I graduated University in the summer and it has been a steep learning kerb that I wasn’t expecting (at all). I wanted to share my experiences with you guys because it is a pretty strange time of life and I wish someone had told me what to expect.
Firstly, it is definitely not a relief to graduate.
I thought I was going to have a huge wave of relief once it was all done, that all the work was over, all the exams were passed and I was finally done with education. It didn’t happen. Graduating isn’t the end of anything, it’s literally just the beginning which in a sense is really nice but is also totally, completely and absolutely terrifying.
Be prepared to be adrift.
I don’t mean adrift in a harbour, I mean you’re the captain of the tiniest boat in the middle of the ocean, in a storm, and you don’t actually know how to skipper. It is so overwhelming. However, gradually you’ll come to realise that you aren’t the only boat in the ocean. You’re actually one tiny boat surrounded by millions of other tiny boats bobbing around with not a clue what they’re doing either. Don’t believe what you hear, or see on social media, every other person is equally lost and that is totally ok. It’s normal.
Volunteering and internships matter, they matter a lot.
I wish I had done more marketing interning while I was at Uni, unpaid internships are all that’s available when you start out and all the starter jobs I can find want 2 years experience before you can even start! It’s a total nightmare and I wish, wish, wish I had done it at Uni while I had my student loan.
Your CV and LinkedIn should be your top priority since you graduated, looking for a job is your new full-time job.
I would seriously recommend buying a template off Etsy. I realise that you’re a broke student (so was I) but you need to come across very professional even if you are out of your depth and you need to stand out of the crowd. I found this great template set that I love (linked here). It is really easy to read and looks great but since I want to go into a creative field I wanted it to at least have a splash of colour to showcase some personality. Originally I wanted to use this one or this one but the one I chose was the cheapest and it hasn’t let me down. I did remove the photo element though- I’m not a fan of photos on resumés. Your LinkedIn is actually really easy to make interesting. Once you’ve filled in all the basics I try to add in loads of photos and links to make it more interesting. Additionally, I hate taking photos, I always goof off and laugh or something because I find it embarrassing but I wish I had taken a nice photo at my graduation to put on my LinkedIn! I’m actually going to be posting ‘How to make the most of your LinkedIn’ so stay tuned! I wish I had done this at the start of my 3rd year and applied to loads of grad roles with my swanky resumé but at the time I didn’t even realise people sold them!
Lastly, although I’ve probably put the fear of God into you about internships I definitely recommend taking some time off after graduation.
You’ve worked your ass off for 3 years and you’re about to enter the world of work, if you don’t have a break now, it isn’t going to materialise unless you are really really lucky. I decided to move to Australia for 3 months to do a Dive Master course (more on that later) and would recommend working or volunteering while you’re away so you can at least put it on your CV, being well travelled is definitely a good thing that you want people to see!