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By Rob Pritchard
26th May 2017

It’s reaching that crunch time for students across the country, attempting to scram in every last detail as you revise for your final exams having submitted your thesis and dissertations! You’re about to graduate and enter the world of employment – if you’re anything like me at this time you’ll definitely be a little anxious, as it’s a little fear of the unknown without the safety net of education (it’s normal, don’t worry). You have a fresh slate to embark on an exciting career in the field of your choice, this is a massively exciting time…

I graduated 4 years ago (scary thought) where I graduated in marketing (I’m now in recruitment – not related, but this does happen and I’ll explain why I chose this later!) I’ve had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoy every day of what I do. I’ve recruited within Data for the UK, the Middle East and now the US, and have helped many candidates along the way find their dream roles. The way I have formed decisions about my career has always been about asking myself honest questions and always relying on gut feel. 

So, you're fresh out of university, you've just arrived back home and before you've even had the chance to unpack, a sudden reality dawns upon you - what do I do now? Being a recent graduate isn’t easy. The last few years of your life have most likely been in a stable comfortable, social environment and now a lot is about to change as you enter the unknown world of full time employment (a scary place, you've heard all about the people who see work as a chore, and you don't want to be the same as them...) BUT there’s a lot to be excited about in securing your first role and embarking on a career within your chosen field. Before you do that however, there are a few questions to ask yourself in order to find that perfect role and take that first step in your career…

1.What's your passion in life?

It’s vital to enjoy your work and relate it to your interests and hobbies away from work. Nobody wants to work in an environment that they can’t relate to, or just have no interest in whatsoever. Take some time to think about potential industries that relate to these interests, degree related or not! Picture yourself in a similar career in 10 – 15 years’ time and really enjoying yourself (maybe a role which you can tell your friends about without boring yourself!) If you can picture this for the long term then you’re probably on to a winner.

2. Play to your strengths

Are you a people person? Creative? Analytical? List your skills and be honest. There are loads of great personality assessment tools out there, which can really help with this. Giving yourself praise or considering your weaknesses is often the hardest thing to do. Ask those closest to you what they think you’re good at and what you’re not so good at; you’re likely to be surprised at what friends and family believe your strengths and weaknesses are. After these are listed, relate these skills to a role in which you can see yourself showcasing your talents and really making a great impact.

3. Have you enjoyed your degree – or was it more of a chore?!

Personally, I found my degree a little repetitive and a little out of date by the time I was eventually ready for the working world. This obviously differs for every degree, but if you did enjoy your degree then excellent, however there are many people who decide that after 3 – 4 years of being devoted to a particular subject that it is simply no longer for them. If this is the case then not to worry. Skills and knowledge gained during a degree are transferable and can be built upon in another career. It's never too late to change direction. If our career paths were all a straight line, then, well...where's the fun in that? Don't be afraid to say something is not for you; it's more admirable and brave than anything else.

4. Why stay at home? 

Relocation is proving more and more popular, and it is certainly a lot easier these days to up and leave and start a new role in a new country! There are some fantastic locations that can really accelerate your career (the UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia to name a few) and I have been lucky enough to work abroad in the past 4 years and thoroughly enjoyed it, and would always recommend this as an option. 

One of my main objectives after university was to land a job that wasn’t dull – and the world of Data Science & Engineering recruitment is extremely interesting and always changing. The reality of recruitment really intrigued and interested me - it's finding the perfect match between client and candidate and getting to know and learn about people along the way. I've always enjoyed speaking to people and learning their backgrounds, this was an opportunity to do this every day.

The number one most important thing during this time to remember is not to be afraid, and be confident. It’s likely to be one of the most turbulent times during your life, with lots of changes and setbacks but it’s also the most exciting and unchartered. You’re about to embark on a journey within the working world, the best thing you can do is enjoy the ride. It's only the start of the rest of your life, no big deal...

What are the questions that will help you work out where you want to work? I'd love to hear your thoughts…

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best Information Management and Data Analytics jobs. For more career advice follow KDR on LinkedIn and Twitter.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn. To read the original blog click here

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