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WORKING LIFE AFTER STUDIES

will I FIND A JOB?

Graduating and transitioning to working life is a phase that can create feelings of uncertainty about one’s skills and ability to find a job. However, the moment of graduation requires a tolerance for uncertainty. You need to be confident in your abilities and adequacy, although this can be difficult when you have little experience of working life.

It’s easy to start comparing yourself to others: others seem more competent and capable. This can be accentuated when you hear news of your fellow students finding a job. However, it is worth remembering that for many people, finding a job takes time. Many people experience one or more periods of unemployment early in their careers.

AM I READY FOR WORK?

You may be asking yourself: Have I studied enough to be as competitive as possible in the labour market? Will I be able to find a job that matches my education even if I have no work experience in the field? After graduation, you may also start wondering whether the field is right for you at all.

If at the moment of graduation, you’re thinking about what else you should study to increase your employment prospects, it’s worth remembering that only by entering the world of work can you get an idea of what additional skills are needed. In any case, further training will be part of your career: you’ll need to update and strengthen your skills.

It can be helpful to discuss your field and direction with someone who is doing work that interests you and has a similar educational background. If you can’t find such a person in your circle of acquaintances, you can use LinkedIn to find contacts.

SHOWCASING YOUR SKILLS

It is common to graduate without work experience in one’s field. Showcasing one’s skills can be difficult. If you have limited work experience, you can describe your skills through your studies:

  • What skills you have acquired during your studies;
  • What questions and themes have been addressed in the studies;
  • What you would like to do with the competence you have acquired during your studies;
  • What kind of work experience you have gained during traineeships.

It can be difficult to find the right words to describe your skills in a job application. In addition, over the years, studies accumulate a wide range of skills that can be difficult to translate into words when looking for a job. The following exercises can help:

OUTLINING YOUR SKILLS THROUGH A LIFE PATH

Draw your life path. Record events and things on the path. Then, write down in words the skills related to the events.

Finding skills in different areas of life 

This exercise will help you outline the knowledge you have accumulated from your studies, hobbies, and other activities, in the following way:

“In my studies, I have learned about themes A and B. My minor subject/thesis adds to my knowledge of theme C. In my work/hobbies/volunteering, I have learned about themes D, E, and F. As a person, I am… In the future, I want to… “

For your job search, you can seek career guidance or job search advice which is available both face-to-face and online. You can also find career guidance at your university.

This article has been written with the help of tips provided by Leena Itkonen, a career guidance specialist at the University of Helsinki.