Three graduates share the struggle of finding work after graduation

Despite what your LinkedIn might say, you’re not the only one without a clue and without a job. On average, it takes six months for graduates to find a job after university. That’s six months of editing your CV, writing cover letters and waiting for rejection emails. 

Maybe it helps to know you’re not alone? These three graduates are all at different stages of navigating their journeys and professional careers.

Charlie, Chloe and Olivia: three recent graduates


Chloe (she/her) graduated with a 2:1 BA Hons Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Nottingham Trent University almost eight months ago. Despite plans to jump straight into the working world of media, reality had other plans.

“Navigating life after graduation has been really difficult, especially in the current job market and with the cost of living. Everything has been very hectic.” Chloe shared, echoing the sentiments of many. 

For Chloe, the post-grind has been anything but easy. Sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one going through it. “It was really difficult seeing my classmates seemingly going straight into some amazing roles. Meanwhile I was facing a lot of rejection but I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just about timing and slow and steady wins the race.”

And if that wasn’t enough, she felt her biggest challenge was the fight for entry level positions. Those jobs where entry level really means a degree, two years of industry experience, your mental sanity and your soul. “I often found myself applying for entry level roles against people who weren’t entry level but who were still applying. I would sift through LinkedIn and just batch apply for any job I felt was relevant, I probably applied for around 100 jobs in total”

Luckily for Chloe, her hard work paid off. After six months of rejection emails, Chloe’s story managed to take a turn for the better when she secured a full-time role.

“Would I do things differently? Maybe,” She admitted, “But I don’t like to say I regret anything. All you can do is focus on the next steps. In the future I’d love to continue climbing up the job ladder and hopefully I won’t have to re-enter the job market anytime soon.”

While Chloe may have successfully taken her first steps onto the career ladder, it’s worth remembering that other graduates may still be on their job hunt. 

Charlie (they/them) received a 2:1 BA Hons Degree in Applied Social Sciences with Politics from the University of Sheffield. Eight months post-graduate, they’re juggling part-time work with looking for something more. 

“I’m currently in part-time work, which in itself took a few months to find. I’m still on the hunt for permanent, long-time employment” Charlie stated, “The job market is just too overcrowded and all the roles I want have such high standards and such a large applicant pool which makes it all the more challenging. I’ve probably applied for about 30 different roles, but if you take into account graduate schemes that I’ve applied for, then it’s probably a lot more than that”

Even in times like these, it’s crucial for graduates to not get discouraged. Even when facing setbacks it’s important to continue to work towards your goals. 

“Right now, I’m focusing on saving some money up and creating a good schedule for myself instead of fulfilment but it’s definitely one of my goals for the future. I want to find a job in the public sector that I’m truly happy in, not just a job I choose for the salary. And whatever I’m doing, I want to be fulfilled by it.

I don’t regret anything about my degree. I enjoyed completing it and it really is a good degree for employability. The job market is just a bit insane right now but I’m confident it’ll all work itself out in the end”

Finally, some graduates decide to take a whole new path altogether or decide they don’t want to be a graduate, instead they carry on to further education. Olivia is one of these graduates. 

Olivia (she/her) graduated at the same time, with a First Class BS Degree in Psychology from the University of Sheffield, and her journey went slightly differently. “I looked at a few jobs after graduating but ultimately made the decision to take a year out and then pursue my masters in the next academic year,” She explained, “So right now I am in part-time retail work rather than a job related to my degree”

Her choice to continue her education is a path many choose to go down, with 13% of the UK being a master’s degree holder. 

“I think in my field it’s almost a given that you need to continue into further education for a lot of the jobs. I wasn’t sure if that’s what I wanted to do which is why I didn’t apply for a masters straight away. I’m glad though because it has given me a chance to take a step back and rediscover where my passion is.

“I’d like to pursue a career where I can make a difference, I think that’s what my passion is. There are lots of routes I can take after I complete my masters and I’m excited to see where I end up.”

So, navigating post-university life and trying to find your place in the professional world can feel overwhelming for anybody. Yet, listening to those currently in it can definitely help you figure out your journey, if not to just realise you’re not alone. 

Chloe’s unwavering determination meant that she got the job she so desperately wanted. Her final piece of advice is pretty simple, “While you’re not in employment, try and build a personal portfolio and build up some of your skills. It can be difficult but it’s really important to not just help you find a job, but it’ll also be useful when you do start working”

Charlie meanwhile, understands and emphasises the importance of mental health, “My advice is to prepare for the bad things that come with the job market, you need thick skin and lots of preparation for each application. Understand the organisation you’re applying to and work with that to create the best application.”

And our final graduate, Olivia, leaves us with a suggestion for before you even finish that degree. “My two biggest pieces of advice would be to try your best to find relevant work experience whilst still in university, anything from volunteering to internships. I would also advise you to utilise your university’s career service, they can be such a massive help”

So to all the soon-to-be grads feeling the post-uni jitters, as daunting as the next step from student to job seeker can seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Sure, you might get a rejection or fifty and you might have a meltdown or two, but with these tips and your determination, it’ll all work itself out in the end. If not you can always become a tiktoker. 

And once you’ve got that interview, check out our tips on how to ace your interview.

Read more here

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