6 min read

We understand that the final year of your study, whether you're an undergraduate or a postgraduate student, can be overwhelming. You’re balancing your university workload with starting to think about your prospects after graduation.

It can be difficult to squeeze in your career planning early on and even more difficult to keep up the momentum for your job search throughout your final year.

Ideas to get you started and help you stay on track

Visit the Prospects website to generate some initial ideas

Prospects is a great source of information for students and graduates. It offers a dedicated Job Match quiz where you can answer questions about what you find interesting, rewarding and purposeful.

The site then matches you to their job groups which contain more than 400 job profiles online. Within just 10 minutes you will have the opportunity to identify some potential career prospects! 

Research employers

Once you’ve taken the job match quiz and identified some potential job areas, start to research employers

Researching a potential employer is essential for 2 main reasons. Firstly, to make sure you’re interested in working with them. And secondly, if you want your application to be successful.

The knowledge and understanding you gain through your research will help you target your applications, perform confidently at interview and show that you have a genuine interest in working for the organisation. This research can be carried out gradually, as you find graduate opportunities you’re interested in, so try to factor in some time to do this around your studies each week.

More information about how to research employers effectively and targeting employers within your applications can be found in our guide to researching employers

Gather evidence

Whether the graduate job, graduate scheme or postgraduate course you're applying to requires a CV and cover letter, an application form and/or a personal statement, you'll need to make sure that you're gathering some good examples to evidence your skills and attributes from your experience.

Remember, you don't need to rely on just your degree. Examples to include as part of your graduate applications can be drawn from across your work and activities, including if you've had a part-time job whilst studying, been involved in volunteering, societies or sports clubs or pursued another hobby or interest in your own time.

Take some time to complete our Key Skills Audit to help you reveal your current skills, areas for development and strengths.

Polish your Excel skills!

Setting up a spreadsheet can help you keep track of your applications, keep an eye on the deadlines and help you set yourself realistic targets and timescales for completing applications.

This can also help if you want to chase any of your applications or ask for feedback from employers.

Remember, you are not alone throughout your graduate job search. Ask for feedback on your applications from friends, from family, from your lecturers and make sure you access the Careers and Employability Service.

Our advisers can offer feedback on applications, whether it’s for graduate roles, graduate schemes or postgraduate study.

We can also offer the opportunity to undertake a mock interview where you will receive feedback from one of our careers advisers.

Make the most of your final year

Whether you're a final year undergraduate or a Master's student, making the most of the time you have left during your final year of study here at Portsmouth is essential!

If, as you start your graduate applications, you realise there are gaps in your skills and experience – don’t panic! There are still plenty of opportunities to engage in events, workshops and activities to help you to increase your employability.

Throughout the year your Faculty and the Careers and Employability Service will host a range of opportunities for you to engage with employers, guest speakers from industry, and to secure volunteering opportunities to enhance your experience. Find out more through our events calendar on your MyCareer profile. Login using your university details.

This year we've also launched The Final Countdown, offering dedicated support to our final year students. Our advisers can work with you to help you plan your Final Countdown so that you identify your career options, start planning your job search strategy and develop winning applications. We can help you navigate your way through the selection process by preparing for assessment centres and interviews and make the most of the opportunities available to you.

Overall, we want to work with you to help you stay focused and on track and to ensure that you reach your goal!


One of the many things you may not be fully prepared for when it comes to your graduate job search is how long it might take and, sometimes, how demoralising it can be. Rejection can be tough and it might feel hard not to take it personally.

But just remember, rejection is less likely to be about you, and more likely to be about the organisation or the other candidates.

Trying to stay positive and focused will be important, as will managing your expectations. Don’t give up, make sure you build your support system, including accessing the Careers and Employability Service, and most importantly, be kind to yourself.

The positive thing is, once you’ve secured a job, you’ll be surprised how quickly the whole process becomes a distant memory!