So, you’ve graduated – and just like that, your student days are over. You’ve donned the cap and gown, and that degree is prettily framed on your wall. No more Freshers’ Week, no more exam revision, no more scrounging off your student discount (unless of course, you have an NUS extra card…)
You’re a graduate. It’s time to adult.
Now we know this is a scary prospect, because there’s so much to consider. Where do you even start? Well, we have a few pointers to help ease you along this new chapter in your life.
Think about your finances
WAIT, DON’T CLICK AWAY! We know the F-word can send us all to sleep, but it’s vitally important. Those lovely student loans that used to appear in your account every term? They aren’t around anymore. Consider how you’ll be able to manage your expenditures.
If you have a job, look at whether you’ll have to pay back your loan. Remember if you earn less than £25,000, you shouldn’t be paying back anything.
On the topic of salaries, ensure that you’re applying for jobs that have a wage you can realistically live off of. Sure, that low-paid internship may have an exciting description, but will you be able to afford your weekly food shop on £12,000 a year living in the city? Probably not. Create an estimated budget sheet if you have time.
If you’re reading at all the above and thinking “pfft, been there done that!”, then get extra prepared. Plan for the future; look at pension options and assess if you want to make any adjustments. If you can trust yourself, get a credit card and make regular payments each month that you pay back instantly to build up your credit score.
Get a career plan in place
Graduate life is all about finding that right career path, so the first thing to do is to identify your interests. Look at guides online to identify the sector, role and locations that appear the most exciting to you. Once you’ve done that, start looking at applying to jobs. The nifty Debut app is a good place to start.
If you’re at the application/interview stage of the job-hunt, then consider what you need to check off in regards to research and preparation. Do you know key facts about the company you’re applying to? Do you have all your unique selling points to hand? Write it all down in a doc and get yourself ahead of the game.
Some of you may already have a job secured. If you do, then start thinking about progression. Where can you go in your current role, or what can you do to set yourself up for a promotion further down the line? Be honest and ask yourself if you’re in a role you want to continue for the next few years.
Stop relying on mum and dad
It’s far too easy to fall into a rut of letting your parents take care of everything after you graduate, but here’s a reality check: it’s not healthy. Of course, let them support you where they’re willing and if it’s necessary. But, if you can make changes yourself, then strive to do them.
If you have the funds, means and confidence to move out, do it. It’ll be different from living in student halls/houses, there’s no doubt. But if it’s to a brand new location for a new job, then consider it a fresh start. If you’d rather take an adventure, pack a bag and go travelling. It’ll still help establish your independence.
If you can’t move out your family home because maybe your salary doesn’t give you enough, or maybe you want to save as much as possible before making that next step, that’s obviously still fine – just ensure you aren’t using them as a crutch. Do some chores, work on your employability and for God’s sake learn how to use the washing machine if you haven’t already!
Refresh your ‘student’ image
If you’re going for interviews or starting a new career, we mean this literally. If you don’t have a professional wardrobe, then make sure to invest in a few staple items. Trust us, it’s better to make this investment now than risk making a bad first impression by turning up to an interview in your egg-stained jeans and ten-year-old trainers.
Equally if you’re making that step into a new career, then consider what information employers can find out about you. Social media should be your first port of call, as some employers may check there. Are there any photos or statuses that need purging after you graduate? It’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want your profiles to just show you being drunk all the time.
Consider your professional manner as well, especially if you don’t have much experience with interviewing. The way you talk and present yourself is vital, so ensure that you can adopt a tone that is professional and appropriate to use within a business context. Don’t think you’ll just be able to wing it on the day. #Yolo