Friday, December 1, 2023

Written by: Cecilia Moore, Employment Counsellor

Post-secondary graduation season is just around the corner. Although it’s just November it’s not too early to start thinking about what this next phase will look like if you are graduating this coming spring. Many of you who are in your final year are starting to consider what this next phase will look like. The feeling of excitement for this next stage can sometimes be overtaken by feelings of uncertainty.

Many students although excited about completing this huge step can have many additional emotions such as fear, panic even anxiety and depression. This reaction can take many students by surprise, but it is a very common reaction and one that you should acknowledge if you are experiencing these feelings. If these emotions are becoming a barrier in moving forward seek out assistance from your student wellness center. This can stem from not feeling ready to move onto a career or simply not knowing what next steps to take. Here are some steps to consider if you are facing graduation with uncertainty:

1) Consider your options.

· What will you do after graduation? Work, travel or continue onto more schooling.

2) Write out your goals.

· Write out what it is you hope to accomplish.

· What was your goal when you started post-secondary? Is this goal still the same? If it no longer applies reconsider what you want to achieve instead. Even starting with 1 short term and 1 long term goal can give definition and clarity of your next steps.

3) Make a plan.

· How will you achieve the goal(s) you have set out?

· Give yourself a timeline - this will make a goal less obscure and easier to work towards.

4) Assess what tools you need.

· This could include updating your resume, completing micro-credentials over and above your degree, applying for work visas if working/traveling abroad or applying to grad programs.

If your next step is employment, now is the time to start planning and getting everything in place. Timing of when to start applying for positions will be the key to your success. Applying too early while you are still taking classes can be a detriment to gaining employment. Most hiring cycles are 6-8 weeks from start to finish. Applying too early and getting a job offer and then having to turn it down because you are still in school full time can leave a negative impression with an employer. Unless it is otherwise stated in the posting, it is important to note that when employers post a position it is because they are looking for an employee to start within that 6-8 week window. If you are finishing this coming spring count 8 weeks backwards from your first available day of work. This will give you the appropriate window in which you want to consider looking for positions.

Using this period to build your plan now will save you time when you are ready to start your applications. Take the time to update your resume, connect with employers at career fairs and on LinkedIn and scanning postings to understand how you measure up are all ways that you can start to position yourself for your future.