What to do with your first year after uni

Gap year

When you head off to uni, you’re going to further your education, become an expert in a particular field, and make some great friends in the process.

At the end of your course, you’ll have gained a unique experience and you’ll be ready to head out into the world and put whatever you’ve learned into practice. Once you graduate, it’s up to you what you do with yourself, and there are plenty of different options for you to follow, each of which has its own positives and negatives.


Not everyone feels ready to enter the world of work straight away. If this is you, travelling is a great way to build on the life skills that you picked up while you were at uni. Some students opt to work a part-time role while they save up the cash to pack their bags and head off around the world – give it some thought, at least.

This might be a good choice for you if you’re unsure on what career path you want to take. Going travelling can buy you some time and give you the opportunity to explore new avenues. People often opt for Southeast Asia, because this established travel region is where your cash will last the longest. If you do choose to go travelling, you’ll meet plenty of people who you can learn from and who might open you up to some new opportunities when you finish your time exploring the world.

If, on the other hand, you are set on a particular career path (and it’s a competitive one), you may be best getting straight into working life and gaining valuable industry experience.


During your time at university, you’ll have learned pretty much everything that you need to know in your chosen field, but if you’re heading into a rapidly changing industry, you might find that you need to continue to learn new things.

There are plenty of organisations that provide industry-specific training to graduates who are willing to learn. If you put your mind to it and enrol yourself on one of these courses early on, you could improve your knowledge and skills in a short space of time, making yourself more employable when you do come to look for your first graduate role.

Get your first graduate job

Applications open early for graduate roles in most industries, with the majority of employers looking to hire the brightest minds before they’ve even finished their degrees. Although the pay usually isn’t as high for a graduate position, these opportunities offer great training packages that are designed to help you advance quickly through the ranks and into your chosen career.

A bit of forward thinking goes a long way when it comes to finding the perfect grad role, so try to draw up a list of the dream companies that you would like to work for, then send off your prospective applications early. Getting noticed by the right people could give you the head start that you need.


Speaking of meeting the right people, networking is a vital way of building relationships with the key players in the industry you’re interested in. Networking isn’t just reserved for people who are already working in industry – and attending events is an excellent way to get yourself noticed. By starting conversations with the right people, you put yourself on the radar of employers that you might be interested in working for.

Networking is such a powerful tool that you could soon get your foot in the door with the right people – you never know, you might even get the heads-up about a graduate role before it’s even been advertised!

Your year, your choice

Your first year out of uni will give you your first taste of non-student life. You’ll get to put everything you’ve learned to the test, from social skills to academic ones, and whether you use this to get a job, meet new people or see the world is entirely up to you.

Daniel Sefton is a writer for The Student Housing Company, providers of modern, purpose-built student accommodation in the UK

Image credit: Mihtiander/123rf.com

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