It’s a structure of progression we are often told to follow: school, uni, job, retire. We are all fed the idea from childhood that one leads to the other, but for most of us, life is never that regimented.
You had dreams of gaining your degree, stepping straight into young professional life and launching your career, but somehow it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Here you are, degree-in-hand but no job in sight.
It is hard to stay positive when everyone else seems to have a plan but just remind yourself of these 5 things and hopefully, you will see a little sun through those grey rain-clouds.
1. You’ve got time to work it out
You have a degree – congrats! That’s brilliant, so stop beating yourself up over not having a perfect job already. No one is expecting you to have your whole life figured out yet – they’re all too worried about their own lives anyway, trust us.
If you don’t know what your ‘perfect’ job looks like yet, that’s okay too. Get a job in a local business making coffee or cleaning or at a checkout to make ends meet, and spend some time thinking about what is best for you.
Not all of us know what exactly we want to do – we’re all making it up as we go along too, even if it might not seem that way from the outside.
2. You have time to do what you want to do
Before you are sucked into a life of full-time work until you retire at (let’s face it, the way the world’s going) a very old age, you have the chance to use your youth to explore.
Travelling isn’t for everyone, but you don’t have to go to another continent with a heavy backpack full of clothes to explore.
Find out more about yourself by trying new things, whether that does involve hoisting a sagging backpack the size of you round the world or simply trying a new class you never had time for like cooking or yoga.
Despite what the world may have you believe, there is no formula to follow, you can do what is best for you at your own pace.
3. You made connections at university
Remember all those pals and professors you know? Don’t forget about them now you have finished university – they are bound to be helpful in your future professional life too.
Without even meaning to – or probably even realising it – you will have built up a pretty healthy network of people throughout your uni days.
4. Job applications are good for you
It is highly unlikely your first job out of university will be the only job you ever have. So, why is being turned down for jobs beneficial? It gives you a lot more practice.
You may have felt a tiny pang of jealousy when Steve from your course landed a job at the top company in your sector on $745,834,904,289 a minute, but he might struggle later on. More job applications (hopefully) means more interviews, more interviews mean more experience and more experience means more confidence and preparedness for next time.
They don’t say practice makes perfect for nothing.
Tailoring your CV and writing unique covering letters takes a lot of thought and effort. Don’t feel disheartened if you have applied for 100 jobs with no success – unfortunately, it happens. But learn from your mistakes and ask for feedback and try again (and again and again and again if that’s what it takes). The more you try, the better you’ll get.
The same goes for interviews. Most employers care more about you than they do about your qualifications. Granted, your qualifications and experience help you get the interview but once you’re sat in that interview chair, the way you come across is vital. The more practice you have, the calmer, and consequently better, you’ll be.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
Yeah, okay, Steve’s great and Amanda from your flat in first-year posts pictures of her flash looking desk in the city every day but whether or not you believe it, you’re pretty great too.
Just because you aren’t following the exact same path as Steve, Amanda, and well anyone else doesn’t mean your path is wrong. It might take you a few years to find the right job but that doesn’t make you any less worthy of it.
So don’t feel bad if all your peers are landing their dream jobs before you all even throw that mortarboard cap in the air.
Be patient, keep at it, and your time will come.
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