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My Dos and Don’ts for Graduates!

As it is nearly a year since I finished university, what better time for me to offer upcoming graduates my own top tips of graduate life - what to expect, what to do, and what to don’t. I studied Fashion Promotion, so I’m writing from a more creative industries POV, however I think everyone will be able to relate somehow. Prepare to be enlightened.

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My Dos and Don’ts for Graduates!

So, you are graduating university… and what?

DON’T expect anything, ever. All that talk they give you in uni about how the industry wants graduates and how you’re gonna walk into you dream job, it’s BS. That doesn’t happen so don’t be getting on no hype that you are destined for Vogue as soon as you walk out the door. Regardless of your sick portfolio, or amazing internships, it all comes down to luck and timing. Simple as that.

DO believe in yourself (but not to the point of being an arrogant prick). At the end of the day, a job will come. Believe in your own work, and others will be inclined to feel the same. Selling yourself is all about confidence and chatting shit, and people dig enthusiasm. Just beware the fine line between confidence and arrogance however, and know when to hold back on the ‘I love me’ monologue.

DON’T spend everything. Now this is probably too late if you’re graduating, but at least first and second years can take note now. When it comes to the end of uni, try and keep some money aside and for god’s sake, don’t blow it all. Chances are, regardless of how nice they may seem at the start, your landlord is going to take the piss and scam as much money out of you as possible so you can kiss goodbye to that deposit. Where applicable, take photos when you move in, just in case some ‘mysterious swamp suddenly appears in the back garden’ during the time you’re there and you get burnt for it.

DO be good at everything. Chances are if you’ve done a creative degree, you’re gonna have skills and basic knowledge in various areas anyway, yay! Employers don’t just want a writer, they want a writer who can come up with shoot concepts, mock up a feature in InDesign, source images and know that they are 300dpi before even opening them in Photoshop. Tweet this, blog this, email for press info… Etc. Why give them one reason to hire you, be an all-rounder and give them hundreds.

DON’T kiss arse. It may seem like an easy option to email that ‘industry lecturer’ who came into uni that one time begging for an internship (Omggg you were so inspiring, I would love to work with you blahblahblah) – but it just looks desperate. Making contacts is great, but take the time to get to know them and what they do first, then think about how that will benefit you in the long run. The amount of experience you have alone isn’t going to get you a job any faster, so don’t jump at the first opportunity. You’ve slaved for three years at uni, you deserve more than 2 weeks making tea for someone’s assistant!

DO look for upcoming, small companies. It may seem all appealing heading for the big names, but reality is there is no point, unless you are lucky enough to have that contact or whatever. Instead, scout out smaller companies that offer your area of interest and contact them. They will no doubt appreciate you more, and in return you will gain a better and more in depth experience, and industry contacts. Hey who knows, it could even become your first job!

DON’T get depressed. You may laugh, but you wait until you’ve had a summer – or even longer – of failing to land any kind of job money, then you will see. You may not be full blown suicidal, but expect the post uni blues to hit. I guess all I can say here is don’t get stuck on Tumblr, reblogging emo gifs. Stay posi, stay social (I know right, coming from me…) and it will pass. And when in doubt, bake cakes.

DO become an entrepreneur. Seriously, in this current climate you are way better off starting your own business anyway. Whether it be as small as a blog or fucking off the scale, get that working hat on and make your brand. With the likes of Twitter, gaining awareness (and potential clients) is super easy so spam away! Knock up a sexy website, examples of work and you’re half way there. Keep in touch with uni friends and offer them your services (ooerr) for a discounted price or even for free. They’d make great first clients and it would look very impressive to have examples of live work already under your belt. Networking, hurrah!

There you have it, go be inspired!...


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