GUEST BLOG: Graduate options

 Guest blog written by Careers Student Brand Ambassadors, Charlotte Noddings and Serife Gunal

Are you panicking about what comes after graduation? Do you already have an idea of what you want to do but don’t know where to start? Here we outline some of the most common paths you can pursue and signpost you to some of the best resources for planning your life after university. The options laid out here are not exhaustive but they do give you a good idea of some of the opportunities available. The key thing to remember is that using the Careers department is a great way to start!

What are your options?

Graduate Schemes

Graduate schemes are a fantastic introduction to the world of work, with many employers offering employment for one to three, or more, years as well as, the opportunity to attain qualifications. Grad schemes are available in a range of sectors including investment and finance, engineering, accountancy and even media. Single employers often recruit to more than one type of job role, for instance, investment banks offer opportunities in operations, sales and trading, investment banks, technology and more! Some employers close their applications in the autumn of your final year but there are many schemes that are open longer and may also re-open later in the year. The long recruitment process, including an online application form, psychometric tests, assessment centres and interviews, can be made easier if you know where to look! If you decide that a graduate job is one of the avenues you would like to pursue after graduation, make sure you go to Careers for any help with finding graduate schemes, any part of the application process, or any other queries you may have.

‘Big’ Business

‘Big’ business can offer all kinds of opportunities for graduates. A few examples of ‘big’ business you could apply to could be: Santander, L’Oreal, Aldi, Pwc and Google… and these are only a fraction. The advantage of working for big firms like these is that often they will have a large graduate intake which can not only make the idea of the job itself less daunting as you’ll be surrounded by other graduates, but it also means that their intake is a lot higher. However, be aware this does mean a greater number of applicants too, so get those applications in early. On the bright side, a high candidate intake also means a wide variety of jobs. Take Google for example, you’d think they’d only hire only technicians with a 1st class degree in computer science… this is not the case! To find out more about this, and Google in particular, come to our Careers event with Google on 8 February.

Small Business

Alternatively, small businesses possess great opportunities for graduates too. They cannot always guarantee all the benefits of bigger companies and you may be the only graduate in the office but, what they will often give you is a higher level of responsibility from the offset. This may be a daunting prospect on your first day, nevertheless it will give you a better understanding of how the whole company operates and an impressive skillset for future employers (or to move up the ranks more quickly!), all because you took on that responsibility.

Further Study

Graduation is not to be equated with going straight into employment, or else you run the risk of closing yourself off from some amazing opportunities. Before you dismiss the idea of further study because you’re fed up of being a student, there are some things you should consider. Firstly, you can still get a graduate job after having done your masters, so further study is a great option if you have particular research interests you would like to pursue or if you want to enter employment at a higher level. Whilst the University of York offers a percentage off postgraduate studies for former students, an excellent incentive to carry on studying here, the possibilities are endless with postgraduate studies elsewhere as well. The opportunity to study abroad or move to another British city for your postgraduate studies could give you the chance to explore another new place! Beyond masters qualifications is the prospect of completing a PhD and possibly exploring academia as a career path. There are loads of websites to help you find postgraduate options such as as well as various websites where you can find funding options, including bursaries and scholarships!

Alternative options

Are you of the opinion that you’d rather not do either, employment nor further study are not appealing to you and you just aren’t sure where to go next? You aren’t the only one. The end of university marks the end of over 15 years of education and another year of essay writing sounds rather daunting to some. The prospect of full-time employment, too, can be unnerving, leaving some feeling stuck. With all the talk of getting a grad job we can sometimes forget that it is okay to take a year out, and that having a break from education or full-time employment can be beneficial. Doing voluntary work is just one way you can spend your time if you take some time out, whether that be volunteering with a charity or doing unpaid work in an industry you are interested in as a potential career option, you can explore various opportunities you may want to pursue. Perhaps, like me, you are considering taking a year out to work and earn money to pay for your postgraduate studies or perhaps you are lucky enough to be able to go travelling and enjoy some time away. There are many reasons to take a year out after graduation and if you haven’t considered it yet, maybe it can be an option for you, too?

Where to start?

When considering the career path you’d like to follow after university the best thing you can do is RESEARCH. Without any support this can be a long and arduous process but you needn’t worry; York has loads of options available to help you explore.

Careers Appointments – I know they can be hard to get hold of, but keep trying because they are well worth it. A careers appointment allows you to sit down with someone who lives and breathes careers, so they know their stuff. They’ll ask you your interests, any previous work experience (don’t panic if you don’t have any – they can help you with that too) and hopefully be able to steer you in the right direction. Tip: appointments are released at 8am the day before – so if you want one on Friday, you might want to try an early start on Thursday (you can always go back to sleep after you’ve booked!)

The Careers Building – If you’ve never stepped inside the careers building (don’t worry if you haven’t, lots of us have been avoiding the future at all costs), you won’t know that it is packed to the rafters with careers resources – most of which you can take home with you! There are brochures on consultancy, hard backs on Law firms, leaflets on volunteering around the globe… the opportunities are endless! This is a really good place to start thinking about what you want to do after university. You could even take some along to your careers appointment…

Careers Drop in – If you’re not sure about filling a whole appointment with your questions, or you just want somewhere to start you could always come in to the Drop In service. No appointment needed, just go to the Careers building from 11am-1pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

Mentor Profiles – Something I imagine that few of you will know anything about is the York Mentor Profiles. Available online, these are profiles of York Alumni explaining what they did after graduation, with some even allowing you to contact them to discuss it further. There are over 900+ available and it can be a really good place for initial inspiration.

Insight days – As mentioned earlier in ‘big’ business, lots of larger companies offer insight days. This basically means they are going to show off to prospective applicants how good they are. They can be really helpful at getting a feel for the atmosphere and attitude of a company, something you can’t get out of a careers brochure. The most important thing to remember about insight days is that they are as much for you as they are for the employers, so ask questions. Plus, asking questions makes you look passionate and if you do like the company, they are more likely to remember you when it comes to sending in an application for a job. However, a downside is there are often minimal places, so if you are interested get in their quickly! You can usually apply via their website.

The Internet – Probably the most obvious resource for researching, the internet can answer all your questions. I expect most of you to know this by now, but a reminder: the internet is not the most reputable of sources for information. Companies websites will make themselves sound like the only option, one league table will say something different to another and the next thing you know you’ll have 20 tabs open and have no idea what’s good and what isn’t. Don’t rule the internet out, but get an idea of what you want to do first before going online.


  1. Remember not to panic! The possibilities after graduation are endless and rest assured, there is something for everyone. There are many places where you can seek guidance or ask questions. The Careers service, your supervisor, Global Opportunities, your friends or your family can be helpful in guiding you or at least signposting you to what you should do next!
  2. Be Prepared! When it comes to writing CVs or applications, interviews, assessment centres and much, much more, the Careers department has many services to help you with these processes. Just make sure you do your research and explore all your opportunities and when you know what you want to do, utilise the resources within the careers department to help you along the way!

Don’t miss! Careers Q&A: FAQs for final year students – Tuesday 14 February, 11.00am – 1.00pm at