I’m taking a leaf out of my colleague Stephen Waddington‘s book and putting my network to good use.
Earlier today I published my thoughts and reflections on the year since I graduated from Leeds Business School – some of you might have even read it.
But I thought it would also be interesting to speak to friends and former classmates who also graduated on that sunny day last summer.
It was, and I’ve collected some of their reflections and advice below for you to read.
Many thanks to all that contributed.
“Graduating can be terrifying, especially if you feel like you don’t have a set ‘plan’ or a pre-decided career path or industry to focus on. I’ve learnt that the best you can do is just get stuck in – find a job which is going to offer you the widest possible experience if you are unsure, and give it your all. You might be lucky like me and land a job you love, and if not it’s still going to be great experience. There’s not point sitting around at home after graduating not applying for jobs because you are not sure where to start. And just learn, learn, learn. Talk to everyone, ask questions, seek advice from people with careers you admire – and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. Whether it’s a brand new city or a job role you’re not 100% certain you’re qualified for, you never know until you try. Oh and lastly – don’t compare yourself to others. Everybody has a different path and you’ll only drive yourself mental comparing yourself to X, Y, Z from your course who seem to be living the dream with a high-flying career (plus social media is only ever going to give you the rose tinted view…). It’s good to push yourself to succeed, but your success does not have to look like everybody else’s.”
“I like to think I moved on pretty quickly from the academic world – I enjoy the working world much more. As for working in PR, that didn’t really work out for me. I’m happier carving out a new career in Digital Marketing and SEO.
I do still feel, however, that my degree has come to some use as it taught me to be more analytical and inclined towards finding concrete facts as opposed to swallowing assumptions whole. This is important in SEO/online marketing as there’s a lot of myths and ‘silver bullets’ floating around that spoil our reputation. Did I learn? Yes, but not quite in the way the syllabus set out to.
I do still feel like I could knock out a good press release with enough coffee though!”
“Never underestimate the value of your work. As long as you try your best, your work will be appreciated – even if you don’t get it perfect first time round. We might have finished university but we are still learning.”
“How crazy is it that it’s been a whole year since graduation! The biggest thing I’ve learnt is to have confidence in my own ability – I learnt so much during the degree and when I started work full time I panicked, but it’s been a smooth ride. I have so much responsibility which is fantastic and I think that’s based on how confident I was leaving the course.”
Thoughts and advice are always welcome here, so if you also graduated last year (or perhaps a little before) I’d love to hear your wisdom for those leaving university this summer and taking the first steps of their PR careers. Feel free to share on social or via the comments below.