This guest post was kindly submitted by Seb Atkinson of Selesti.
Leaving university can be a difficult time, especially if you’re not sure what you want to do next or what career you want to get into. However, not having a plan for what to do next can actually be an advantage – you have time to discover more about yourself and what you actually enjoy doing rather than committing to a career without knowing if it’s right for you.
Below, we’ll look at some reasons why you shouldn’t worry about jumping straight into a career, how to discover more about what motivates you, and why you shouldn’t worry about job-hopping to find the right career for you.
You’re free to take a break
If you went straight into university after your A-levels, you’ve probably been in education non-stop for most of your life. Leaving university may be the perfect time to take a break to go travelling and tick some things off your bucket list.
Provided you have the funds and are able to live at your parents or a family member’s home when you come back, now is a great time to see the world because right now you have no pressing responsibilities. Many graduates may prefer to get stuck into their careers, but the truth is the money you earn is highly likely to get you tied in to more responsibilities like paying off car finance or a mortgage, rather than buying freedom, so if you want to go travelling, now will likely be the easiest time to do so.
Travelling is a great way to learn who you really are, exposing you to new experiences, challenges and opportunities which can change the way you react and think about things, making you a more well-rounded person. Your experiences can also come in handy when going for a job interview later, as your ability to deal with set-backs and challenges can really determine how effective you’ll be in the professional world.
Discover more about what kind of work you enjoy
One of the reasons you may be unsure about what to do next is you’re worried about getting into a job you don’t enjoy. If you’ve looked into any graduate schemes, you’ll see they demand only the most dedicated and highly motivated applicants, who apparently already have relevant work experience. You might be thinking how can you even be considered for one of these roles if you’re not even sure it’s what you want to do?
One of the best things about just starting your career is you have an opportunity to try different jobs without much risk. For example, if you get into a career and realise early on that it’s not for you, you can move into something else, with less risks than if you were older with more bills to pay.
Don’t be afraid to job-hop a few times to find work in an industry you enjoy – moving between companies isn’t frowned upon like it used to be. In fact, a broad experience of working at different firms can actually be a benefit to you – if you got stuck in one job you didn’t enjoy, you’d never know if the grass is greener without switching, plus you’ll learn new ways of doing things which you can bring to other organisations.
Learn more about what you’re good at
Another advantage of not knowing what to do next is you can experiment with different jobs to discover what you’re good at, helping you find a role that you not only enjoy but thrive at, boosting your salary prospects.
This is how Verity Prentice began her career in PR, and now works as a PR Assistant at Hallmark Care Homes. Initially, she started out as a journalist after completing her journalism degree, but moved into a sales role after relocating to Essex. She found that she was successful in sales, but found journalism more interesting, which led her to discover PR and the role at Hallmark Care Homes, which she says “matched my skills and qualifications perfectly”.
While Verity found journalism more interesting, by making the switch to sales she was able to open the doors to a new role which she might not have been able to apply for previously.
Finishing university is the perfect time to discover more about yourself and expand your options for what line of work you want to get into. It’s important to remember that your first graduate level job is unlikely to be in the industry you’ll be working in later in life, and with job-hopping much more accepted than it was in the past, don’t be afraid to make the most of your opportunities to try out different career ideas, and move on if it’s not for you. You might just find a great career you hadn’t even considered before!
Read another one of Seb’s posts here!