Do you find yourself worrying that everybody else in the whole universe knows exactly what they will be doing in one month, one year, and even five years’ time, while you still can’t decide whether to have pizza or pasta for dinner?
Well, the reality is that they are undoubtedly just as lost in the graduate world as you are (and probably still have issues with deciding on dinner).
An NUS survey conducted in 2013 demonstrated that the worry involved in finding graduate employment causes severe mental distress in 26% of the students questioned. The final figure would be much greater if the survey included high-school students too; in today’s society it is not uncommon to begin feeling the pressures of creating a mapped out future at the crazy age of fifteen. Although it is virtually impossible to eradicate these pressures that society so unkindly throws upon our young generation, there is the potential to banish the stigma surrounding the undecided youth. I guess this is something we need to work on…
For those that dream of becoming a doctor, a teacher, an accountant, their compulsory education and training is readymade for them to succeed within. For those that hope a perfectly suited career path will arrive on their doorstep one day, the journey is a little more unstable. Having said that, the doctors, teachers and accountants are just as susceptible to careers worries; in short, we are all a great big bundle of employment anxiety.
So here are a few ways, from one troubled grad to another, to conquer those thoughts and fears when searching for graduate employment…
Talk the people closest to you.
Chances are, even your parents had moments like you are having now. Chat to everybody around you and find out how they arrived at the first rung of the career ladder. Take inspiration, but never compare yourself to them because everybody will have a different style and story.
Think about your passions and hobbies.
What do you enjoy doing? How could this be transferred to a career? Use online tools such as Prospects to suggest career ideas that you may not have considered already. You could be missing a huge opportunity by focusing on utilising your degree, or making lots of money, when really your fortune is hiding behind something you ultimately enjoy doing.
Use your university’s employability centre – even if you have already graduated.
Most universities allow graduates to come back for free career guidance, no matter how many years have passed since their graduation. They fill you with hope and provide new avenues to explore that you may have shut your mind off to in a moment (or month) of panic. Don’t ever feel silly going back to the university’s employability centre after your graduation, they will always be happy to help.
Sign up to as many online job sites as possible.
You never really know what’s out there until you sign up for anything and everything. Bring down your barriers, open up to any experience and so many doors will open that you never knew existed.
The important things to remember are that you are never alone in feeling anxious about employment, and you are never stuck in a career. There will always be opportunities to change paths, and your degree does not define who you are or what career path you must follow.