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The Biggest Challenges Facing University Graduates

Gaining experience as a university student may seem impossible, but there are a lot of ways that you can make yourself stand out

“Ah, those were the best four years of my life.” A lot of university students hear this from working professionals as they reflect on their own time as a university student. There is nothing like it- being in an environment surrounded by people of similar age determined to follow their own path and most experience their first taste of independence. However, graduates face many challenges as they shift from student life to being a working professional, particularly during this current economic climate. Often times, we hear about job shortages, which of course affects new graduates keen to enter the world of work. Here are some of the current challenges new graduates are facing – but it is not all bad news.

Lack of experience

With every graduating class, companies have numerous entry-level applicants to sort through and find the right candidates. Often, experience is requested even for entry-level roles. Gaining experience as a university student may seem impossible, but there are a lot of ways that you can make yourself stand out as an applicant down the road. For example, both industry experience and an internship related to the position you are applying to will look good on your application. Club work, a summer dedicated to an internship or even part-time work as a student can help you gain experience to stand out as an applicant. If it doesn’t cause a student to feel under too much pressure many employers would encourage university students to look for jobs they can do alongside their studies before they have even graduated.

Work-life balance

While the time of university is dedicated to studying and working towards a degree, it also enables students to create or at least work out their own schedules. The professional environment working a 9-5 job and sitting at a desk can seem quite daunting to many university students. Their work-life balance will inevitably shift and the weekly nights out and parties will most certainly dwindle. Another reminder to enjoy every minute as a university student!

Post-Graduate Education or entry-level work

A common challenge for university students is the decision between continuing on with further education or entrance into the world of work. Some students understand at the start that further studying is a must depending on their field of study- a masters or even a PhD or specialism may be the only way of securing their chosen career. However, others have the option to gain more qualifications and a competitive edge to join the workforce with a higher entry salary or level of position, or to jump in and start working. The question of if it is better to do a masters or go straight into a job following a bachelor’s degree is one many struggle to find an answer to.

Though these challenges can offer new graduates some difficulty while they transition to the world of work, the right opportunity is out there for everyone. However, it is vital to put the time, effort and concentration into searching for the right position. Though the odds may seem better if 100 standard applications are sent out, it is more effective to submit fewer applications but of higher quality. Applications should always be tailored and relevant to that specific role so your CV can speak for itself. Then, although it might be tempting, be sure to accept a job offer for the right reasons. Though it might be tempting to accept the first one that comes in, it is important to accept the position that is the right fit. For example, if it is a job in another city, check on local rent prices and the cost of living to be sure the offered salary is acceptable.

For all the graduates out there, your time as an entry-level professional offers you a world of opportunity. Be a sponge and absorb everything. Your time as a university student may be over, but those that commit to a lifelong learner mentality will see greater advancement in the world of work. Within the next ten years, millennials may be running the business world– having faced some of these challenges and finding a way to combat the challenges. You will be stronger for it, and better understand and support the university graduates to join you in work world in the years to come.

By Emily Jones.

Emily is a recent graduate from the UK now living and working as a freelance writer in R0me. She is passionate about writing on the subject of business.

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