What’s next? How to navigate in the world after University
The world after University – how to find your way in the job market
You are reaching the end of your studies. Years of learning and passing exams come to their end. But do you really know what to do next? This article will try to help you determining your opportunities. But it also applies to those people who have already started a career and want to change path.
Studies are often divided into categories (eg. law, political sciences, engineering, medicine), sometimes subdivided in specialties. You may have the feeling that your studies prepare you to work in different positions in different sectors. So, the first thing to do not to get lost would be to take a sheet of paper, write them all and prioritise them following your preferences. You must also determine what are the requirements to enter those positions or sectors.
For example, as a law student, you could work in a law firm, as an official in the public sector or an international organisation, as an in-house legal counsel or as a consultant. Working in a law firm, depending on the countries, requires you either to do a traineeship or to pass a competition (or both). Officials in the public sector or international organisations may land their jobs through a short-term contract or an interim position, but often registering to a competition is required. In those cases, the specific steps to land those jobs have to be assessed and prepared, so you should prepare a to-do list with steps to get there.
Once you have found the positions and/or sectors where you could work, it is better to identify what skills and specific knowledge will be required. For example, some legal positions require a specialty in a specific field. Some communication jobs require candidates to have knowledge of specific tools, etc. So, make a list of your skills and expertise. Each of them may be useful at this stage or later, for another position.
It could be interesting to identify missing skills or expertise and ways to acquire them. Some unemployment offices provide training. Some city halls also organise specific evening classes (language, ICT) at potentially lower prices than a private course. Check out what is available. You can also ask a mentor, a friend or people you know who have those skills or expertise to teach you or advise you how to gain them.
Some job offers are advertised for entry-level people. In this case, you do not need to have prior experience. But interest in the field, previous traineeship and/or volunteering experiences can help. Additionally, if you had previous jobs (students or non-student jobs), you may have already learnt some skills or used some tools that you could push forward on your CV (management tools or team work, for example). This also applies to any volunteering experience. Depending on the previous job or the volunteering work, you may rather place this information in the hobby or interest part of your CV, but you should definitely underline it.
Landing a job requires time and commitment. It is a long and not easy process. Get prepared. You may apply to different positions and/or sectors, so prepare each of them differently. Gather information about the persons you may work with and the company, identify their interests and positions, and how with your studies, interests, skills and potential previous experience(s) you are an interesting candidate for the company.
Finally, before ending this article, some universities and employment centers organise sessions to support you in your assessment of jobs/sectors. Try to see if this exists in your city or university and if you can get some training there if needed.
Good luck! It may take time but you will get there!
by Marie Barani