Third year at university is hard because not only have you got a 10,000 word dissertation to write (alongside your other modules!) but you also have the thought looming over your head that in a few months you’ll be leaving university and entering the world of work. Whilst many people studying Sociology here at Leicester may have already been offered places on teaching courses or even received a place on a graduate scheme (well done to those of you who have!), many of you are probably in the same boat as me. That is, you still have no idea what on earth you want to do and you are panicking slightly that you’re fast approaching the end of term having only applied for a small number of jobs (I’ve only applied for one!) or just done nothing at all. But I am going to try and give you some hints and tips to try and reduce that panic and get you thinking about the future positively.
Firstly, if you have no idea what you want to do then I suggest contacting the Careers Development Service. They can give you advice on what jobs you could apply for based on your interests and experience and they can help you to create that all important CV. They can also help those of you who are one step ahead and have already applied for jobs by providing you with a chance to practice interviews and assessment centres. Read my previous blog for more information on our wonderful Careers Development Service.
Secondly, it is important to try and apply for some jobs even if you don’t know what you want to do. I was just browsing over the job opportunities on prospects.ac.uk and stumbled across a social researcher role for the Office for National Statistics. The more I read of the job description the more I thought that this sounded like a role suitable for me. So I applied (after several days of trying to perfect their very long application form!) and I managed to get an interview. Just because you can’t currently see yourself in a career doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything out there for you. I never in a million years thought I would apply for a job to be a Social Researcher, but here I am having just visited the ONS offices for my interview. So its worth at least looking, because you never know, you might just find your dream job! And if I don’t get the job, attending the interview was great practice for future interviews
Finally, don’t compare yourself to other people. I understand that it is very difficult not to panic when some of your friends have already been offered places on teaching courses etc but it is important to try and shut that out. Whilst many people know exactly what they want to do in the future from a young age, many people don’t. But that doesn’t make us any less ambitious, it just means we’re taking our time. So try not to waste time worrying that you should be at the same stage as everyone else, instead spend some time researching possible career paths for you. Start by thinking about what you enjoy and go from there. And don’t think that you have to jump into a career straight from university. There is no harm in giving yourself a year or two to think about and prepare for a career (although it would be worth finding a part-time or non-graduate job to earn you money whilst you do so).
I hope this has helped to calm some nerves and good luck to all of you who are in the process of applying for graduate jobs!