17 Next Steps To Take After Your Degree
There are so many people currently in the university system and many more who have passed through the system. But after your degree, what’s next?
This is a question that is common to fresh graduates. It is not just a question you are asked by your parents, family, or society but a question you also ask yourself.
May I submit it to you that though the question is easy to ask, the answer is not? 😥
Completing your bachelor’s degree indicates the end of an era – undergraduate studies. You and I know that the end of an era is the beginning of another era.
This is the era of a world of choices. You are required to make a lot of decisions and I can confirm to you that they are a number of creative things to do after graduation. 😆
There are several other choices after your bachelor’s degree and each one is unique, but before you take the next step, you could take a cue from some of the choices other people have made.
A wise man said the best time to prepare for your goals was yesterday, and the next best time is now.
If you really want to know what is next after your degree or graduation, you should start planning what you want to do before you leave.
Without further ado, join me as I show you some next steps to take after your degree. I’ll also tell you about how to position yourself for further studies.
1. Develop your writing skills
By now, you should start practising how to write a good CV and cover letter.
Learn how to sell and market yourself well. If what you do is grind tomatoes and pepper, it will sound better if you say you engage in the processing of condiments😀.
It’s all about marketing with the right words. So, choose the best words that sell you best. You can also choose to join a freelance writing team that would improve your current writing skill.
2. Take up a research assistant position
This is another way to remain in the school system. Many university lecturers are looking for fresh graduates to help with research. You are in the right spot since fresh graduates are usually required for the position.
You already have the basic experience when you wrote your first project during your undergraduate days. You just need a little guidance from your supervisor to make you fit for the new research.
One of the perks of research is that it cut across all disciplines viz. science, arts, and social science. If you can think of it, there is a high probability there is research for it and it will need a research assistant – you!
Contact any of your professors in your previous institution or just reach out to the researchers in your field to know how you can offer your assistance in their research.
3. Develop your public speaking skills
Don’t run away from opportunities to stand in front of people, embrace oral presentation opportunities. Seek such opportunities out.
Don’t be shy about speaking publicly. If you still do, it’s a weakness you should work on. You could run for a public office in your department that would require you to speak often to an audience.
You can also decide to join a unit in a fellowship or your community that would give you the opportunity to speak to about 500-1500 people at once.
These experiences will be useful especially in getting a job or scholarship opportunities.
Another step that could help your career is volunteering. There are volunteering opportunities all around you and you just have to find one that suits you well and is relevant to your career.
You stand to gain and sharpen both your soft and hard skills when you volunteer. Volunteering provides you with an avenue to refine your skills like leadership, communication, team spirit, adaptability, and task management.
Opportunities to meet a lot of people and build your network is also something you should think about. Volunteering might lead to a permanent job because volunteering gives you the avenue to showcase yourself.
An interested recruiter may spot you and your skills easily. Volunteering also helps to boost your CV after your degree.
5. Work towards writing some exams
Further studies abroad can be a good place to start. With a 2-1 or first class, you should be able to get a scholarship in many countries.
After your degree, if you still feel like you should return to the university, one good way is to pursue a postgraduate study by searching for courses that fit your career.
What you need is the appropriate information and there are lots of that on the internet.
The most important exams in this regard are the English exams (IELTS and TOEFL) and the GRE. This book will help you ace IELTS once and for all.
Some people find the cost of these exams prohibitive and would prefer to search for schools that don’t require them.
The problem with that is, it limits your options and you’ll be competing with a larger pool of applicants.
So if you’re interested in studying abroad on a scholarship irrespective of your degree, nothing should stop you from preparing ahead. There’s no distinction between HND and BSc in the United States.
Other sites for some scholarships will be helpful such as:
That is called good/timely planning. These exams can be very tough for you at your current level, but if you start early, you should be able to work around them.
6. Learn to write motivational letters
Most scholarships will require you to write a personal statement or motivation letter. It’s better to start learning how this is done and start practising right away.
Your personal statement is very important and also part of the whole ‘marketing yourself’ game. With Google, you can get many examples of what makes a good statement.
7. Get technical skills
Learn technical skills that could be useful to you in the future. It’s like an engineer having a toolbox. Not every tool is used at once.
Some tools might be there for months without being used but someday, they’ll come in handy.
I have a colleague that studied chemistry as a degree and made an outstanding grade, but in addition, he learned some engineering skills in system designs, and that was what got him a job in a multinational company in the midst of top engineers.
First, he had to first get a good grade which gave him an edge, and then, the engineering skill he learned along the way gave him the job.
So, commit yourself to self-development which depends on what you want and where your passion lies. You have to address that first.
8. Go into public service
A public service job is akin to a volunteer job but they are not the same. Some public service jobs are volunteer jobs. You can take up an appointment with any of the public service organizations.
Some of these organizations give some kind of incentives to fresh graduates like you as a form of encouragement. You also stand to gain new skills as you render service through the public sector.
One of the misinformation about public services is that it is mainly about education. While education jobs are common with public service, there are other sectors too.
Public service is a great way to perfect your skills with the wealth of seasoned and skilled personnel already in the public sector.
9. Invest in yourself
Take extra courses and certifications if they will be an addendum to your degree or prove valuable to your career.
The truth is, despite how well you prepare yourself locally, there isn’t enough opportunity for everyone, and you might desire to expand your horizon to a global scale.
There are short courses that are not full-fledged post-graduate studies but they are all relevant to your career. There are a plethora of those courses around which could help strengthen your career and professional profile.
Some of these courses are free while others require you to pay a fee. These courses may be as short as a week or as long as a couple of months.
You could also take full time or part-time courses from colleges or trade schools that suits your need. You stand to gain hands-on skills as well as additional qualifications.
10. Get involved in extra-curricular activities
Don’t be narrow-minded after your degree. Learn to diversify. Engage in something.
The importance of extra-curricular activities cannot be underestimated which could range from sports, politics to outreach to the disadvantaged e.t.c.
Discovering oneself is one of the common things graduates do as soon as they graduate. It is a time of exploration that can make you know yourself better. It is the time most people can recognize their innate abilities.
You can take the time to see the world by travelling, learn new languages or pick up useful skills along the way.
You can also engage in all sorts of interesting things that will help you decide what to do with your life. This moment presents opportunities for you to meet new people and cultures.
Then you shouldn’t forget the place of God. He makes all things bright and beautiful.
11. Meet people
Now is a great time to start networking if you haven’t started before. To be quite honest with you, there are some impediments to building a network as a student – at least for most students.
As a student, there are some restrictions about the type and capacity of network you could build but as a graduate, the sky is not a limit, it is the starting point.
With your bachelor’s degree, you already have the basic requirement to optimally start a conversation in any subject matter or gathering.
If you have some free time on your hands, you could spend time with your fellow graduates. Rub mind together on how you can add values to yourselves and help one another succeed.
You might find a lot of useful ideas, carry revolutionary researches and other worthwhile acts. Support your colleges in the ways you can too to help them achieve their goals while you build yourself for your success too.
If you’re passionate about business, you should start attending some business events.
12. Do some online networking
Technology has also made growing your online network much easier. There are professional platforms all around and I am certain that you must have signed up for a couple of them. You can also meet and connect to professionals in your field online.
A higher percentage of undergraduates spend their time building their profiles on social media. While that is okay as an undergraduate, you might need to reconsider your priorities now that you have graduated.
You should channel your effort to building a professional profile on professional platforms. You might have had an account on this platform prior to your graduation, but having an account is not enough.
You have to work on your profile to represent yourself very well. Most recruiters now use professional profiles to screen candidates and it’s a shame most job seekers don’t make it past this level.
Once you have your profile up-to-date and appealing, you should also contribute positively to the platforms. For instance, you should have relevant conversations, comment and contribute, write or share valuable articles.
One of such platforms is LinkedIn, I know you must have heard about it. You can use these tips and tricks to get a job on LinkedIn.
13. Build your passion into a business
We all have something we burn for i.e. passion. What do you like to do naturally? Even if you are not paid to do it, would still do it for free?
This may be a skill or knowledge you picked up while in college, during your degree or you’re naturally good at. It might also be a skill you cannot do without. Why don’t you make a business out of it?
You can be a sports instructor, travel advisor, scuba trainer, climbing instructor, tour manager, painter, yoga instructor, organist, drummer, or teacher. There are sites such as Tuteria and Superprof where you can showcase your skills and attract those who need you.
You may also obtain a certificate from governing bodies and set up a business you have a passion for. Investment in your hobby will not only keep you busy but will also generate revenue for you. If you love writing, here is a good place to start.
14. Create an internship for yourself
Getting a rewarding internship might be uncommon but it is possible. Fewer internship opportunities may mean that the demand for them is higher than the supply.
So, instead of waiting and struggling to get an internship, you can create one for yourself. You can reach out to companies to discuss how you can be of benefit to them.
You can define how often you would work, what values you would add to them, and the means of adding those values. When you do these, you can become so valuable to the company that they would retain you, or recommend you should you decide to leave.
You might not be paid but you will surely receive some stipends and incentives which includes experience. You can also build up your CV and expand your network.
Remember, you don’t have to wait for your companies to post a vacancy for an internship, you can make them create the internship position for you if you can win your way with words.
15. Take up a part-time job
This is an option for you if you don’t want to rush into the nine to five race. One of the advantages you get as part-time is flexible work hours.
You get to work less with more free time on your hand to do other things. This is an opportunity to try out different jobs and things you love.
You may also have multiple part-time jobs to try out different types of jobs. This will allow you to have enough information to make decisions as regards your full-time job.
16. Work after your degree
Yeah, that’s right! I wouldn’t leave this out for anything. You are now a graduate and you are eligible to take a job.
You’ve been preparing for this since you were a kid. I mean you’re doing everything to either become an employee or employer of labour. You can either be employed in an organization or become self-employed.
All other steps are, in one way or the other, preparing you to work. A full-time job will help you to unleash your potential and put your knowledge to full use. You will also have the opportunities to gain more skills.
17. Take up a seasonal job
This is akin to a part-time job. Seasonal jobs are either full time or part-time jobs that only become open in their season. It is like a part-time job but on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
Such jobs do not run throughout the whole year. You could become a summer coach, skydiving instructor, take up a position at resorts, cruise ships, or beaches.
Other seasonal jobs include positions in the research/adventure group studying some seasonal phenomena.
While doing some or all of these, don’t forget to rest. Get refreshed while you prepare yourself for whatever comes next. You have laboured for many years and you need to recuperate.
It is just the perfect time to strategize on what you would like to do with your life.
Use the available time to explore your options, connect with your family and college alumni, and build your local network.
One really important tip of all these is not to be idle. Even when you are resting or taking a gap year, engage yourself in a profitable venture. While you are at it, research, and work out all of your options.
See you at the top. I hope this helps 😉