Finished: what next?

Have you graduated from Studentville with a shiny new degree, but no clue what your next move will be? The Mix breaks down your options, from the tempting postgraduate course, to the coveted perfect job, to the gap year travelling.

boy hiding behind money

"If I hide behind these notes, maybe I'll never have to pay them back?"

The perfect job

You may not have been quick off the mark in applying for jobs but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one, and a good one at that. First visit your University careers service or local job centre and make sure your CV is up to scratch, then start to scour newspaper job supplements and job websites. Also contact organisations you’d like to work for to see if they have any suitable vacancies. If you find a job you love the look of, brush up on your application and interview skills and apply away.

The work-your-way up job

If the jobs in your area are looking fairly dull why not take a job lower down the ladder but for a company you like and try to work your way up. If nothing else the job should offer you networking opportunities by the glassful and you can always keep an eye/ear out for a better position.


While temps get little by way of job security, they do get good work experience and half-decent pay. There’s also a very real possibility that your job could turn permanent. Sign yourself up to a temping agency and let them find the work for you, but do remind them of your existence if the work offers are few and far between. Pick an agency by recommendation if you can, there are a few rip-off merchants out there.

Doing a year abroad

Whether you regret not taking a gap year or you just fancy some time off before settling down to the world of work, a year abroad can be beneficial to you and your CV. Volunteering on an overseas project, doing a TEFL and teaching English, or just going away to get some perspective on your career goals, it’s all good if you can afford it.

Start your own business

Fancy being the next Branson? Becoming an entrepreneur is far from impossible so long as you take your time and plan well. Contact The Prince’s Trust or Livewire for advice and a possible loan or grant.

Becoming a freelance

If you don’t mind some hard graft but hate the thought of all those office politics, then maybe freelancing is for you. There is plenty of scope to earn good money freelancing, but it’s rarely the case that you will do so immediately. Making contacts and getting contracts can be near on impossible for those starting out, which is why it may be worth doing the nine-to-five slog first, and getting to know the right people before you take that plunge.


This can be a great option whether you work for free to do a dream job or you’re just boosting your CV while you make up your mind on what you really want to do. Make sure you can afford to volunteer, there’s no point starving yourself for the privilege.

Further study

It might feel like the last thing you want to do right now, but further study can be useful for some careers. To find out if more study is the right move for you, check out our postgraduate study article.

Next Steps

  • Prospects is the UK's official graduate jobs website.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.




Updated on 29-Sep-2015