Congratulations on coming to the end of your course at the University of Stirling.

We know it has been a difficult last few months with a lot of uncertainty around exams, graduation and the future; you made it!

It’s good to know that our Careers and Employability Service are here to support you now and at any time in the future –with that in mind, let’s dive into some Top Tips and advice for graduating students

Don’t worry!

This might sound blasé, but if you’re unsure about your next steps, that’s OK. You’re not alone – when we asked earlier this year over 30% of final year undergraduate Stirling students also said they were undecided about their plans beyond graduation. There is no rush to decide your future right now, and there is still plenty of support available to you. Although others may have graduated into a recession before, very few people have entered a labour market in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s fine and perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious – graduation can be scary at the best of times! Your mental health is paramount, so remember to first and foremost look after your well-being. When the time is right for you to think about your options, you can explore some of the links and information below, check out our Careers Support for Graduates resources, or talk to a Careers and Employability Consultant to help you decide where your next steps may take you.

Concerned about the new competitive Job Market?

We are in constant communication with employers about how they will be supporting students and graduates who are applying for jobs, graduate schemes and internships. Currently, many of the large employers are continuing with their recruitment processes – albeit in an adjusted fashion – with the intention of start dates beyond the summer. You can find more information in our recent webinar on the Graduate Labour Market (current May 2020)

New and innovative best recruitment practice is constantly emerging, as employers iterate on their recruiting processes in response to evolving company policies (travel restrictions, WFH, virtual gatherings). On our Careers Support for Graduate CANVAS module we’ve summarised some of the information and advice we’ve received from employers; we’ve also updated our information and resources on video interviews, virtual assessment centres, and new methods of recruitment. We will keep this updated as we hear more.

Finally, we’ve worked with colleagues and employers across the country to create On the website, you can find a ton of information, support and resources – you can check for updates from specific employers; there are also opportunities for virtual chats with professionals and employers, and a host of expert webinars on topics such as Virtual Assessment Centres, or Navigating the Online Application Process.

Developing your Employability

We know not everyone wants to, or can, apply for jobs right now. You might be shielding; you might be caring for your family; you might be unable to return to your home country to start your job hunt; you might have a place confirmed to study a Masters; you might have had travel plans, which have been delayed by a few months; or you might not want to rush into a decision, but take time to think about what will best help you in your future career. If so, you might be considering what you could be doing over the coming weeks and months to keep your CV updated, your mind occupied, and develop new skills. We have compiled some resources for you to develop some of your digital skills through online courses and certifications. Doing a beginners’ coding course, brushing up your Excel skills, or completing a professional qualification could be what it takes to make your applications stand out in the future. You could also think about volunteering and other ways to develop your skills – we have a podcast on developing your online skills with lots of ideas to consider.

Use your Stirling Network

You are part of an alumni family of over 92,000 people in 170 countries! The Stirling Network is a global network platform where students of all years, alumni, staff and friends of the University can share knowledge and stay up to date. Why is The Stirling Network different from other social media channels? Our members have proactively agreed to help you, and have been in your position. It’s why we provide our global community with special career tools to help each other.

We are working to arrange a series of webinars, featuring Stirling graduates who want to share their stories of their journeys and career paths after graduation. The first of these will be at the beginning of July – make sure you’ve registered as a graduate with TARGETConnect and keep an eye on your emails, and our social media, to find out more.

Graduate Employability Programme

Life beyond university can be full of opportunity, but it may feel more challenging in the current climate. Perhaps you have had to change your plans and now feel less certain about the future. Perhaps you have been applying to jobs but so far with no success. Or maybe you are still looking for that moment of career inspiration. Whatever stage you are at, we want to support and help you. It is important to remember that whilst the current labour market is challenging and uncertain across much of the globe, there are still employment and postgraduate study opportunities open to you.

Working in collaboration your Alumni Team, we’re are delighted to launch a week-long programme, ‘Life Beyond Stirling: Graduate Wellbeing and Employability’, beginning on Monday 24th August 2020. This programme is available to all recent graduates and offers a variety of virtual seminars throughout the week to support your wellbeing and to boost your skills and employability, as well as creating a community of peers to support you in your journey.

Each day contains a morning and an afternoon session delivered by a variety of experts in the fields of mental health, careers and recruitment, and will cover everything from wellbeing during job hunting, through to understanding where the opportunities currently are, and how to ensure your applications stand out in a crowded market. Day by day, the themes are:

  • Monday: How to stay resilient and protect your wellbeing when faced with uncertainty
  • Tuesday: Labour Market in Lockdown – understanding and navigating the current employment landscape with confidence
  • Wednesday: Making the most of this time to develop your skills and your network
  • Thursday: How to stand out in a crowded job market: creating applications and getting ready for virtual interviews and hiring.
  • Friday: Next Steps: preparing for the future world of work, and protecting your mental health in the workplace

All sessions will be recorded, so if you are unable to attend you can access them later. You can sign up to as many or as few of the sessions as you like; if you attend eight of the ten sessions you will achieve a “Life Beyond Stirling Certificate”.

Sign up for the various sessions is via TARGETConnect. If you have not re-activated your registration since graduation then you will need to do so, but that will only take a few clicks.

What Next? Online Course for current and recent graduates 

We have worked with colleagues from across Scotland to create an online course for recent graduates who are currently looking for, or are in, their first professional jobs. Perhaps you have had to change your plans and now feel less certain about the future. Or maybe you are still looking for that moment of career inspiration. Covering a broad range of topics, but with a clear focus on short tasks and positive action, we have developed this course for you to aim to answer that important question: ‘What Next?’ 

Careers Support for Life

As a Stirling graduate you have access to the Careers and Employability Service for life. We continue to offer 1-2-1 support for career guidance, application and interview support; our Careers and Employability Consultants will be online throughout the summer and beyond to meet with you. We have appointments available now and you can book via TARGETconnect; alternatively, you can use TARGETconnect to submit careers questions, or upload a CV for review. If you haven’t already re-registered as a graduate on TARGETconnect you will need to do so to continue your access to all the vacancies, events and appointments you could as a student.

Keep in Touch

We love to know what our graduates go on to do and hearing your success stories makes our day! Keep in touch with us – we’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and use your alumni community to stay connected to Stirling. You will be contacted in 15 months to find out what you are doing at that point and asked to take part in the national Graduate Outcomes Survey which will show where Stirling graduates are and what they are doing. Graduate Outcomes is the biggest UK annual social survey and captures the perspectives and current status of recent graduates. This builds a picture of employability for Universities across the UK and your participation is hugely appreciated.

Once again, congratations on graduating from the University of Stirling. You did it!