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Careers blog
02 November 2017

5 pieces of advice I would give to my final year self

Considering a life after university is daunting, especially when it comes to your career. Below are the key ‘pearls of wisdom’ I would give to any soon-to-be graduate.

1. Don’t panic! 

You’d be surprised the amount of people who don’t have a detailed 40-year career plan laid out in in front of them the minute they finish their studies (in fact I think most people don’t!) - don’t be afraid of the unknown and don’t be scared to fail. As Albert Einstein once said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Over-planning may restrict you from trying something new, which in turn could be the discovery of an exciting path you hadn’t considered before.

2. Consider not only what you are good at, but also what you enjoy.

Skills and ability are good things to bring to a career but these don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with what you enjoy. People sometimes forget the importance of liking what they do – which is so important given the percentage of our lives we contribute to doing our jobs. The more you enjoy your job, the better job you do. Think about what activities you naturally gravitate towards and think about whether this is something that could be incorporated in to a job or career. This doesn’t have to apply solely to your university studies; be sure to consider things you enjoy in your spare time. Which leads neatly in to my next point…

3. Don’t feel restricted by your chosen degree subject.

Yes, if you’ve dedicated three years of your life to studying a subject then there is probably an underlying interest there. However, don’t feel as though you are duty-bound by the title of your degree alone. Just because you’ve studied Photography doesn’t mean you have to be a Photographer or Maths a Mathematician. We are fortunate enough to live in an age where companies are wanting to have employees with varied talents they can bring to the table – not just a copy and paste of the job description.

4. Research, research, research!

Research is key when trying to decide which path to take as it ensures you’ve considered all potential avenues - so no ‘career stone’ is left unturned! Be sure to attend University and Careers Fairs to speak directly to people about your options – you can stay updated on events we’re attending by following our graduate pages on Twitter and Facebook. Take a look at job boards and read job adverts listed on relevant websites. Specialist graduate boards - such as Milkround - can prove very useful, as you can search by subject area or location. When reviewing adverts, can you see yourself doing this role taking in to account both the personal and skill criteria? Although you won’t be applying to anything immediately, it will provide food for thought on skills you may need to hone in your final year.

If you have already identified a career path, speaking to someone currently in the field you wish to join is the most valuable source of information out there. Speak to your lecturers about if they know anyone to put you in touch with or message someone directly on LinkedIn. Most people are more than happy to give advice and talk about their own experiences establishing a career.

5. Keep an open mind…

Lastly - but not ‘leastly’ – keep your mind wide open. If you’ve decided on the career path you wish to take, don’t be disheartened if you don’t secure your dream job straight away after university. You may need to build up experience in another position first with the prospect to develop. Likewise, if you haven’t decided on a set path, be open to trying different roles to discover what you’re good at – maybe even consider temporary or contract work initially.

As a final-year student, it may seem like the prospect of a career is ages away, but it’s never too early to start considering the future. Why not register your interest in Capita's Graduate scheme today to stay updated on any relevant opportunities that arise, as well as updates from our business and beyond.

Written by Michelle Robinson, a Photography graduate working as a Recruitment Marketing Manager for Thirty Three, part of Capita.

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