Life after graduation: what to do now?

Graduation. Sounds daunting. Might be. Might not be. Life after graduation is something that many students think about regularly. Will I move somewhere else? Where will I start my job search? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Is the job market any good? Don’t deny it, every single graduating student has had some sort of thought like that. For many, a Master’s or further education is next on the menu. But for those who already have those, or choose not to pursue that, what happens next?

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Figuring out your career path

To be honest, most graduates don’t know, or have a dim picture, of what they want to do come life post-graduation. So, you’re not alone in that boat; everyone’s in it. But you should still try to find some sort of direction that you want to go in. A best bet is staying in the same, or similar, path as your degree (if you liked it, of course). Did you do marketing? Start with that. Management? Always a good option. And remember that there aren’t just one or two things in each subject. If you studied the arts, for example, you aren’t confined to being an artist. You can think about curating, working at galleries, writing, creative directing… the possibilities are seriously endless. And that in every field you work in. Some sources, like Kuro, recommend finding something that you are 51% sure of. Commit to it for a while, see if you like it, and work on finding your direction until you get some focus.

Use your connections

Finding that focus takes time, and actual work. You need to actively reflect on what it is you are interested in, and what you think would be realistic for you. Or, where do you want to end up? You always need to start somewhere, so map out that path! Also, take advantage of your connections, i.e. your network. You might know a lot of other students or friends that are looking for their career path; what steps are they taking? On the other hand, you may have connections in your network that can provide you with options for life after college. For instance, that internship you did? Or that job you had last year? Your connections are always a good place to start.

Research, research, research!

Reading through a job description is one thing, doing some thorough research is another! A job description goes into some detail, and you can learn a lot about a specific position. But what about the company itself? No one is going to provide you with a company description. The solution to this is to do a lot, a lot, of research, because you want a good fit, right? You should take your time to look up the company, read about their latest developments, and what they stand for. Additionally, you could try searching who the previous person was in the role you are applying for. You might learn some insights, like what they did before and what they are doing now.

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Take risks!

Now is the time to take risks, when you don’t have a mortgage and don’t have mouths to feed (in most cases). Ever wanted to travel the world? Do it! What about taking cooking courses? Find out! Life after graduation doesn’t always mean jumping straight into work. Everyone has a different way of getting there (eventually). Taking risks could also mean moving abroad to a different country or city, and learning a new language. Think about travelling or volunteering as valuable additions to your CV! You are young, so your possibilities are endless!

What options do you have for life after graduation?

Speaking of endless possibilities, there are a few routes you could take. One of them being postgraduate study. Certain career paths require this, like training to be a lawyer, for instance. You can learn much more about your subject of interest and specialize in something, which is really valuable when you are looking for work later. However, don’t do a Master’s just because everyone else is doing it. As we said before, everyone has a different path.

Then, there is the option of finding and applying for a graduate job. Graduate, or entry-level, jobs are those that are filled by graduates and focus on training. A graduate position, in short, is the first step on the ladder that is your career path. You can check our Job Board to find companies looking for international students and graduates. Here, you can find part-time, intern, and graduate jobs. It’s simple; check out our Student Page to find out how it works, then apply directly through the Job Board. Moreover, if you want to find out more about finding Dutch graduate jobs in English, read this!

Become self-employed! Entrepreneurship is huge in the Netherlands; Holland is Europe’s No. 1 hub for start-ups! If you have the idea, drive and plan to do it, you should go for it. You’ll have more flexibility, freedom and control over your work, and the rewards can be amazing. If you think this is something for you, why not head over to our Student Entrepreneurship pages. We discuss company structure and all the steps you need to take to becoming a small business owner!

Image of deciding what to do with life after graduation

Hopefully you have a clearer idea of the steps to take to get a clearer picture, if not a clearer picture, of what you want to do with your life after graduation. Everyone is in the same situation; there's no need to stress. With a few brainstorming sessions, some chats with connections, and a bit of research, you are sure to figure something out!

What are your experiences, now that you are living life after graduation?