You’ve made it! You’ve completed your studies, got yourself a degree, and had your graduation photos taken by the loch…so now what? Life after University can be exciting and terrifying in equal measure! Some graduates have a plan, some graduates plan to have a plan and some just don’t want to think about plans at all. Whatever stage you are at in your career thinking, don’t forget you can use the Careers and Employability Service any time after you graduate. They are around throughout the year and as a University of Stirling graduate you have access to careers information, advice and guidance for life.

Don’t panic

If you’re not sure what you want to do, you’re not alone. In our recent exit survey 35% of students graduating indicated they were undecided about their next steps. Take some time to think about what you’re good at and what you really want to do. Have a look at our Exploring Career Ideas guide and start to work out which direction you would like your career to go in. There are lots of options and as long as you’re gaining experience and developing your skills, there’s no wrong answer to the question of what to do next.

Graduate Schemes

A graduate scheme is a structured training programme run by an employer to develop future leaders of their organisation. These graduate schemes, which usually last between one and two years, are often available in a number of specialisms ranging from finance, retail, HR and marketing to management and law. On a graduate scheme, you’ll be given responsibility from the outset, and the opportunity to gain real hands-on experience and develop your key skills. They are usually open to graduates from any degree discipline and will ideally look for candidates with effective communication, organisational and leadership skills.

Larger organisations usually recruit for their graduate schemes between September and December to start the following June/July. Don’t worry if you miss these though – many employers have ongoing deadlines. Companies like Amazon, Aldi, FDM Group, KPMG, PwC, Teach First, Vodafone, IBM, BP and many more have rolling deadlines and recruit throughout the year. Graduate schemes are also only one of many routes you can chose to take after University

Graduate Internships

Graduate Internships are a brilliant way of gaining experience – particularly in a field you have maybe not worked in before. They are short term paid placements (usually 6-12 months) and offer you the chance to try out a role and see if it is an area you would like to develop your career in. Organisations like ScotGrad and Adopt an Intern recruit on behalf of companies and offer graduate internships in everything from Marketing to Product Design. The Open University also have a great online resource for graduate job hunting regionally across the UK.

Travel

You might want to take some time out after you graduate and see the world. Companies like STA Travel specialise in student travel and can help with your travel plans to make sure you get the most out of your trip. You may want to work or volunteer while you are travelling. You can use GoinGlobal to find out about opportunities abroad and information on applying for jobs in different countries, visas and cultural etiquette. If you are a graduate of the University of Stirling, you can still access this resource for free but you will need to contact the Careers and Employability Service to get a login. Voluntary Services Overseas or GVI can give you more information on international volunteering opportunities.

Further study

Many graduates choose to continue their studies in order to focus or specialise in a certain area. You should speak to a Careers and Employability Consultant if you are considering this as they are able to provide you with independent advice and have access to up-to-date postgraduate data. You will usually need to apply between March-July for a postgraduate course that starts in September or October the same year. It’s best not to leave it until the last minute as spaces are allocated at the applications come in. You’ll also need to find out about funding your postgraduate study – there is lots of useful information on the UCAS website about this.

Degrees Open Doors

No matter what you’re graduating in, we know that your degree will open many doors for you. The skills and experience you have gained throughout your studies will prove extremely valuable as you take your next steps. Follow our #DegreesOpenDoors campaign on social media to find out about the varied and unexpected career paths that some people have had, and feel reassured that it will all work out for you in the end.