a postgraduate program is a great way to live in and experience a new country. This in turn will help improve your chances of employability once you finish your postgraduate studies.

Develop your research skills – if you opt to study an MRes (Master of Research) or a PhD you will learn exceptional research skills that you should be able to put into practice in your future career.

Broaden your horizons – postgraduate study is the ideal way to gain new experiences, friends and knowledge. Seize this opportunity now!

Explore postgraduate courses

If you decide that postgraduate study is right for you after finishing university, you will find a range of masters courses at Postgrad. You’ll find courses across a huge range of subjects and universities. Start your search now.


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