If this is your last year at university, I know what you’re thinking; as much as you feel relieved that the journey is coming to an end, you’re probably overwhelmed by what comes next and how to start that journey. Don’t worry, you're not alone and I’m here to help!
Here are some tips that will help you prepare for graduation:
1- Take up a part-time job or an internship, or simply freelance!
One of the most important things you need to do for yourself is to gather relevant experience in your field while you are still studying. This can be done through internships or part-time jobs or even by freelancing independently. If you feel like it is hard to balance studies and work, consider doing it over the summer break. This way you are graduating with some work experience that will be beneficial when looking for a full-time job after graduation. And if you are lucky enough, that part-time job might turn full time or you might get several recommendations out of it!
2- Find what you love and grow in it
Having a part-time job or internship also helps you figure out what you enjoy doing the most and what your weaknesses and strengths are. For example, I went into university studying Mass Communication thinking I want to be part of anything related to TV or Radio but I wasn't sure of what exactly I wanted. I ended up working for BHTV in my third year of university, shooting television programs, documentaries and learning all about production. As much as that was fun, I knew I didn't want to do it forever. As I later minored in Multimedia, I was leaning more towards content creation and slowly getting into it. With time, I was sure that content creation and digital marketing is what I enjoy and want to pursue. I started freelancing as a social media manager and later did an internship with Majra after which I joined full time! All I’m saying is, you never know until you try, go out there and explore!
3- If you are a creative, your priority is your portfolio
Employers rarely care about your GPA but rather your skills and capabilities. In other words, what you can do for them. As a creative, you want to make sure that you have a neat portfolio that presents your work and how cool you are! You can build that up as a university student until you graduate. Freelancing helps a lot here too as you can add some of your best work into your portfolio. You can find more tips on building a portfolio here in this useful article by Younis Attiya.
4- Network, network, and network!
Landing opportunities won’t happen if you don’t go out there and show them who you are! Networking is so important because when people know you or know someone who knows you, they are more likely going to be interested in you and your work. People naturally lean towards what they know or have some knowledge of rather than the unknown and so, not being a complete stranger helps you stand out when applying for opportunities. Especially, if your cv and portfolio are great too. So go out there, attend events, meet people in your field and use social media as your tool.
5- Block out the negative comments and stay focused
We all heard those “you will never find a job in that field” or similar comments throughout our university life. Reality is, there are opportunities out there and even if there weren’t, you can create them for yourself. Before focusing on finding a job, you should focus on figuring out what you like doing the most first and be more knowledgeable and experienced in that field, which brings us back to point 2. If you know what your strengths and passions are, finding the right opportunities for yourself will be easier.
6-Never stop learning
After graduation, the real practical learning journey begins. Make sure that once you know what you want to do, that you do your homework! Research, ask friends in the same field, read or listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Make sure you constantly stay updated on new technologies especially if you work in IT or any digital field.
To conclude, your final year is all about exploring your career path and what you want to pursue. Take your time, learn and learn some more. I hope you found this article to be useful and I wish you all good luck in what’s next!