Before you can make a decision about what you want to apply to, you will need to find out exactly what options you have available. There are many possibilities open to graduates, probably more than you realise at first, and sometimes, the hardest task will be deciding how to choose from the many options available to you.
You may already have a preconceived idea of what a certain area might be like but don’t make a decision on this basis without further research. You don’t want to rule out options unnecessarily, and you might be surprised at what some areas have to offer. By discovering what is out there, you can make an informed choice and consider some new ideas as well as those you had thought of.
The most popular choice for new graduates is applying for a job and a large proportion of graduate level jobs are open to people of any degree, so don’t feel constrained by what you have studied. However, this is not the only option and some of the more common 'next steps' for new graduates are outlined below:
A graduate scheme is a structured training programme run by an employer to develop future leaders of their organisation. These types of opportunities are more likely to be offered by larger organisations and will usually last for 1-2 years.
These opportunities are always promoted at the beginning of the academic year and are likely to be open from September to January. Find out more about Graduate Schemes, including where to look for opportunities, here (link to new set of pages).
Graduate Entry Level Jobs
Whilst a number of students will be employed through a graduate scheme, the majority of students will begin their career in a graduate entry-level role. This is where you are employed directly into individual positions within both big and small organisations. These opportunities are likely to be advertised later in the academic year (from around March onwards) and some opportunities may never be promoted at all (see ‘Hidden Job Market). Read more on applying speculatively.
A graduate internship is graduate level work for a short period of time (usually one year or less) and can be a great way into a career. One option to consider here is the Reading Internship Scheme, which provides internships exclusively for University of Reading students.
Whether you want to continue to study an aspect of your subject in more detail or you want to gain a vocational/conversion qualification to give you more credibility, undertaking a postgraduate qualification can be a great option. There will, however, be lots of things to think about… including: what course to choose, when to apply, what funding is available and much more. Read more on your options with further study.
If you are interested in starting your own business or picking up some freelance work, there is a lot of useful information on how to get started here. Students thinking about self-employment will need to be creative and self-motivated, as well (of course) as having a great business idea. You may also want to look through the activities and information offered by the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Taking Time Out
Taking time out is attractive to many students as a break between study and starting your working life. Whether you want to stay in the UK or go abroad, there are a vast range of opportunities. Find out more about potential activities you can consider and what the employer view is when taking time out.
The following links will also be useful starting points when exploring your options: