You're certainly not alone if you don’t know what to do after university. The reality is that most people who graduate from university don’t have a career plan charted out, and it’s a period of uncertainty for most graduates.
The key is not to panic, as there are so many things to do after university, offering you the perfect opportunity to explore your options.
In this article, we introduce ten ideas on what to do after uni and offer some tips to help you manage your transition into life after your studies. So, let’s dive in and look at some of your post-university options.
Paid internships or work experience
If you have an idea about the career path you would like to follow after your studies, seeking a paid internship or work experience placement is a great way to start life after uni.
Internships and work experience placements are typically available for relatively short periods – perhaps a month or so – and provide you with a taster for a particular industry before committing.
Graduate jobs or graduate placement schemes
A step up from a paid internship is a graduate job or placement scheme. The key distinction is that graduate jobs are usually longer-term and see you in a graduate position for one year or so before offering you the opportunity to acquire a full-time position in the company.
Many of the UK’s biggest firms have graduate placement schemes, and they’re a great way to get your feet under the table at leading companies in your chosen sector.
Start your own business
Starting your own business can be an excellent way of exploring your interests and enlivening your entrepreneurial spirit after university. In today’s digital world, there are many ways to kickstart your own business online, and you don’t need a huge amount of money.
For instance, you could look at launching a drop shipping business or offer some form of digital-based service, like copywriting or social media management. Consider what skills you have and look to utilise them – there are so many ways of going it alone after uni, so don’t be afraid to try out different things!
Go back home
After spending three or four years at university, you probably have enjoyed the independence uni experience has afforded. Being away in a new city is part of the allure of going to uni in the first place, and it can help you mature and come of age.
However, staying away from home in the immediate aftermath of university can be challenging and extremely expensive. There’s no shame in speaking to your parents about returning home for a few months or longer after university while you find your feet and consider your options. It provides you with some breathing space and takes much of the pressure away from finding a job immediately.
Take a gap year
A gap year can mean different things to different people, but fundamentally, it’s a way of awarding yourself a break for up to a year. After being in full-time education for most of your life, a gap year is a brilliant way to experiment with different opportunities while potentially seeing other parts of the world.
You can undoubtedly go travelling abroad during a gap year. Still, you might also choose to complete different work experience placements in the UK, or you might like the idea of volunteering for causes that you’re passionate about.
The best thing about a gap year is that it provides a buffer if you’re not sure what to do after uni and gives you more time to explore your options without relenting pressure.
While many people think of graduating from university as the end of their studies, you might have other ideas. Empowered by your undergraduate degree, you could pursue further studies before dipping your toes into the job market.
You can complete a Masters degree in your chosen discipline and work towards achieving Doctoral study if you wish. Alternatively, you might be interested in completing a professional qualification to boost your job prospects in a particular field. Either way, pursuing further studies is a valuable way to spend your time after finishing university.
Find a job in your field
Granted, jobs are hard to come by for new graduates, but they’re certainly not impossible to acquire. If you have a good idea about the career path you would like to follow, you can apply directly for various jobs within your field, for instance, in the charity, public, or private sector.
You’ll need to read the application criteria carefully and ensure that you meet the requirements as stipulated in the job description. But landing a job in your field can be a type of fast-track and will help to kick start your career soon after leaving university.
Do an apprenticeship
After years of studying at a desk, you might have decided that it’s time to take on a more practical role after graduating from university. If so, applying for an apprenticeship could be a good move.
Apprenticeships are ideal for graduates who want hands-on experience in a competitive field and are popular with hopeful engineers, graphic designers, and other professions requiring some previous experience.
If travel is at the top of your list after graduating from university, teaching abroad is a great way to see the world while earning some money. You can complete a qualification like TEFL or TESOL and look for a posting at a school in a part of the world that you’re keen to travel to.
Many teaching jobs are available to native English speakers in Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Korea, offering the perfect opportunity to live and work in a foreign country after leaving university.
Volunteering is a great way to enhance your CV, but it’s also an excellent way to contribute to a cause that you’re passionate about. There are many volunteering opportunities in the UK, but you could also travel to different parts of the world to seek exciting opportunities abroad.
Employers look favourably at graduates with relevant volunteer experience on their CVs, as it shows a willingness to work hard and gain relevant experience. So, if you’re struggling to find paid work or want to test out a particular sector, volunteering your time is a great way to go about it.
Managing life after uni
As well as deciding what to do after university, you must think about how to manage your life and finances after graduating. The following tips will stand you in good stead as you navigate the choppy waters of post-graduate life:
Open a graduate bank account
Most banks offer graduate bank accounts to former students for up to three years after graduating, providing great value banking services as you transition from student to worker.
There are many perks associated with graduate bank accounts, including 0% overdrafts and various freebies, so it’s worth speaking to your bank about your options as soon as you graduate.
Our pre-paid card is an excellent option for students and graduates, and it helps you to manage your finances as you decide what to do after graduating.
Student loan repayments
If you’re employed, student loan repayments will automatically be deducted from your pay, so you don’t need to take action. It’s helpful to be aware of these repayments so you can plan your finances accordingly after graduating. Learn more about student loan repayments.
Take advantage of young person discounts
From cheap sports tickets to discounted travel, you can take advantage of many young person discounts after graduating. One of the best is the 16-25 railcard, which provides you with 1/3 off train travel in the UK for just £30 per year.
Whether commuting to work or relying on public transport for your personal life, a young person’s railcard is essential to save on those super expensive train fares.
Save, save and save more!
The earlier in life that you start saving money, the easier things will be for you as you get older. It’s important to save money for unexpected expenses, for big purchases like your first home or car, and also for retirement.
So, be disciplined and start saving whatever you can as soon as you earn money after graduating. Our Savings Jars are perfect for helping you to save and allow you to set goals and objectives throughout the year.
There’s no getting away from the fact that deciding what to do after university can be challenging. However, you can also see it as the perfect time to explore your options and try different things without being burdened by a great deal of pressure. The above tips and job ideas will help you plan post-university life and make the most of the opportunities.
Check out how HyperJar can help you plan for your money after graduating to ensure that you start your work life with your finances in order.