The transition from university to full-time work

Whilst studying at University you can slip into some strange habits – eating cheese toasties at 2am, pulling an all-nighter in the library, napping at all times of the day and believing its perfectly acceptable to pop to the corner shop in your pyjamas.

But before you know it, the three years of discovering your independence are over and relief washes over you that the gruelling dissertation that haunted your dreams has been handed in…

…that is until you realise that you were living in a bubble that’s just been burst and it’s time to enter the real world of working 9 to 5 (shout out to Dolly Parton) and what so many have now come to tell me is “adulthood”.

So…how can you actually navigate the transition from the student bubble to the real world?

Knocking on Doors

The application process can be pretty daunting – firstly, you have to come to a decision of what you actually want to do and then find the roles that accept your lack of work experience (unless you did a work placement, of course). This doesn’t even take into consideration finding somewhere nearby or a location you would be willing – and could afford – to move to.

Try the following:

  • Make a list of your skills, qualifications and experience
    • Keep the design and descriptions simple
    • Find examples/templates online to get some ideas

  • What do you enjoy/are interested in?
    • Do you want your career to coincide with your field of study?
    • What can you see yourself doing in 10 years’ time?
    • Take time to mind map ideas before jumping straight in

  • Now you’ve decided what you want to do, where are the jobs located?
    • Could you commute there?
    • Could you afford and be willing to move?
    • This step is tricky, but important in getting on the career ladder

What I would say is stick it out, keep your CV simple and to the point, and no matter how arduous it may be – keep applying for roles you think you would enjoy.

Meeting Strangers

Congratulations, you’ve bagged yourself an interview! Whether it be over the phone, via Skype or Face-to-Face, interviews are pretty scary – it seems to be a breeze in American sitcoms (or at least relatively comedic) instead you fret over what to wear, get lost on the way there and attempt to appear confident when you finally make it.

So from my own experience, I’d recommend the following:

  • Research, research, research – know the company, the people and what they do
  • Look up typical interview questions online and try to prepare some answers (it may seem like you’re writing a script but it helps to have some in your back pocket)
  • You can never go wrong with a blazer
  • Aim to arrive around an hour before the interview, grab yourself a coffee nearby and relax (it saves you from the frantic panic)

Saying that, no matter how much you prepare this image still comes to mind…

Most importantly, try and take each interview as experience or practice. Rejection is awful, rejection from a job you really wanted is even worse and can make the whole thing feel like a pretty futile experience.

Take it as a learning experience, go back to knocking on doors and you will find something that makes you forget all about that rejection in the first place (for me, that was landing a job at Ministry of Fish, in the heart of my university town with the most welcoming bunch!).

So you’ve got the job, now what?

The first day (or week) is going to be a shock to the system – especially if like me, you went from working a few hours at home to working full-time – you will be tired and will make your way through the office’s tea and coffee supplies. Caffeine will become the best friend you never knew you needed.

You may even feel a little lost or overwhelmed with learning how and what to do but you’ll get there, take it a day at a time and treasure the weekend lie-ins.


Although, I am only coming to the end of my second week…so I’ll keep you posted.