How to Find Success After College: A Toolkit 2020

If you don’t know quite what you’re going to do after leaving college – don’t worry. You’re not alone. A huge proportion of college graduates have no idea what they want when it comes to the rest of their lives and, in many ways, that’s a good thing. A lack of firm goals is likely to allow for greater flexibility and invite a broader range of experiences. As long as you stay proactive and curious, you’re likely to end up somewhere exciting, even if it isn’t planned. Of course, most school-leavers are keen to find some kind of direction as a starting point. In this article, we’ll look at a few of the ways in which you can prepare yourself for employment success, even if you’re not fully sure what it is you want to do.

1. Qualifications

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You’re likely to find a position in a more competitive field if you’ve been able to achieve a more advanced set of qualifications than other candidates. For this reason, you may want to pursue an undergraduate university degree – and perhaps even follow that with a postgrad. There are numerous practical subjects you can take without having a clear professional field in mind; for example, business, enterprise and administrative courses are exceptionally handy and may see employers fighting over you. Alternatively, just pick something you enjoy or are good at – that means you’re more likely to graduate high up in your class. Further or higher education isn’t just about the piece of paper you receive at the end. Many institutions provide valuable experiences that you won’t get anywhere else. Use all of the resources at your disposal and interact as much as you can with your classmates, tutors and others. This environment will provide you with the opportunity to develop significant knowledge and build vital connections.

Who knows – the person sitting next to you could be your future business partner or the lecturer at the front of the class may be so impressed with you that they introduce you to a future benefactor. Undergraduate student loans are available for almost any course you can think of, so it’s easy to find the right resources from a private lender in order to pay for your education. The great thing about education is that it’s always available. You may wish to dip in and out of it multiple times throughout your life – and that’s absolutely fine. Even if you think you may have trouble taking out a loan due to limited credit history, it’s possible to research on Earnest.com on how to secure financing with a cosigner.

2. Interests

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If you don’t have any specific interests, it may be that you need to expand your horizons a little more. You may be perfectly comfortable where you are, but that’s unlikely to help you move forwards in life. Push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. Try out new things – from sports to the arts to cookery. Remember, it’s possible to specialize and find a vocation in almost any field. A great way to find your calling is to be proactive and keep looking for something that clicks. Don’t be afraid to pick something up and put it down again if it isn’t right for you – you can just chalk it up as another valuable learning experience and move on. You can always come back to it once you’ve explored other avenues and interests.

3. Employment Opportunities

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Not every type of employment requires a flashy set of qualifications. Learning on the job and working your way up through the ranks is a great way to learn about every area of a particular field – and you’ll have less debt to boot. Practical or hands-on vocations are often the best choices when it comes to this way of doing things. If you work hard to take on as much information as you can and show that you are eager to learn and develop your skills, you’re likely to be promoted fast. Whether or not you decide to attend higher education, there are plenty of ways in which you can make yourself more employable. Actively look for opportunities of any kind, take courses to gain more qualifications or certificates and network as much as possible. This will help to build your knowledge, your skillset and your contact list – three key elements to a successful career.

4. Down Time

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With so much to pursue and achieve, it can be easy to burn out early on. It’s extremely important to avoid this; if you slow down or stop, you may become stuck in a rut watching your peers sail past you. That’s why it is so vital to understand when to take a break, to relax and to spend quality time with your loved ones. The famous work-life balance is extremely important. Take care of your body by eating well and exercising regularly. After all, you are your own most important resource. Switch off from emails, texts, phone calls and screens every once in a while, even if you have to block out a little time in your diary to do so.

Socializing is also extremely important. Not only does it make you happy, but it keeps your mind sharp and your interpersonal skills honed. It may also help you to make great connections that will, in time, turn into professional links – but you shouldn’t see this as a priority. The important thing is to enjoy yourself and switch off. Take up a hobby, sport or craft that makes you happy. It probably won’t offer professional opportunities, but that isn’t what’s important here. This area of your life is for relieving stress and enjoying some of the fruits of your labors.

5. Experiences

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Keep looking for new experiences both inside and outside of the professional sphere. Doing this will make you a more rounded, interesting person and will teach you a little more about the world outside your own little bubble – expanding your horizons and providing you with plenty of inspiration. Travel wherever you can, whenever you can. Take on challenges, learn from different cultures and try new things. Explore a new discipline or pursuit, go to events, talk to new people and learn everything you can. It’s amazing how much this will help in your personal and professional development.

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