If you don’t have a graduate programme, don’t worry!

There is so much focus on graduate programmes that it can feel like they are the only options available to you. Of course, this is not true, only the minority of graduates start their career this way, and there are plenty of other options. So, you may ask what are these other options? Well, there are many, but here’s a few to get you started:

1. You could work for yourself: 

If you have an entrepreneurial mindset and are driven, you could set up your own business. Working for yourself is worth considering and is a great option for many graduates, particularly with marketing, technology or engineering backgrounds. Being your own boss has many advantages. You can work independently and choose your own hours. You are also in complete control of the direction of the business. However, there are some considerations before you jump in and start investing your hard-earned cash, or borrowing the funds needed for a start-up. 

Do you have what it takes?

New start-ups take considerable amounts of time and resources, you will spend endless hours building your base of clients and customers, developing your product or service and developing your company’s visibility… You can expect to be working far beyond what is considered to be normal working hours. This takes drive, ambition, and a profound work ethic!

Do you have business experience?

Running a business is not easy, particularly if you have very little to no experience in business and marketing. Making a product is one thing but finding clients, account keeping, marketing your product, and logistics is also very important. You will need to know what makes your product or services unique, the consumer base you are targeting, and your competitors. You will also need a well-researched business plan with realistic objectives, particularly if you wish to secure start-up funding. Don’t consider starting your own business unless you have some knowledge of what’s required in these areas.

Can you finance your start-up?

Start-ups are typically expensive; you need to calculate how much money it will take to finance your business. You will likely need a loan or investment to cover the initial set up costs. Thankfully, there are support agencies such as Enterprise Ireland: www.enterprise-ireland.com, your local enterprise office: www.localenterprise.ie and in Northern Ireland you have www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk in which you can contact and find out if you are entitled to business support and funding.

If you have answered all these questions, feel positive and are willing to put in the hard work needed when starting your own business, then this might be the path for you!

2. Choose to take part in a postgraduate course:

There are many good reasons to do a postgraduate course, but make sure you know what they are before you consider doing one, and how the course can benefit your future plans! Postgraduate study can help you progress your career, give you specialist knowledge within a particular area, or allow you to try something different and explore a new career! You have many options when it comes to postgraduate study, with an abundant number of courses available today. Click here and get further details on courses available to you.

Further study has also become more accessible due to the different methods of learning available. You can study part-time, distant learn, or choose a blended learning approach. Each of these options allows you to choose a study route that is accessible and right for you! 

However, postgraduate courses can be expensive, although, they have become more affordable with scholarships being awarded to students and the introduction of springboard courses. Springboard courses are free courses that offer higher education degrees and postgraduate level degrees in sectors undergoing huge growth. Visit: www.springboardcourses.ie to find more information. 

You may ask yourself if further study is right for you. Here are some things you should consider:

  • Don’t do it purely for projected future salary benefits
  • Don’t do a postgraduate course if you are not sure what area you want to specialise in. If you’re still not sure, you should do work experience in different areas to find out what best suits your interests.
  • Do a postgraduate course if you want to get further knowledge in your area of expertise
  • Do a postgraduate course to become better aware of how you can develop your career in a particular area.

This is a decision that should not be made rashly. Ask your family, friends, and your campus Careers Services for advice, and check out the gradireland directory here.

3. Take time out: 

There is a lot of pressure when you finish your degree to have your life mapped out and, a perfect career plan, but this is just not realistic! Everyone’s path is different; some choose to work straight away, others choose a postgraduate course. You might want some time to figure out what your next steps are, and that is also ok. 

Taking time out can be beneficial to you for many reasons, it gives you a break from work, study, and responsibilities. It allows time for personal growth and to try new things. This could be anything from travel and experiencing cultures, to volunteering, work experience, or learning a new skill. All these activities will prepare you for your next steps in your career or studies! Just be sure to fill that gap with enriching and beneficial activities that can build your CV!

For more information on what options are available to you, check out the gradireland Directory here.

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