Tutor blog

Which job should I do after university?

by Annabelle Wieland ·// September 6, 2021

The transition from university into the world of work can be daunting. Navigating life in your early twenties is tricky as it is. Throw a global pandemic in there and the shape of your future may have shifted in ways you’d have never imagined. But there is hope…If you’re currently studying, or have just graduated from uni and are feeling unsure as to what lies ahead, this post is for you! We’re highlighting the happy endings that come after the graduation cap comes off, and have reached out to your fellow tutors for some uplifting advice.

Dealing with change

2020 was a whirlwind of a year for us all to say the least. Unsurprisingly, the uncertainty of the pandemic led to a decline in a number of industries including graduate recruitment. There’s no denying that the past 18 months have been a tough time for a lot of you, but we like to look at learnings here at MyTutor HQ and you’ve probably picked up some extremely invaluable skills that will actually help you get a job, and you might not even know it.

According to a recent recruitment study, “employers ranked resilience and emotional intelligence within the top five skills that they thought would become more important over the next five years, with self-awareness and problem solving falling within the top ten” (Job hunting in 2021: 10 things that graduates need to know)

Whilst 2021 has also brought some challenges along the way, we’re gradually adapting to a new normal – and the future’s looking brighter as graduates start to look at what options there are in the post-university world, as things open up again. At any given time, employers are looking for candidates who can show adaptability, flexibility, and resilience. You’ve made it this far, so I think it’s fair to say that you have the ability to cope with uncertainty and change. When it comes to the world of work, no day is the same, so all these skills you’ve already developed will work in your favour.

But that’s enough from us – now let’s hand over to some of our tutors to share what they’ve learned along this unexpected journey.

Words of wisdom from some of our tutors

Tutors Catherine, Louis, and Francesca answered 3 questions about university life and feelings around graduating during a pandemic. See what they had to say below!

1. Thinking back on your university experience, what one piece of advice would you give your past self?

Catherine N: University comes with Great Expectations – facing hundreds of Freshers Fair tents, three years suddenly feels surprisingly short! Time-machine permitting, I would go back and sign up for more extra-curricular activities, like canoeing or bouldering (or even run for a committee!) without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount available.

Louis H: I was very focused on my studies at University. This helped in getting the grades that I wanted, but I think I would have been even more productive if I had given myself some more “me time” by doing more fun things like playing sports at the weekend. I’d say to myself: “Don’t stress so much, and why not go find a new hobby?”

Francesca C: I would give myself so much advice! But the big one, I would tell myself to relax and enjoy the experience more. Remember you’re young, mistakes happen, roll with them, learn, and move on. Don’t get so caught up with things that may not go to plan, think about what goes right and enjoy it.

2. How do you think the pandemic has affected graduates’ perspectives on entering the world of work?

C: For humanities graduates, the world of work has a somewhat mysterious edge: with non-vocational degrees, you may not know where you end up interviewing. Achieving a university degree during a pandemic has made graduates aware of their personal resilience and adaptability – a strong starting point for any job hunt.

L: The pandemic has shown that the world faces huge challenges. So, for me, I now think that getting a job just for the sake of it or its status is not good enough. In searching for jobs it is important to think about where you can really add value with your skills and background in order to find something meaningful and fulfilling.

F: The pandemic paused everything. It’s hard when you have all these plans (some of them might not have been big or realistic, but that’s not the point) and suddenly they are impossible, at least temporarily. That is so demoralising, especially when you’ve worked so hard to get to this point.

3. What is the most positive thing the pandemic has taught you?

C: Though travel had shut down, universities were closed and businesses had invoked force majeure clauses for the first time, I still met friends on Zoom and students on MyTutor. It’s a testament to our creativity and optimism that personal and professional connections can be made during a time of crisis.

L: It reaffirmed what the LSE director, Minouche Shafik, said in her speech at my graduation ceremony. She was talking about her father who lost everything after the revolution in Egypt in 1952, but then built a successful life in the UK: “You can lose everything, but you will always have your brain”. University can be demanding, especially during a pandemic, but it gives you an intellectual resilience that can withstand almost anything.

F: The pandemic has taught me to value connections; the people around me: family, friends, my other half; whether I could see them, or not. Most of all, it’s taught me to value me, because whatever happens I’m always stuck with me, so it’s good to like me for me.

MyTutor Tips

We’ve seen amazing levels of resilience and determination through the past 16 months and we at MyTutor HQ also have some tips on how to ease anxiety around finding a job after uni. Whilst everyone’s journey is different, remembering the following can help bring some reassurance:

1. Stay positive

We know this is easier said than done. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospects of hunting for your first job out of university, but if you stay optimistic and treat the process as an opportunity to grow and develop professionally, it will make the process fun and enjoyable. We’re all at our best when we’re feeling relaxed and confident, so going into the job hunt with an optimistic mindset that you’re going to eventually find a brilliant role will help you land it! Remember that interviewers want to get the best out of you, so just be yourself, give them your best shot, and be ready to keep trying if things don’t work out the way you had hoped.

The best thing to do when leaving university is to find experience – so even if it takes a few interviews to find what you want, or learn what you don’t want – both are just as important as landing a job.

2. Use your resources and connections

Did you know that 85% of jobs are filled via networking? That’s a high percentage! It’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘networking’ a fair few times, but what does it actually mean? It means putting yourself out there and having a chat with people who share your interests and passions. Know someone who works in the industry you’re interested in? Reach out and ask them if they’d be willing to go for coffee and have an informal chat.

The idea of this might feel strange at first,  but you’d be surprised with how willing others are to talk about their own experiences and give advice. Who knows, it could be the way to your first interview, or you could end up with a mentor who you can check in with along the rest of your career!

Feeling a little stuck on what types of jobs you’d be a great fit for? Pay a visit to your university careers center. They can do mock interviews, help you improve your CV, and know the types of questions to ask which will point you in the right direction and boost your confidence. They’re the experts, so their advice will be invaluable. 

We’re also here to help! Check out our blogs, attend our webinars, and follow our tutor Instagram page. We also encourage you to network with other tutors on the platform! You can do this by joining our Facebook forum. You all share common ground, so strengthening these relationships, sharing ideas and asking questions will be inspiring and encouraging. 

The skills and experiences you gain as a tutor will be valued by future employers, so think back to times when you’ve successfully dealt with tricky situations, and make a note of them. Not only will it give you a burst of confidence to remember how much you’ve achieved already, you never know, one of these examples could land you the job!

Need some help on how to market yourself as a tutor and expand your network? Check out our guide to marketing yourself as a tutor.

3. Remember you’re not alone

Keep talking to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. Having a support system around you is really important, and voicing your feelings and ideas with others who are in a similar situation is a good way to remember you are not alone in this.

You’ll be surprised by how willing people are to help and remember you made it through the last year and a bit. You got this! 

Got some tips you’d like to share? Let us know at support@mytutor.co.uk, we’d love to hear from you.

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