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Unlocking your next move: five steps after graduation

Graduations are fast approaching and if you haven’t figured out your next steps don't worry. These five simple steps will help you to plan your next move

    Diane Nolan's avatar

    Diane Nolan

    Head of communications at The Global Undergraduate Awards.
    June 21 2024
    Going up stairs


    As the end of your degree approaches, a feeling of inertia can quickly set in. There’s a sense of uncertainty and loss.  

    After investing so much time, energy and passion, reaching your goal can leave you feeling adrift, unsure of what comes next. In moments like these, simplicity is key. 

    Ask yourself: what’s the next right thing? 

    These words serve as a reminder that even the smallest tasks can propel you forward.  

    The key is to initiate action, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Action breeds momentum, and momentum breaks the cycle of stagnation. We are vulnerable to paralysis when faced with daunting challenges. However, by focusing on the next right thing, you can navigate through uncertainty and keep going. 

    As a recent graduate embarking on a journey of self-discovery and growth, there are a few steps you can take to pave the way for a fulfilling future.  

    1. Take a moment for self-reflection  

    Explore new subjects, hobbies and experiences to expand your horizons and discover your passions. Take time to reflect on your interests, values and strengths. 

    Consider what activities energise you or bring you joy, as well as what challenges you are willing to tackle. This period of introspection will provide you with invaluable insights to figure out the path you wish to take with greater clarity.  

    2. Exploration  

    Explore various career paths, industries and opportunities that align with your interests and values. 

    Seek out mentors and role models who inspire you and can offer guidance based on their experiences. 

    Join and engage with your university’s alumni network – it can be a great place for advice, opportunities and support. 

    Stay flexible and open to new opportunities that may arise along the way. If you still have access to your career guidance teams at university, consider paying them a visit.  

    How do you write a CV for your first job? 
    Four things to do before you graduate 
    The graduate guide to internships and work experience 

    3. Experimentation 

    Experiment with different experiences, internships and projects to gain hands-on experience and test out potential career paths. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. These experiences will help you refine your interests and skills.  

    Employ a “fail fast” approach. This method encourages rapid iteration, allowing you to quickly identify what works and what doesn’t. 

    By embracing failure as a natural part of the learning process, you gain valuable insights, refine your strategies and ultimately increase your chances of success. This mindset fosters innovation, resilience and adaptability– crucial qualities in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world.

    4. Evaluation  

    Continuously evaluate your experiences and reflect on what resonates with you the most. Pay attention to moments of flow and fulfilment because they can provide valuable clues about the types of roles, activities and environments where you thrive and where you don’t.    

    5. Action  

    Take intentional steps towards pursuing opportunities that align with you. Whether it’s applying for jobs, furthering your education or starting a personal project, being proactive is essential in shaping your path forward as a recent graduate.  

    And when in doubt ask yourself the question at the start of this article (what’s the next right thing?) and commit to moving forward, one step at a time.

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