New Grads: Securing a Career After University

Congratulations! You’ve made it through your course studies: the highs, the lows, the laughs, and the challenges. Now, the tedious part begins; how do you get the career you want now you’ve graduated?  Armed with your degree, your dreams, and your resume/CV, do you think you’re ready to head out into the job market? As you emerge among thousands of other graduates and candidates, how can you stand out from the crowd and get the career you want?

New Grads - Caps and Gowns B&W

First of all, your focus defines your reality.  If you think “I want to go into finance or business”, you won’t get a career, you’ll get a job.  Be focused about what you really want.  Choose your pathway carefully, look into the different options available in your chosen field, and decide where you want to be in 5, 10, or even 15 years’ time. Then, determine which career path can offer you just that.

Once you know where you want to go, you need to decide how to get there.  Career planning like any great adventure requires the right equipment.  You may have a first-class degree in Business Studies, but if you’ve never worked or have only done a few placements, you may not have enough suitable experience to get a foot on the career ladder.  So, focus on increasing your level of experience; seek an internship, and learn from the bottom up.  Apply for a fast track graduate program in your chosen field and learn the ropes from the people actually working the industry. Then you can build upon your academic achievements with real, practical experience as well as the increasingly important soft skills or emotional intelligence quotient that is necessary for leadership and career progression.  Register with multiple employment agencies and job-sites, so they know you are available. Stand out from the crowd with a professional resume that isn’t simply a task list of abilities. Today’s employers want to know who you are as well as what you can do.

At the same time, you need to demonstrate your commitment to the career you are seeking.  Subscribe to sector journals and newsletters, get involved in online discussions in your field and get your name out there via social media.  Make contacts, and develop your own network of mentors and influencers who can help you develop your professional skills and abilities. Join business lunch networks, be visible and be heard to increase your chances of being “found” by your dream organization.  Research the organizations whose values and beliefs align with your own, look into their graduate and internship programs, and contact them whether they are recruiting or not.  Get your name out there with an eye-catching and professional resume which sells your value and your skills.  Be open to innovation in your presentation and remember always that your social media profile says a great deal about who you are and who you know, so keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, and engage with the online seminars they offer in your chosen field.  Be open to change, and adaptation.

Yes, of course your first job post-graduation may not be the dream job you had in mind when you set out on your academic path.  However, as the famed British business magnate, Alan Sugar, told a young, disillusioned graduate who said, “I couldn’t even get a job at McDonalds”; it doesn’t matter if you are just sweeping floors, you are still learning and dreaming and you should still give that job 100%.  By offering 100% of your effort to every job, you will learn and develop your character and work ethic which will be necessary as your career develops.  While you may have to temporarily accept a job that might not utilize all of your skills, you can still complete courses and seminars that bring you closer to reaching your true professional goals. This strategy will also give you the opportunity to grow your personal business network.  No time is wasted if you are constantly learning.

New Grads - Dream Job Sign

Finally, we know it can be frustrating when you have your heart set on a career path — you study for years, feel like you have lots to offer — and then suddenly you find yourself unable to enter your field of choice.  Don’t be disheartened; life is about reflection and adaptation.  Look into alternatives, see where your qualifications can take you, think about what you love, where you want to live (if relocation is an option), and where you want to eventually end up when following a new dream.  Remember, a career isn’t set in stone once you graduate. It’s a dynamic, evolving process of personal and professional development that happens over time. Look back at who you were when your started college/university, note the changes, and then consider who and where you want to be in the next few years. Then build the foundation today for a strong and focused career path.  The path may be winding, but we can guarantee it will never be dull if you are constantly learning and developing.

Guest Author Bio

Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specializing in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon offers Human Capital Strategy Serviceto both individuals and corporations. Our staff is dedicated to our clients’ success via innovative job search processes, employment management strategies, and state-of-the-art technologies. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200