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Your degree, what next?

You've worked hard to achieve your degree, now you need to research all of your options to ensure that you make the most of it

Find your ideal career

First of all you should narrow down the type of work you might enjoy using a career-planning tool such as what jobs would suit me? This will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your likes and dislikes.

Once you've built up a more detailed picture of yourself, the next stage is to look at options with your subject to see jobs related to your degree and a list of skills you will have gained on your course.

This may highlight jobs that you haven't previously considered. If you like the sound of one of the roles, find out what's involved, how much you'll be paid and the skills you need to break into the role with our types of jobs.

Get a job

Once you know more about the role you want, the next step is to see what's out there and search graduate jobs. You can also sign up for job alerts to get relevant opportunities sent straight to your inbox.

An invaluable exercise is attending a careers fair as not only will it help you to choose a job it could also help you to network and make contacts for future use.

To improve your chances of landing a job, get work experience and internships and find out what skills employers want.

Average starting salaries

The average graduate salary for those in full-time jobs in 2011/12 was between £18,345 and £22,535. This will vary depending on the role you have, where in the country you're employed and the type of company you choose to work for.

Whatever your salary, one of the benefits of having a degree is increased earning power. Over a working lifetime, men will earn £120,000 more than those without a degree and women £82,000 (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).

For specific salary information, see types of jobs.

Set up a business

Being your own boss seems like an idyllic life, away from the drudgery of a 9 to 5 job. Don't be fooled, going freelance, starting your own company or buying into an existing business takes dedication and hard work before you can reap the benefits.

If you choose this route you won't be alone as 5% of graduates are self-employed six months after graduation. The majority of these are art, design and media professionals but other roles include:

  • gardeners and landscape gardeners;
  • fitness instructors;
  • therapy professionals.

Find out more about self-employment.

Do further study

After achieving your undergraduate degree you could join the thousands of others who continue studying. However, this can be expensive so you need to make sure you have good reasons and an end goal before you make any commitments. Further study can help you to:

  • change career direction;
  • enter a profession that needs a specific qualification;
  • further your career;
  • pursue a passion for a particular subject.

Nearly half of all graduates that go on to further study do a Masters degree and another one in five complete a postgraduate qualification in education. If you decide that further study is for you then there are a number of other postgraduate qualifications you could choose from including:

One of the most important factors when deciding to do further study is how you will pay for it. From a Research Council grant to a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL), get advice on funding postgraduate study.

If you've decided that further study is for you then you should begin by searching courses and research opportunities and signing up for course alerts.

What do other graduates do?

Graduates tend to head back home and work in the same region that they were living in before going to university. Of those that bucked this trend around a fifth were attracted by the bright lights and headed to London to work, while only one in nine graduates saw the attraction of Wales, North East England and Northern Ireland.

If you're a programmer or software developer you should head to the South East, South West and Northern Ireland where this is one of the top ten roles on offer, while for marketing jobs its London.

Business and finance-related roles are among the top ten jobs in London as you would expect but they also rank highly in Scotland and Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

In every region, the top ten jobs for graduates also include nurses, sales and retail assistants and medical practitioners.

To find out what graduates in your subject area are doing six months after graduation see options with your subject.

Graduate destinations
Destinations Percentage
Employed 67.7%
Further study 13%
Unemployed 8.5%
Working and studying 5.9%
Other 4.9%
Types of work entered in the UK
  Percentage
Health professionals  13.8%
Retail, catering and bar work 13.7%
Business, HR and financial 8.8%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 8.5%
Other 55.2%
 

Graduate destinations data from What Do Graduates Do? 2013.

 

Further information

 
 
Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
Date: 
March 2014
 
 

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