Now will be a very daunting time, graduating and trying to find a job. Whilst many of you will be relieved to be finishing your degrees at Pearson College London, majority of you will feel quite nervous and uncertain because of COVID. However, it's important to remember that we will continue to be here to support you now that your assessments are finished. That's why we have put together this guide with some top tips for how you can kick-start your careers.

Don’t panic, remember you've got time

Whilst you may be feeling quite worried and uncertain, which is completely normal to feel, remember that you’ve got plenty of time and don’t feel like you are simply required to rush into a job role because you have completed your studies. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to take the time to plan for your future and create some goals. You may feel pressured into trying to apply for graduate roles, but it’s important that you go at your own pace and try to forget the idea that, finding a job is like a deadline. During the current situation, many companies will be doing the same, and planning for their next recruitment schemes, so if you feel that you aren’t having much luck finding a job to apply for, then try to create a realistic and achievable plan.

Use your time wisely, don’t just do nothing

Being at home can create the temptation to just do nothing and relax all day, since you aren’t able to do things that you might have liked to outside your house. However, do try and use your time wisely and be active. Many bad habits can arise when you are demotivated so try to think positively and spend your time doing something that is valuable and can help you to develop your skills and knowledge.

Actively search for opportunities

It’s easy to feel lack of motivation when you don’t see as many opportunities being advertised by companies, but that shouldn’t be an excuse not to keep searching. Many companies have created opportunities for their employees to work from home, like how our students have been learning from home, so this has created some opportunities within some industries and sectors as they are looking for people with digital skills. A big mistake that graduates make, is looking for opportunities only at the top companies, such as ones in the FTSE 100, but there are also opportunities at SMEs and start-ups, especially as they are looking for graduates who can bring fresh and new ideas to their company.

Try and see if you can do some learning

Learning is a great way to pass the time, especially when you are learning about a topic or something that you enjoy exploring. The idea of doing more learning, especially after completing a degree, can seem like a dull thought, but it could give you the opportunity to learn a subject or skill which you may never have even thought of doing. At Pearson College London we launched some free online courses to give everyone an opportunity to explore different subject areas and likewise on Pearson UK Learns. Simply reading some new books or interesting articles can help you to keep up-to-date with contemporary topics and news about various industries. Pablo Maldini once said, “If I have to make a tackle, then I’ve already made a mistake” and, during a webinar, I once said “If I am not learning, then I have already made a mistake”. So, remember to keep your mind active because it can even be as simple as reading a book or watching informative videos.

Think of a hobby you enjoy and see if you can turn it into an opportunity

Only you will know what you enjoy most, whether it be doing something that interests you or trying out something new. This can be turned into an opportunity because you might come across an opportunity that links to your hobbies. Remember when you were completing your final project and your tutors told you to complete it on a project that you are interested in, well many graduates have taken this idea and researched something that interests them and then shown it to a company in that industry and it’s led to work opportunities. Whilst you are looking for a job, try to see if there are any opportunities that link to your hobbies. If you want to turn your business idea into a reality, then check out the Side Hustles Course.

Look for any opportunity, small or big, it could even be asking relatives or friends if there’s any work or projects you can help with

Many of us have big ambitions, which is great, but if you are on the lookout for opportunities, then it might be great to have a look for opportunities to work with a start-up or an SME. As well as these, you might be able to find volunteering opportunities, and whilst the majority of these are unpaid, you will get some fantastic experience and it can certainly lead to great job opportunities. Whilst you may be tempted to search for job at top companies and looking for graduate roles/schemes, you might find an opportunity doing a top role at a smaller company where you have more responsibilities. Remember the idea, ‘Think Global, Act Local’, there might be some local opportunities you find, especially to help during COVID. You can find opportunities through your connections, friends and family, by asking them if they have any opportunities or if you can help them with any work or projects.

Create an opportunity, with a company you like, by formulating a solution for them  

This idea was shared recently with students by Arnold, from the Internships team, and it’s a great piece of advice to help you to really think and be creative. Find a company you like and see if there’s a solution you can come up with, to help that company recover. Then find someone from that company, connect and share the idea, and explain that you are looking for opportunities. Essentially, if you explore and find a company that you like or want to work for, try and act like a consultant by formulating a solution for them, which can help them during this current situation. Sharing ideas like this, with professionals from that company, can help them to remember you and consider you for any opportunities they have. You’ll see many examples of tech companies coming up with solutions for Airlines, among other industries, and you can certainly do the same, remembering what you’ve learnt during your degree.

Virtual Opportunities have been created

As employees are working from home, many companies have changed their strategies and had to adapt to the increase of digital consumption. Companies that haven’t had much presence digitally have had to increase their presence, which has led to many jobs being created for creating digital content. The ability to work independently from your own home, will be something that an employer will admire. Therefore, although you might traditionally enjoy the concept of meeting people in person and networking, you should try and network virtually, on platforms like LinkedIn, to find new opportunities.

Do reach out to us for support, we are here to help you

Although you may have completed your studies, we can still support you and help you with finding opportunities. Our PCLWorkFit Summer Programme is open to all students, even those who have completed their final year, so there’s plenty of opportunities to engage with opportunities and you might find some great food-for-thought after attending one of the sessions.

Head over to the Work Fitness Centre and sign up to the fantastic Work Fit Sessions.

Final remarks

You will probably be tired of relentlessly hearing this, but COVID brings an opportunity to adapt and be resilient to receding during a crisis. Employers will want to know what you did during the COVID-19 era, so it is important that you can be able to justify what you did and why you chose to do that. The situation has led to a whole new idea about working, but has led to many businesses having to adapt rapidly to the change. Therefore, you need to remember that you are in a difficult situation, but the fact that you have shown drive and determination shows a desire to persevere and an ability to be able to remain positive.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and hope it has motivated you, but remember, if you do need to chat to us, then please do so. Tutors and staff are on hand to support you and we want you to succeed.