How to make the most of your experience of Covid as a recent graduate
First, acknowledge how you are feelingThe 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 at the best of times, not least against a backdrop of Covid, which has made planning ahead challenging.
How can you make sure you keep things in perspective and remain positive during the summer once you have graduated?
Action-planning is going to be key and we’ve got just the tool to get you started. Access our dedicated Pathway, your next steps after graduation, a series of online activities, through your MyCareer account. The activities and resources included have been put together by our Advisers to support and assist you at any stage of your career planning.
Reflect on your achievementsThe thought of ‘what’s next?’ can often overshadow the opportunity for you to spend some time celebrating and reflecting on your achievements.
Throughout your time as a student you may have had struggles and have overcome obstacles and challenges presented by Covid19, so what skills and attributes have you developed that will set you apart from previous graduates?
Adaptability - You will have gone from a largely in-person learning environment to attending your lectures and seminars completely online. This highlights your adaptability when continuing with your studies.
Self-motivation - Distractions at home when trying to stay on track with your studies, without the work/life balance of in-person social activities may have been hard - but you did it. Consider examples of where you can demonstrate your ability to self-motivate yourself through your work.
Time management - Trying to break-up your day during lockdown may have been challenging. How did you approach and utilise your time effectively? Did you commit to studying for a certain number of hours a day? Or perhaps a number of days per week? What practical examples can you discuss of your ability to manage your time?
Determination and resilience - There may have been times when you felt like giving up and stopping or pausing your studies, but you didn’t. And here you are having graduated. Reflecting on all those challenges you faced and your ability to recover quickly from change will have increased your resilience.
All of the qualities discussed above will be highly sought by prospective employers, regardless of the sector and role you are applying to. Make sure you share these as part of your applications and interviews moving forward.
Take the opportunity to continue upskilling yourself
One of the things future employers will be keen to see, especially during periods of lockdown, is that you have consistently engaged in opportunities to upskill yourself.
If your job search is ongoing or you’re waiting to start a further study course next year, make the most of the chance to access the range of opportunities available to you. These may include:
Undertaking a graduate internship or securing further work experience
Such opportunities may provide valuable experience to add to your CV and applications; offer you an insight into the world of work and provide the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge from your degree in a practical way.
Getting involved in volunteering or securing a part time job
These opportunities will also offer valuable experience, alongside increasing your self-awareness and understanding of what you want from your future career. This will feed into better, more informed career choices in the future. Find out more about volunteering, part time work and speculative applications to organisations through our website.
Access online learning opportunities/courses
There is a fantastic range of online learning opportunities that will support you with both your personal and professional development. Sites such as Google Digital Garage, Microsoft Learning, FutureLearn and Coursera all offer a range of learning options. You can also find information by taking a look at this article written earlier this year.
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?
Do you need any support with it?
You want to make sure you feel you are making progress and taking action.
Another key message for our graduates is that we are here for you for up to five years after you graduate to support you with anything careers and employability-related. This includes feedback with applications for future roles and/or further study opportunities; support with interview preparation; considering your options; and developing an effective job search strategy.
All of our one-to-one support is available to you via phone or video appointments, so we can help you no matter where you are in the country or the world.