Help me I’m a graduate
Jane McGuire

Help me I’m a graduate

Courses for graduates

First published date July 24 2014 Amended date August 05 2014

You have worn the gown, thrown the cap and received your certificate; the ceremony is over and you are now a fully fledged graduate. Yet once the celebrations are finished, it’s easy to start feeling the post-uni depression as you realise that your student days are done and the real world is looming. Here at Hotcourses we have been there and done that and have come up with a few options to make these first graduate steps seem a little less scary.

First things first, it’s important not to rush. There’s no denying third year was tough and a little time off is needed before jumping into a full time job. With your entire working life ahead of you, now is the time to take a breather and work out what to do next. Saying this, don’t stall for too long. Even taking a part time bar job whilst searching looks better than an extended gap on your CV, playing Xbox and mourning your student days.


I want to carry on studying

For some, the student dream is not yet over; with a large number of postgraduate courses on offer, including Masters, MBAs and PHDs. Having a postgraduate qualification on your CV is thought to boost job prospects and develop a network of contacts for when you enter the world of work.


My CV isn’t varied enough

If your CV is looking a bit thin, there are some great options out there for full or part time training courses to make you stand out from the crowd. When selecting candidates to bring to interview, prospective employers will look at the ‘interests’ section on your CV so if you lack hobbies to make you memorable, it’s time to change this. We’re not suggesting writing everything you’ve ever done, but make yourself more human by adding a few interests.

Doing an extra course in something you are interested is a great way to add some firsthand experience in your chosen field to your application. For example, if you were going for a fashion buyer’s position, a dressmaking course could be an interesting addition to your CV.


I think I need another qualification

Similar to the fun courses, sometimes that extra qualification is needed to help you get into your chosen career. In some sectors, a degree is not enough. An English degree may give you the skills, but that extra award in journalism will get you noticed. Moreover, if you plan on going into teaching, a TEFL course before some time abroad is a desirable and interesting experience to bring to an interview. With plenty of training and career courses out there, these are a great way to try different things before getting to the interview room.


In interviews I’m told I need more experience

A catch 22 many graduates experience on their job hunt; you need more experience, but no one seems to be willing to give you the break so you can get that. Although working for free can be hard, an internship or work placement is a good way to prove yourself whilst building up a relationship with a company and can sometimes end in a full time position. It’s important not to be despondent when interning, be confident (but not cocky), make as many contacts as you can and stay in touch when you leave. Work hard and make yourself indispensible and hopefully by the time the three months is up you will be!


I never get past the assessment centre

They may feel like the Hunger Games, fighting against fellow graduates to prove you are the smartest, most dedicated and strongest member of the pack; but more and more employers are turning to assessment centres to find the best candidates. There are some important factors to remember when attending these sessions, from the introduction ‘chat’ to the group task, you are being observed. It’s a fine line between demonstrating leadership, getting your ideas across and shouting others down, so tread carefully – make sure you show you can listen and respond to others. Being polite and professional whilst not seeming like a robot is hard, but remember that employers want to see your personality and that this is one long, intensive interview.


I just don’t feel ready to find a job yet

If you just don’t feel ready to enter the nine till five rat race, taking a gap year to go travelling or do some voluntary work is by no means a bad thing. Employers love hearing about adventures so this is not something to forget when you return and begin your job search. Learning a language before or during your travels and keeping a blog  are good ways to make your gap year even more beneficial.


Don’t get despondent, job hunting can be soul destroying but see each interview as experience and always ask for feedback when you receive a rejection. This is your chance to try something new, so beat those graduate blues and take the plunge! 

Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.