June 19, 2019

Finding your Direction before Graduating (part 1)

Student looking back at her Graduation
Claudio Algeria
Claudio Alegria

Making his blogging debut today is GSM Employer and Partnerships Manager – Claudio Alegria.

There seems to be a notion among graduates that once they leave university their degree alone will catapult them into the higher echelons of industry.  The true value of holding a degree nowadays is similar story to that of finding a jar of Nutella in the shops.  In the 1960’s Nutella would have been a scarce commodity given that it was only shipped around Europe in 1963, but with time and growing popularity it has become ever more present in supermarkets and house cabinets worldwide.  The same can be said of degrees, in 1960 fewer than 22,500 full-time students obtained first degrees in the UK, now the figures are well over 400,000 and growing.

We are living in an increasingly aggressive job market. Preparation for the job of your dreams doesn’t now start the moment you put on the gown. It should start months – perhaps years – before that. With fierce competition out there, it’s imperative that undergraduates equip themselves with knowledge about their industry, including where and why they want to work there. The key question is why should an employer choose you?man holding telescope

Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean your dream is dead. It just means that you need to figure out how to make that dream a reality—using the skills you currently possess and those you must acquire. Sure, your dream will be tweaked from time to time but ultimately you’ll still be able to do what you’re passionate about. Here are three questions you should ask yourself to help make that happen:

  1. What Skills Have Helped You Thrive?

Scott Edinger, a highly successful consultant and CEO advisor, grew up in a trailer park. Edinger survived by becoming an expert in communication, conflict resolution and raw persuasion. At college, he polished up on his communication skills, and was in the top five in over a hundred debate tournaments, while earning a degree in communication. He has been globally ranked number two in sales for a Fortune 500 company.

Everyone has met obstacles throughout life, can you remember yours and how you overcame them? Think about situations that’ve challenged you; is there a common thread among all of them? If so, that’s something that you’re good at. All you have to do now is figure out which field or position that skill is best suited for.

  1. Do you know what part of your industry you want to get into?

A high percentage of students in the UK attend classroom lectures, take exams and go home without researching what job options are available for them. Failing to properly map out what you want to achieve in the future could prove costly when dealing with recruiters.  The reality is you won’t be suited for all areas in your industry of choice, as much as you might like to think so.  After all “no man is an island.”

Let’s take for example the Oil and Gas management degree, if you are looking to work on an oil rig , subsea company or a waste management company, chances are low that you will be able to be able to handle any of the technical aspects of the job without any prior engineering experience or knowledge.

Jobs that might make more sense could be management consultant for international contracting, recruitment consultancy, logistics, or procurement and supply. Ensure you make a career plan so you have some idea of where you would like to be heading. By using websites such as Inside Careers and Prospects you will be able to see what you need to do to get that career.  After all life is a journey, not a ride.

Why do you want to work in this profession?

The most common answer to this question I hear from students is “I want a Job”.  Realistically speaking an answer like that to a recruiter and employer will deem you as non-potential material. Realising why you want to work in the profession is highly important as it develops a conscious association with the career, however you should also find out about the reality of working in the profession. Amanda Devereux a writer for Cosmopolitan outlines, “13 Things I Wish I Knew before I became a Lawyer”.  It provides a great read.  A few snippets of her material are shared below;

  1. You may have just graduated law school, but you know nothing. Law school doesn’t really teach you how to practice law.  
  2. You probably won’t spend much time in court.  In fact, you might never see a courtroom. Lawyering in real life seldom resembles what is depicted in movies and TV shows, instead you will be alone most of the time.
  3. You are on call 24/7.
  4. You won’t always be able to find a clear answer as cases need a lot of analysis, researching and discussion.

This blog is the first in a trilogy. It has been designed for students seeking to understand what career they want and what direction they need to head.

Look out for the next one soon!

Those who are ready to awaken shall do so by their own means and find a way to achieve their ambitions which shall lead them in pursuit of their dreams”.

4 thoughts on “Finding your Direction before Graduating (part 1)

  1. Enjoyed reading the post above, really explains everything in details,the post is very interesting and effective. Thank you for sharing and good luck for the upcoming posts.

  2. Awesome article. One of the things that undergraduate student can do to help getting employed is for them to secure relevant work experience as much as possible while still at university. Doing this give you some form pf work experience to put on your CV when applying for a job after graduation.

  3. Thank you very much for your advice. Having a sence of direction is very essential in achieving a your dream job after graduating. Looking forward to the next blog.

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