The Reality Of Life After University.

"You will be lost, you will be alone, you will change.."

I'll be honest and say that I was incredibly naive to think that life after University would be sunshine and rainbows, so after quickly being thrown into the very real world, I was terrified to discover that things don't pan out how you want them to. There are thousands of graduates currently in the same boat feeling very lost and afraid because no one ever tells you about how difficult life post university is. It took me a while to post this because I wasn't quite sure where to start but I think sharing one's journey could very well help someone else out there.

"Apply. Apply. APPLY."

Unless you have been incredibly lucky to have secured yourself a job early on, or have a lot of contacts in your chosen industry, then you might be sad to find that getting yourself a graduate job is incredibly difficult. I was lucky enough to have a part time job to fall back on, but I know a lot of my classmates who are struggling to even get menial jobs at the moment which is awful. Luckily as you may know, I managed to find a job two months after finishing which still amazes me till now, because i'll be honest and say that I didn't expect to find anything till late September. My top tip? Apply like your life depends on it. I was very strict with my job applications and applied for a minimum of 5 every single day Monday - Saturday for about seven weeks straight, and I only received about 6 replies from those applications, three were interviews and three were instant rejections. The first two interviews were unsuccessful as both companies wanted a Part 1 student 'with more experience'. The last company I was surprised to see that they had even responded to me because their work was out of this world and I didn't have all the Software skills they needed, but I managed to ace the interview and I started a day after! Now that I look back, I'm very happy the first two companies declined me as to be honest their work wasn't that advanced Architecturally, but the company I'm working for now are amazing and i'm doing things like Parametric design which is so much more than I could ask for. So things always work out well in the end!

"Stand Out!"

Get your CV looking good! Can you imagine how many dull word format CV's in Arial font 12 companies must receive? Make sure your CV stands out especially if you're wanting to work in a creative industry. It shows a good knowledge of creative software like InDesign Photoshop and Illustrator and it's much cooler to look at. Keep it creative but don't go over the top. Two A4 pages are usually the standard. Make sure to have your contact information correct as well as updated references and university grades as some companies shortlist using that info. Here are some pretty cool CV's to inspire you. Also if you have a portfolio send it with your CV even if it's not asked for, I sent to mine speculatively to so many firms! Here's a little bit of mine if you'd like to see.

"Rejection Hurts"

Oh how it stings, but it's part of the process. I cannot stand rejection and like most people I always want things to swing in my favour but unfortunately the world doesn't work like that and put simply you just have to suck it up and take it politely. With each rejection I received I e-mailed back thanking the person for their time and wishing them the best with their newest recruit. Of all the things to e-mail back, saying thank-you for a rejection was not at the top of my list but it had to be done and is generally just a nice thing to do. You have to remember companies get hundreds of applications so for them to even get back to you is pretty amazing. Another tip, if you get to interview stage and find that you don't get the job, respectfully ask them why? If it's because they wanted someone with more experience then you know what you need to work on and it helps to prepare you for the rest of your applications. 

"Connect with people"

My advice for those of you who are still at uni? If you can afford to, try and get some experience via interning under you belt, correct me if i'm wrong but I think unpaid internships are in the process of becoming illegal? So there's a plus! Also, connect, connect, connect! Talk to people about your passions, be friendly and confident, and who knows someone might remember and refer you for a job! Whilst I was still working in the beauty part of the retail industry, anytime I was doing a customers makeup, i'd talk to them about Architecture and my passions and once I managed to speak to a lovely lady who actually gave me her email and helped me search for jobs too as she worked alongside some Architects. LinkedIn is also a great tool for connecting with people and I found tonnes of recruiters looking for fresh energetic graduates so make sure you're looking on there too. I went to the ends of the internet and back during my job hunt and sometimes even applied for jobs twice because that was how much I wanted it. My retail job left me feeling miserable every morning and I hated having to cake my face up everyday with so much makeup and having to meet selling targets. It just wasn't for me, and it really powered up my job search because I simply did not want to be there.

"Keep Positive"

I understand how difficult it is to be constantly told to 'keep positive' when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel but you really have to. The more unhappy you are the harder it is to keep on track. The three things that kept me going were Prayer, My Family and You Guys! My faith really kept me strong when I felt like giving up or changing career paths, as did my family. I'd come home from a long shift at work having had customers yell at me or managers tell me off for not meeting target and come home and cry in frustration and my family would remind me that seasons change and not to give up. Surround yourself with positive uplifting people, have optimistic quotes on your phone and make it a daily affirmation that you WILL succeed and I promise you will. As the saying goes you really do get what you put in sometimes. 

I hope this has helped even one person somewhat, especially those who are going into their final year at University. I'll do another post on studying Architecture at University and how it is working in practice as a woman in a very male dominated career field.

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  1. This is such an inspiring and helpful post. I haven't found my dream job yet since graduating years ago but I'm going back to studying soon for a different course which will help me get a job in digital marketing. If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again! I could never give up on getting a job I'm passionate about. Working in a shop isn't for me either. xx


  2. I've been keeping up with you via twitter as it is and jut want to say congrats with your new job! At this point, I can't exactly fathom what life will be like after university - after post grad for me - and it seems like such a huge hurdle! For that matter, I can't imagine life not studying either! Reading this though has given me the heads up and I look forward to read your next similar post!


  3. This is such a good post and very informative. I really enjoyed looking through the creative CVs and you work! Most of the people I graduated were very lucky in that the jobs they got were through family contacts. I think connecting with people is so important and will definitely help when it comes to job hunting, especially for those people who aren’t lucky enough to have contacts in the job sector you’re interested in.

    I also think it's important to remember not to get hung up on graduate schemes. I know so many people who spent such a long time applying (including myself), whilst they also needed to do uni work. Sometimes applying took priority and I know some people's grades suffered as a consequence. Whilst its amazing to submit a great application and get offered a place on a grad scheme, I think having a good solid degree is really important for most jobs these days.

    Nomad Notebook

  4. These are some super great tips Sade! I struggled for a year looking for work before deciding to go back to uni for my masters, it was so tough! I really liked the tip about making your CV look a bit more interesting, I was constantly changing my CV when applying for jobs but never thought to change it visually too and tbh, it does make sense to try and make it stand out if not only a little bit. Thanks for sharing!
    Saadiya x


  5. This is such a helpful post, I'm already worrying about leaving my course in two years time and I'll definitely be taking all this onboard for all the time that I have left!


  6. Really great post Sade with a lot of helpful tips. I felt incredibly disheartened after finishing university. I didn't apply for anything until I finished my course and it was a real smack in the face initially as I was quite naive about how hard it would be to get a job. An internship really helped me find my feet eventually and though I worked unpaid for several weeks I'd definitely recommend doing an internship to anyone to get some experience in the field they want to work in x

  7. these are awesome tips! you're completely right about universities not educating enough about life after college and the struggle with finding a job! i'm excited for you - sounds like you're really enjoying your new job and you were very proactive in finding one!

    tiffany / tiffanyeatworld

  8. Great post with some very useful tips.
    I have favourited it on Bloglovin'

    BLEURGH - http://www.bleurghnow.com

  9. Oh, wow, you did 5 applications every day but Sunday for 7 weeks, that's 210 applications in total, that's diligence at work. It's very polite of you to reply the companies that rejected you saying Thank you. That might encourage them to bookmark your cv in case a position becomes vacant. Great Advice on here. I'm a long time reader but this is my first time commenting. I'm glad you found your dream job, it can be very frustrating working in an unfulfilling position, and to add to that you had targets and a meann manager. God makes everything perfect in his time and your testimony just gave me hope that I would be working in the perfect Job for my skill set and personality before the end of the year. Thank you Sade :)


  10. Great, great post!! People don't realize how much work it takes to find that "dream job" fresh out of college. I had to start applying months before I even walked the stage. The hard work was worth it in the end though :)

    XoXo Shea L. -----> Kissmychocolate.com

  11. this is a great post! I'll definitely come back to this post down the road

  12. Really good post! So yes, after university it can be really hard. You feel you lose the connection with most of your friends and you'll have to learn how to deal with a big numbers of NO. But you can't give up and insist until one of the answers becomes a yes and be ready to face a brand new life and most likely a brand new you as well :)


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