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How To Survive Your First Year As A Graduate

18/05 2017Posted by: npower Resourcing Team Subscribe to this blog

So, you’ve finally made it. After three years of alternating between hard work and sleeping in, you’ve donned your robes and received your degree. You’re now a fully-fledged adult, ready to begin life in the real world, with all the difficulties that entails.

Facing life in an increasingly competitive economic climate can be challenging at the best of times, which is why it’s so important to stand out from the crowd and, more importantly, have a handle on what to do next. What you need is a survival guide for your first year as an employable adult.

Take your time when applying for jobs

A lot of people will be finishing university without a clue of what they want to do; if you’re one of these people, don’t worry! Unless you’re one of those rare creatures who know exactly what they’ll be doing after university- and how to get there- it’s perfectly reasonable to take some time out and think about what you want to do with your life. Experiment; try different jobs and find out what you like doing best. Your degree may open the door to careers you’ve never even thought about doing before, so do your research and take your time when applying.

Find a hobby

Not only will this be a welcome- and, hopefully, fun- diversion from the trials of everyday life, it’ll also go a long way towards boosting your CV. Not only is it an excellent way of making friends and meeting people in places like London, which can often be overwhelming, but it’s also a great way of making you stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs. You’re an adult now, and independent: if you’ve always wanted to go skydiving, or take up professional ironing, then do it! 

Manage money

It’s time to get a handle on your money situation. No more student loans means no more money and a lot of debt to contend with. If you’re still using a student account, it’s time to upgrade to a proper one with an overdraft and less forgiving interest rates. If you’ve got a job, set up payments for your student loan- even though some people like to say it’s not ‘real’ debt, it’s still going out of your bank account every month so you may as well get a head start on paying it off!

It’s also a good idea to start budgeting: your first job will likely not be the best paid in the world so it’s a good idea to get a handle on what’s going in and out of your account, especially as it dictates whether you’ll be living on soup for the rest of the month.

Do your administration

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Quite apart from organising your student loan, there’s also everything to deal with that didn’t get done during your student days: changing your email address from something embarrassing into something more employer-friendly, filling out tax forms, paying bills on time and registering at your local GP. It’s all stuff that you might baulk at doing, but will be invaluable later!

Get some experience

Unfortunately, it’s a well-established fact that the job market is a competitive place to be, especially for graduates. There are hundreds of you pouring out of universities across the country every year, so what you really need to make your application pop is some extra experience. It doesn’t have to be paid: simply volunteering or doing work experience for companies that you’re interested in working with will give you an idea of what doing that job entails, and whether you’re right for it. It’ll also help you build contacts if you fancy going into that industry yourself.

Build your network

Building a network is a fantastic way not only to meet new people but to make connections, find opportunities and eventually land jobs. Start small, and ask people that you know for help- for instance, family and friends- and people that they know. Even if you’ve never met them, that shouldn’t matter! Just keep asking: when something comes up, it’ll be worth it.

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