Graduation. Sounds daunting. It might or 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? It's unavoidable; Every single graduating student has gone through a similar thought spiral. For many, a Master’s or postgraduate education is next on the menu. But for those who already have that down or choose not to pursue that path, what happens next?
Figuring out your career path
To be honest, most graduates don’t know or have a clear picture of what they want to do post-graduation. However, you should still try to find some sort of direction. A safe bet is staying in the same domain as your undergraduate or graduate degree. Did you do marketing? Start with that. Remember that there aren’t just one or two jobs for 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. 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 to navigate your life after graduation
Finding focus takes time and actual work. You need to actively reflect on what you are interested in and what job you think would be realistic for you. 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 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. That's why you should do a lot of research. 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 for the person who was previously in the role you are applying for.
Now is the time to take risks. Ever wanted to travel the world? Do it! Life after graduation doesn’t always mean jumping straight into work. Everyone has a different measure of and path to success. 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!
What options do you have for life after graduation?
Speaking of endless possibilities, there are a few choices you can explore. One of them being postgraduate study. Certain career paths require a post-graduate degree, like training to be a lawyer. 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 open to 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, internships, and graduate jobs.
Become self-employed! Entrepreneurship is huge in the Netherlands; Holland is Europe’s No. 1 hub for start-ups! You’ll have more flexibility, freedom, and control over your work. 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!
Hopefully you have a clearer idea of the steps you need to take to grasp 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, chats with connections, and a bit of research, you are sure to figure something out!
Explore graduate jobs on College Life Work.