As an undergrad it can be extremely difficult to juggle the pressures of studying and looking for that elusive graduate job, especially if you’re not sure what career you want.
But it doesn’t have to be.
While we can’t promise your final few moments at university won’t include a few moments of stress, we can promise that the following steps are easy to follow and will help balance studying and your graduate job search.
1. Know what you’re looking for
There’s no point in conducting a thorough job search and application plan if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Therefore, it’s worth spending some time assembling an ‘ideal job’ checklist.
Some elements you might like to consider are:
- Graduate scheme or job?
- ‘Professional’ or ‘unprofessional’ job?
- Part time or full time?
- Type of role and duties
Latest research shows that almost three in 10 students take ‘non-professional’ jobs after graduating such as bartending, cleaning and waitressing. On the flip side, 71% of graduates take up ‘professional’ roles, including vets, dentists, pharmacists and engineers.
Therefore, you should recognise that the pressures of jumping into your first ‘proper’ job once you’ve graduated are no more than a myth. Instead, focus on finding a job that you need and want. For example, a customer service position close to home may suit best, so you can try to fill in that sink hole in your bank account.
Whatever role you choose, it’s important to identify what you’re looking before you start your job applications, otherwise you’ll be eating into your valuable hours of studying.
2. Keep your organisation on point
If you really want to achieve a balance between your job search and studying, you’ve got to make sure your organisation is on point. If you’re not ruthless with your planning and scheduling, some of your priorities may suffer.
Whether you want to use your phone, or one of those snazzy to-do list stationery-holics are going crazy for right now, some form of calendar or planner is a must.
You’ll want to mark all the important deadlines you’ve got coming up on your calendar, and block out the days where you need to focus on your studies. That way, you’ll easily see your busy periods and you can plan you job search accordingly.
While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to squeeze in a job search the day before an exam, you’ll be surprised how much you can achieve with the odd half an hour a day. You could dedicate sometime bookmarking jobs you like the look of one day, and then see which ones you’ll apply for the next, for example.
Therefore, use your to-do list to plan your day-to-day routines including your lectures, study time, job search, and most importantly, ‘me’ time.
3. Source some help if you need
Believe it or not there are some huge benefits of job searching while you’re still at university. The biggest plus by far, is that help is never very far away should you need.
Most universities today have a team of career guidance counsellors that do everything from help you find a job, to spruce up your CV and LinkedIn and hold skill-building workshops. And the best part is, you’ll likely be able to continue using their services even after you’ve graduated, so don’t feel you have to rush your job search while studying.
Help comes in other forms while you’re at university, too.
Other university staff members such as your lecturers and personal tutors fully appreciate that the last chunk of your university life is a tough one because you have so much to balance. Therefore, if you find yourself toppling a little, make sure you keep the right people informed.
Not only will your tutors and lecturers be able to offer advice regarding your situation and the choices you’re making, you might find that there will be room for your deadlines to be extended if the pressure’s a little too much.
Since you’re on the homeward stretch to finishing university, there are probably a fair few things that are scaring you right now – but a balancing a job search and studying shouldn’t be one of them. Follow these steps, keep your cool, and we’ll see you in the working world.