Working Out Your Next Steps As A Portsmouth Graduate

Posted on: 23 May 2019

Are you about to graduate from the University of Portsmouth? Unsure of your next steps? You are not alone!

The thought of life beyond graduation can be nerve-wracking for anyone; whether you have already secured your dream job, have decided to take a year out or you haven’t worked out what’s next. Making firm decisions about your future is likely to feel daunting and you may not even be sure where to begin.

How can you make sure you keep things in perspective and remain positive during the summer once you graduate? 

First and foremost, be kind to yourself

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Getting to the end of your three or four year programme here at Portsmouth might mean moving back home with your family, leaving behind good friends or moving to a new part of the country. Remember, choosing the right career can be a challenging and potentially frustrating process. But, no one is expecting you to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Whilst for some individuals it can be instinctive, for others it can take time, research and reflection. Some people may find their ideal career straight out of university, but for others it can take many years and job changes before they determine what is right for them. Everyone will take their own career journey.

Recognise and celebrate your achievement!

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The thought of ‘what’s next?’ can often overshadow the opportunity  to celebrate and reflect upon your achievements. Throughout your time as a student you may have overcome obstacles and challenges - all of these will serve to highlight your determination and resilience - qualities highly sought after by prospective employers. Whatever the final grade, you should be proud of yourself!

Take the opportunity to continue upskilling yourself

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One of the things future employers will be keen to see is that you have consistently engaged in opportunities to upskill yourself. This may be throughout your final year of study, but is important if you have a gap between graduating and starting employment or if your job search is ongoing. There will be a range of opportunities available to you. These may include:

  • Undertaking a placement or graduate internship
    Such opportunities may provide valuable experience to add to your CV and applications, offer you an insight into the world of work and provide the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge in a practical way.
    Organisations that coordinate graduate internships and/or placements - typically with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) - include Step. Other potential resources to support you with finding these opportunities include Prospects, RateMyPlacement, TARGETJobs and Milkround.
  • Getting involved in volunteering, part time work or work shadowing
    These opportunities will offer valuable experience, increasing your self-awareness and understanding of what you want from a career. This will feed into better, more informed career choices in the future. Find out more about volunteering, part-time work and speculative applications through our website.
  • Completing training through LinkedIn Learning (formerly from summer 2019)
    Linkedin Learning is an online training resource available free to all University of Portsmouth students and for a short period following graduation. Whilst you still have access to your university account you can log onto which offers a library of courses on business, software and creative skills. Some of the courses offer training on more IT programmes such as Microsoft Office and SPSS, with others focusing on more specific skills for business and increased employability. Find out more here.
    If your access to has ended, you still have the opportunity to access similar resources through LinkedIn Learning once you have setup a LinkedIn profile. However, please be aware that not all courses are free.
    Find out more information about developing an effective LinkedIn profile here.

Remember, your first job doesn’t have to be a forever job...

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It is perfectly normal for students and graduates to be concerned that they will become stuck in a job role that isn’t for them. But, remember, you can always change direction. Even if you first job role isn’t quite what you had anticipated or hoped for, you still have the opportunity to look for another job. The range of experience and skills gained - even in a role that ultimately wasn’t for you - will still be an advantage to a future employer. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on and understand why the role and/or sector wasn’t right for you and help to inform your future career planning. 

Take things step by step…

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If making a career decision feels intimidating, remove the pressure of trying to develop a specific career aim. Instead, take things step by step. 

What does your first step look like? Is it realistic and achievable? When are you going to aim to complete it by? You want to make sure you feel like you are making progress and taking action.

Still not sure where to begin? Join us for Graduate Zone!

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No matter what stage you're at, you can access our support throughout the summer and for the next five years. All of our one-to-one support is also available via phone and video appointments, so we can help you no matter where you are in the country or the world!

Throughout the summer we're offering a range of specialised support for new graduates, including a range of 30 Minute Guide to… workshops and exclusive Graduate Zone appointments.

This will include advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Your job search strategy
  • CVs and covering letters
  • Application forms 
  • Interview preparation

Please visit our services for you section for more details about our support.

The Careers and Employability Service also has an online jobs board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised job matching service.

Meeting with an adviser to talk about your career planning, decision-making and applications will help you feel reassured and more confident moving forward.