How to adjust to graduate life

After spending much of your life in education it may feel a bit daunting to think about what happens next. You may have a graduate job lined up. Or perhaps you’re taking time out to get experience or travel. Even if you have ‘no idea’ what next, we have tips to help.

I have a graduate job – how can I adjust to a new way of life?

You may find it a shock when you go from studying to the working world. Time previously dedicated to the whole-life experience that is university will be quite different.

You will need to make adjustments when you move into a 40-hour working week. Initially a supervisor may tell you what to do. And some tasks you will enjoy more than others, but this is your chance to learn new skills.

Be open to trying all tasks. This is important whatever the job. Be punctual and offer to help your team. Let them know where your skills lie. Offer improvements when you see they will improve outcomes and workload.

Once you have settled into your role you can talk to your manager about the tasks you enjoy and ask for more of this type or work. Jobs often evolve with the person, so this can help your role move in a direction that suits you.

How can I continue to learn after graduating?

Once you start your graduate job, make sure you ask questions and discuss your training needs with your manager. Make sure you learning through your job, and through any training your company offers.

If you want further help with your career direction, book an appointment with us. We will continue to support you for three years after graduation.

What if I have not secured a graduate job?

Our careers consultants can help. They can double check your job applications, help you research career areas, give you a mock interview and more! You will need to create a graduate account on Surrey Pathfinder so you can book our appointments online.

What if I don’t know what I want to do for my career?

We regularly see students who don’t know what they want to do, and this is not a problem. Our advice is to start by doing something! You can take the pressure off yourself by looking for a FIRST graduate job, rather than THE graduate job.

Read more about this in Careers Consultant Janie’s blog What to do when you don’t know what to do for your career.

What if I want to have other experiences before I start my graduate job?

Take advantage of this time when you may not have many responsibilities to gain some work and life experience.

Paid work: Getting a paid job has so many benefits aside from the salary. It will help you build up your soft skills like communication, teamwork and customer service and also show future employers you are reliable, a good time-keeper and work hard. You can check online jobs boards, and register with recruitment agencies to help source work.

International Experience: travelling, learning a language and experiencing a different culture can make you a more interesting job candidate. It will also show employers you are self-sufficient, have organisational skills and can negotiate with a range of people. Check our International Opportunities resources on Surrey Pathfinder.

Volunteering and work experience: Many large companies have work experience and insight days. You can also volunteer for a charity as a good way of getting some work experience. Check Surrey Pathfinder’s jobs board for insight experiences and volunteering, or look at the Students Union volunteering platform.

Graduates can also attend our Employer Skills sessions and Careers Fairs.

Whatever your situation, Employability & Careers can help. Create your Surrey Pathfinder graduate account to access the full range of resources, events and job vacancies as well as one to one careers advice for three years.