Preparing for Life After University

the office edit-coffee break

Before I disappoint you, this is not a one size fits all, guaranteed to succeed life guidance post. Instead in this post I’ll be taking you through what myself and my friends did in our final year of studies (and years leading up to it). Not everything works for everyone and this is simply what I did.

Marks Matter


I don’t know how many times during my university years I heard my peers saying things about how marks don’t really matter as long as you get your degree at the end. WRONG! 

When you leave university chances are you have no relevant work experience and all you have are you marks to speak for you. I was surprised to find out that a lot of people didn’t even know that you apply for jobs with your transcript starting from first year. So you really can’t slack. Not everyone is going to get straight A’s but consistency also plays a role in your marks.

Visit your guidance or graduate office


A lot of universities have a graduate office, student guidance office or something similar. I didn’t even know that my university had one until I just started applying for work. I definitely think it wasn’t advertised enough. Anyway, I went there and the guidance counselor prepped me for all of my interviews, proof read my CV and helped me with anything I had questions about including what to wear. Find yours and use it. If your university doesn’t have one you’ll need an alternative. You can go to some companies and ask to schedule some time with people from HR to help you. People are a lot more helpful than you think. You just need to ask. The worst that can happen is they say no and you haven’t lost anything.

 Start Early


I started applying for jobs in March of my final year. Give yourself the best chance possible by applying as soon as applications open and apply for ALLL of them. I think I sent out my CV to 10 companies, just to be safe. If I didn’t get the job I wanted I would’ve continued sending out my CV.

Don’t Be Picky


Like I said above, apply for everything. Even though I had my eyes set out for a specific job I still applied for jobs I didn’t really want anyway. Something is better than nothing. Once you are in a company you can always work your way up into the position you want.

Use recruiting companies


Send your CV to recruiting companies. Their job is to find you a job. They usually have some sort of agreement with companies where they receive for example payment for finding the right candidates for the job and can make your job search a lot easier. You can have a look at some of these companies here

Have an alternative plan


No one is guaranteed a job straight out of university so an alternative could be that you study further. Apply to do your honors or masters just in case and apply for bursaries early on. I know studying is not for everyone but for some fields you need to study further in order to get a better job. Besides, when have you ever heard anyone say that studying further harmed them?? If you find that you haven’t managed to find a job when your final year comes to an end at least you would have something else to do while you continue the hunt.

If you can afford it, an alternative is to also take a gap year after university, but gap years need to be planned so that you don’t find yourself sitting around wasting an entire year. You can travel, study something different, connect with non-profit organizations etc.

 

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