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What to do once you graduate

Finishing a course means different things for different people. Some graduates may be ready to enter the workforce the minute they graduate, while others might find the decision a little more difficult. If you’re not quite sure where you’re heading once you finish studying, read on as we explain your options.

Enter the workforce: After a few years of study it is likely that you will be qualified for employment, and looking for a job is the natural next step for many.

  • To help your search, make sure you apply for multiple jobs using channels such as general employment websites (SEEK and CareerOne , for example) and industry resources (such as Sportspeople for those entering the sport and recreation field). Keep persevering even if you aren’t able to find work immediately.
  • It might be helpful to put together a shortlist of your needs, such as proximity to your home, roles you think you might enjoy or whether you’re looking for part-time or full-time employment.
  • Have a chat to career counsellors at your institution to discuss graduate opportunities and how to improve your chances. They can help you with your job search, building a résumé and preparing for interviews.
  • Approach your teachers and lecturers; most of them will be well-connected with the industry you are entering and may be able to recommend positions or put you in touch with employers.

But if jumping into full-time work isn’t for you, rest assured that there are other options.

Take some time out to relax: After years of study you may want to relax or have some time to yourself before you start looking for work. This might mean taking a few months to travel or even just to enjoy a few sleep ins. Try to think creatively, too. You could consider teaching English overseas or perhaps volunteering for a not-for-profit (whether locally or as part of your travels).

Gain some work experience: Many students choose to gain some industry experience through an internship or casual role before entering permanent employment. An internship can give you insight into the types of roles you might like (and those you might not) and set you apart from the competition if you’re entering a tough field. You’ll also find that roles like this will allow you to network and gain valuable industry contacts, which may open doors to employment. You might even think about combining work experience with travels (completing an internship overseas is a great addition to any résumé).

Postgraduate study: Some fields, such as architecture, psychology and health science, may require the completion of a postgraduate qualification before you can practise. In other fields, postgraduate study is optional, but can be a very rewarding experience if you think you’re up for it. You might use postgraduate study to switch fields completely (entering a postgraduate business degree after undergraduate study in communications, for example), qualify for another role (such as a teacher through a postgraduate degree in education) or to move into a specialisation from a generalist degree (specialising in journalism after completing an arts degree, for example).

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