My life this time last year painted a very different picture of how it is now. I’d just finished my MSC in Digital Marketing and was working part-time in a department store. I would spend every spare minute scrolling through job sites such as Indeed and perfecting my CV. Please read on if you’re in the position where you’ve just finished university and the prospect of getting stuck into the world of work frightens you a little bit. I share my top 5 career development tips on making the transition to the world of work.

The ‘Lost’ Stage 

Ok, you’ve graduated from university, you have these amazing new skills so what’s next? In my experience, I felt an enormous high from graduating but about a week later the buzz wore off. I left wondering in what direction my career was going.

From starting university I always knew I would be in the marketing and advertising industry. I had a passion for content creation and loved writing so I knew it was the right career choice for me. However, I knew that marketing was a competitive industry. Living in Newcastle Upon Tyne, the jobs are very limited so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride. Nevertheless, I applied for as many marketing jobs as I could in the area and the waiting game began.

After months of countless applications, and a few unsuccessful interviews, I was starting to lose hope and my confidence. However, in October 2019, I was offered a position as a marketing assistant for a SAAS company, Oak Engage.

Venturing into the Unknown 

Joining a B2B software company was something completely out of my comfort zone. Most of the work I produced at university centred around B2C work. However, this was something different and I wanted to grab the opportunity by the horns to kick start my marketing career.

Nine months later and things couldn’t have worked out better. During my time at Oak, I have worked with some high-profile businesses to produce case studies, produced successful social media campaigns, and enhanced my writing skills through creating regular blog content.

One thing I love about my job is the level of trust from management. Working in marketing means I have a creative flair and enjoy running with my own ideas. Having the freedom to work on projects that I enjoy and being trusted to produce successful results is a real confidence booster.

Tips on the Transition 

I feel the support and guidance after graduating from my university was pretty non-existent. There was a severe lack of marketing prospects when attending job fairs. Most of my lecturers didn’t take much interest in what I was going to do after university.

So, here are my top career development tips on how to manage the transition from university to starting your career.

  • Experience is Key  

Something you’ve probably heard before, but I can’t stress enough the importance of gaining work experience throughout your time at university. While at university, I obtained 5 work placements, all in different sectors – public relations, advertising, journalism, marketing, and design. Completing these work placements enabled me to gain a wide range of skills I use in my job today.

Even if it’s just a few weeks during the summer break, it shows commitment and also puts you ahead in the competitive job market.

  • Early Bird Catches the Worm  

Obviously, the final year of university is a stressful time for many and there’ll be plenty on your mind than applying for jobs. However, starting to plan out what you want to do after university early on could help you in the long run.

By no means do you have to start sending applications out left, right, and centre before you’ve even got your degree. Putting a career development plan in place about the path you want to go down could save you time later.

  • Don’t Stop Doing What You Love 

If you don’t obtain a job relating to your degree straight after university, it can be easy to fall into the trap of not working on anything to do with your chosen career.

For me, I found it useful to keep working on my own marketing projects. I set up my own Instagram based food blog and made an effort to update the blog weekly. Having this on my CV really helped me in interviews and was a great conversation starter.

  • Cover Letters Do Matter

You’ve spent a good chunk of your time filling out an application and now they’re asking you for a cover letter. They may seem like a pain to complete but cover letters do matter and employers do read them.

In fact, many employers won’t give your application the time of day if you don’t have a cover letter, so make sure you include any details that your CV doesn’t cover.

  • Don’t Lose Hope 

Last but certainly not least is probably the most important point this article will cover – never give up.

Trying to find the right job after university can be tough. Obviously, the current climate has made that situation more stressful for many. Although job rejections can be disheartening, try not to let it knock your confidence. Nobody said it was easy. Hopefully, these tips will have you on the right career development path in no time.

Thanks for this post go to our friend Emily Lavin, Marketing & Communications Specialist at Oak Engage.