All of my friends and I got into university after high school. That was no problem. But not all of us found a job at the end of our degree.
We were all similar people – ambitious, hardworking and all enrolled in reputable universities. Sure, we all wanted to end up in different places – one of my friends was studying vet, another media, another commerce – but I never even considered that any of us would have the slightest trouble in landing a graduate job.
But guess what?
Only two of us found a full-time job related to our degree within the first six months of graduating.
Degrees don’t guarantee jobs. Industry connections are what puts you at the front of the job queue.
Unfair? Maybe. But in my experience it is absolutely true. It’s not enough to finish uni with a shiny degree, you need to have a connection or an introduction that will help you bridge the gap into a job.
Relevant industry contacts aren’t the norm for most of us. My dad doesn’t know what digital advertising is, let alone know someone who could give me advice. Nor did my university teach me about the types of companies I could apply to for a job.
And it seemed like by the time I finished university (with great marks) I was already behind my friends who went to a different uni to me. They seemed to have been hooked up with industry connections by their uni lecturers, had done placements at some great organisations, and were all offered jobs well before I was.
Was I naïve?
Yes and no. I think that when you start university the last thing on your mind is the job that comes after the degree. It’s so far away. And, of course you’ll find a job. You’re the exception to the rule.
You’re surrounded by success stories and don’t even consider that you won’t ‘make it’.
But that’s why I’m contributing this article – so current high school students can learn from my mistake!
So what do you do?
You need a degree, but you also need experience. You need to be working on developing real skills in real companies while you’re at university. I recommend choosing a uni that promotes industry connections and has work experience embedded in the course. This means that you won’t need to rely on cold-calling a company, because you’ll already have the contacts when you’re looking for a job.
*Australian University Ratings and Rankings 2017/2/018, The Good Universities Guide
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