With four subjects a semester totaling twelve hours of classes a week, Uni life seemed so good, yet so long ago. The transition between being a graduate and a full-time employee in a corporate capacity can take some time to adjust. This adjustment along with the ‘Gen Y’ persona can make settling in to life in the real world quite a challenge.
Here are what we think are 5 of the biggest challenges facing graduates today.
When you first come out of your degree and you have donned the graduation gown and worn the hat, you feel on top of the world. There can be a lot of expectations to live up to; from your family, friends and yourself. Family and friends can put a lot of pressure on you expecting you to immediately find a job that pays well and is in a reputable company. At the same time, the same pressure and expectations can be put on yourself. Given how competitive the market is and the seemingly low ratio of graduates to entry-level jobs it can be quite difficult to land the right role.
Finding the right job
It’s not unusual for graduates to take the first job they are offered, even if it doesn’t align with what they have studied or what they’re looking for in a career. There can be a mentality that first jobs don’t matter too much, and it will add some experience (though potentially irrelevant) to a CV. Picking the right job can be crucial to your career and quite often choosing the wrong job can turn people away from what they believed was going to be the career for them. Their job choice could simply have been the wrong one. The day-to-day tasks and responsibilities might have been wrong or the culture of the company may just not fit. This shouldn’t turn you away from your passion and the hard work you put in to getting your degree. Finding the right job, whether you are a graduate or an experienced professional in your relative field, is very important. It can certainly be worth the wait.
Lack of real world experience
Thousands of people graduate from universities every single year with the same goal in mind; to find a job to kick-start their career. There may even be hundreds of graduates applying for the same role. Having industry experience relevant to the role you are applying for can give you a distinct advantage over other applicants. An internship or work placement at a firm in your industry not only looks good on your CV but it also gives you professional experience and key skills that will hold you in good stead and allow the transition and settling in period of a new job so much easier.
Finding a good work-life balance
When you’re at university quite often it is easy to coordinate your life between study, part-time work, friends, family and leisure. However this can become much harder when you’re sitting at desk for a forty hour week and adding travel for a considerable amount of time to and from work. It suddenly becomes more difficult to find time to go to the gym, catch up with mates during the week and be flexible in your day-to-day routine. You also now only have four weeks of holidays per year as opposed to months on end in between semesters, those were the days!
Keep studying or find a job?
For any graduate there is always the great debate whether to continue your studying after you complete your undergraduate or go and find a job. Which side you take on this particular debate does vary for each individual. Sometimes people who have studied for 17 years (including all schooling) of their life and are ready to get straight into the workforce and start to assemble a career for themselves. Others meanwhile will choose to continue studying and go on to higher degrees of qualifications knowing that when they enter the workforce, they are likely to receive a higher entry salary or level of position. Of course there is also the option that many graduates take and that is to complete their undergraduate studies and gain experience in their chosen field before going back to university to complete their postgraduate studies.
Entering the workforce as a recent graduate and member of the ‘Gen Y’ category is no easy feat and often can be stressful and exhausting, but for the right job, the right company and the right choice it can also be very rewarding. Like with anything you do in life, you need to be able to crawl before you can walk and you need to be able to walk before you can run. Making the initial decision about when, where and how to crawl can make all the difference later in your career when are running faster and faster.