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Guide to navigating the post-graduation landscape

by Nic Cater May 21, 2014

Exams drawing to a close? Not considering continuing in academia any time soon?

Then you're probably facing a choice between starting work as soon as possible or lining something up for after Summer, perhaps following a stint volunteering or travelling. How can you ensure you secure your perfect job, when you're ready for it?

Work experience wins out

Over half of the top 100 graduate employers (surveyed recently by High Fliers) repeated their warnings from previous years, that:

'Graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes'.

So experience is key to gaining a foothold on the career ladder, but how is it best to gain it? Well, you broadly have two options....


Aside from being able to carry that solid work ethic that you built up during finals over to a commercial setting, an immediate start can be advantageous because:

  • there is little delay to you gaining valuable work experience early on

  • you start earning immediately (and can start to chip away at that that student loan repayment)

Though at this point it's a little late for grad schemes kicking off this June, there are plenty of non-scheme/entry level roles (at more boutique companies for example)  that are available at this time of year. These often offer young graduates broader exposure to both senior figures and allow you more variety in your work.


Dead set on taking some time off after 3+ years of lectures, essays and exams? Very understandable! Just make sure you try and line something up for your return.

Once you're back, a couple of days deciding where you want to go with your life can very quickly turn into a couple of weeks... and then a couple of months... especially if you're unsure what your next step should be. Taking the time now to find something will mitigate the risk that you're left with an early CV gap.

It's also a good idea to try and combine your travelling with something more directly transferrable to the working world. While experience of other peoples and cultures is great for broadening your horizons, combine this with something like volunteering or getting a small work placement and you'll enjoy the best of both worlds...
...sun, sea and skills for the CV!

Quick fix: short term analytical projects!

A great way of building your commercial experience, either while looking for a role, or before you head off travelling, is through interim project work. Freshminds Projects Team places analytical graduates (up to experienced consultants) on short to medium term insight projects to affect, change and solve business critical issues. Please contact us if you'd be interested in interim projects.

How can we help?

Our graduate roles cover a broad range of sectors from consulting to finance to retail. Head over to our jobs page to view all our most recent jobs.

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