They say that finding a position after university is the hardest job a graduate can do and if this is you right now remember that you are not alone! You’ve sent off hundreds of applications to no avail, and have not received any replies. And to make it worse you've your parents nagging you to get a job, any job. What on earth do you do now?
Why are you getting so emotional?
It’s very reasonable to feel under the weather after the emotional rollercoaster that was university, exams and finally graduation. You've probably moved back with your parents, they’re asking whether you’ll be in for dinner tonight and like the house to be tidied in a certain way. You’re used to doing your own laundry, cooking, and having your own space, and it’s just not the same as living with friends.
You also have that lack of identity you had at university, whether it’s from the people you met in first year, or the subject or extra-curricular activities you did, you were known in your friendship group and now you've lost that. And, what's more, they are not just in the next room, but you've got to call them (and they are probably busy!), so you're feeling isolated and lonely.
University was dictated by lectures, tutorials, deadlines and finals, and without a structure where do you start, what do you do with your days? How do you fill all those hours? And what's more, you don't even have that student loan/part-time job to keep you happily going out with friends and enjoying yourself.
What can you do about it?
Set some goals
Give yourself an action plan of things you’d like to achieve over the next six months, whether it’s speaking to people to understand about different careers, going through your CV to make it more focused or learning a new skill. Ideally, it would be a job, and even career you'd gain, but failing that, you need to have something to show for your six months out of work.
Revamp your CV
Have you a scattergun approach to applying for jobs, or are you too narrowly focused? There’s a fine line between having a general CV and applying for too many jobs and only applying for jobs that suit you 100%, but if you are not getting anywhere now's the time to change your approach. An evaluation of your CV and a trawl through job adverts might also shine a light on a particular skill you are missing for the career, you'd like and you can then think about how to go about gaining this experience.
Do something for others
Volunteering looks great on your CV while you can also gain some valuable skills you are lacking, whether it’s managing people or working with people you might not necessarily meet in everyday life. It’s also a way of exploring the world around you and finding out areas of work you might find interesting.
Whether you take an online course or visit your local college, do something to help you gain those valuable skills and experience you are missing. You might also find some friends along the way and meet local people in the same boat as you.
Speak to friends and family to find out what different opportunities are available to graduates and what industries exist. See whether you can explore these for yourself, whether it’s work shadowing, visiting an office or undertaking a bout of work experience. You might find careers you never knew existed which spark a new-found love.
Do what you love
Whether you were part of the football team at uni or enjoyed going to a cheeky cinema trip carry on doing the things you love. They’ll keep you sane.
Remember to wake up in the morning, go outside, exercise, relax, eat, talk to people and everything else a human needs to function.
Practice your interview skills
If you’ve managed to get through to interview stage and failed on the final hurdle, congratulations! You’ve lots of interview practice under your belt and it’s only a matter of time before you get that first rung on the ladder. The more interviews you go to, the better you’ll be in the long run, as you’ll be less nervous and therefore more likely to show yourself off in a good light, however also remember to practice. In front of the mirror, and with friends and family.
Rejection is the norm
Remember that it’s not just you in this boat, so don’t be too disheartened if not everything is going to plan. Just think, in a year from now and you might be leading a completely different lifestyle!