5 min read

The thought of life beyond graduation can be nerve-wracking for anyone; whether you have already secured your dream job, have decided to take a year out or you haven’t worked out what’s next. Making firm decisions about your future is likely to feel daunting and you may not even be sure where to begin.

How can you make sure you keep things in perspective and remain positive during the summer once you graduate?

Your next steps

First and foremost, be kind to yourself

Getting to the end of your three or four year programme here at Portsmouth might mean moving back home with your family, leaving behind good friends or moving to a new part of the country. Remember, choosing the right career can be a challenging and potentially frustrating process. But, no one is expecting you to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Whilst for some individuals it can be instinctive, for others it can take time, research and reflection. Some people may find their ideal career straight out of university, but for others it can take many years and job changes before they determine what is right for them. Everyone will take their own career journey.

Recognise and celebrate your achievement!

The thought of ‘what’s next?’ can often overshadow the opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon your achievements. Throughout your time as a student you may have overcome obstacles and challenges – all of these will serve to highlight your determination and resilience, qualities highly sought after by prospective employers. Whatever the final grade, you should be proud of yourself!

Take the opportunity to continue upskilling yourself

One of the things future employers will be keen to see is that you have consistently engaged in opportunities to upskill yourself. This may be throughout your final year of study, but is important if you have a gap between graduating and starting employment or if your job search is ongoing. There will be a range of opportunities available to you. These may include:

Remember, your first job doesn’t have to be a forever job

It is perfectly normal for students and graduates to be concerned that they will become stuck in a job role that isn’t for them. But, remember, you can always change direction. Even if you first job role isn’t quite what you had anticipated or hoped for, you still have the opportunity to look for another job.

The range of experience and skills gained – even in a role that ultimately wasn’t for you – will still be an advantage to a future employer. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on and understand why the role and/or sector wasn’t right for you and help to inform your future career planning.

Take things step by step

If making a career decision feels intimidating, remove the pressure of trying to develop a specific career aim. Instead, take things step by step.

What does your first step look like? Is it realistic and achievable? When are you going to aim to complete it by? You want to make sure you feel like you are making progress and taking action.

Still not sure where to begin? Join us for Graduate Zone!

No matter what stage you're at, you can access our support throughout the summer and for the next five years. All of our one-to-one support is also available via phone and video appointments, so we can help you no matter where you are in the country or the world!

Throughout the summer we offer a range of specialised support for new graduates, including a range of 30 Minute Guide to… workshops and exclusive Graduate Zone appointments.

This will include advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Your job search strategy
  • CVs and covering letters
  • Application forms
  • Interview preparation

The Careers and Employability Service also has an online jobs board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised job matching service.

Meeting with an adviser to talk about your career planning, decision-making and applications will help you feel reassured and more confident moving forward.