One moment you think you have just succeeded in life by completing exam season and sticking to all your deadlines. The next, someone asks that one question that instantly brings you down to earth again: What are you going to do after your degree?
While trying to fit deadlines, exams and a healthy work-life balance into a 24-hour day, thinking about job applications seems to be at the bottom of the To-Do list. For many of my friends the post-study phase of their lives still remains a mystery. Some want to travel the world, some want to start working straight away, others want to do different internships to figure out what they want to do most. Others decide to continue studying. But at this point in time most of them only have a vague plan of what the future will hold, and guess what – that is completely normal.
Here are five tips that you can follow if you find yourself in the same situation.
- Calm down and figure out what you want to do
You are not alone and although many graduate schemes are already closed around that time of year, it definitely does not mean that you won’t find a job after you finish your degree. Think about what you are good at and what courses you enjoyed most. Then have a look at different companies in that area. Once you know what position you would be interested in, you can also start looking at job search websites to get a broader picture.
- Don’t focus on the big companies too much
Although it might seem appealing to work for a large, international company, most of them have a complicated and extensive application process and chances are high that you are already too late to apply. However, there are numerous smaller companies that might focus exactly on your area of interest and it is definitely worth taking a look at their job openings.
- Don’t be shy
If you have found a company you would really like to work for, don’t feel discouraged if they do not have any job openings at the moment. Send an email with your most recent CV and tell them why you would like to work for them. They might come back to you once they have a job opening if you are able to make a good first impression.
- Seek help
Ask friends to proof-read your CV and cover letter. If you are currently doing an internship, you could ask someone from HR to give you feedback on your CV or if they would be willing to run a test interview with you. There are several websites that help you prepare for interviews, assessment centres and that provide guides to write the perfect CV and cover letter.
- Be patient
Once you have applied for a job, don’t get impatient. Most companies get a large amount of applications and they often do not have the resources to go through all of them fast enough. Don’t give up if you haven’t received a response after 2 – 4 weeks of your application. However, it is advisable to write a follow-up email to ask about the current status of your application and to show that you are still interested.