How to go from full-time uni to full-time work

University doesn’t end at graduation. That’s just the flashy ceremony with funny gowns and even funnier hats. It really ends well before that with a results text message you have been nervously waiting on all day. But before you even have time to bask in your academic glory you realise you are going to need a job. So what comes next? Here are some options to consider post-uni.

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Casual work

After working so hard for four years you’re hardly going to take just anything right? Well unless you’re a nursing or teaching graduate very few people get into a full-time job straight out of uni. I spent 12 months unable to get a job in my chosen career. It’s a good time to find a casual job that will allow you to stay alive and give you the flexibility to find a career job.

Look out for casual jobs that will complement your degree. If you already have a casual job with a company see if there are any full-time or permanent positions you can apply for.


Being a volunteer is a chance to give back to a cause you believe in. It’s also the perfect place to gain new skills and experiences. You will also meet new people and build your professional network.

Find a not-for-profit organisation where you can offer your skills whilst gaining experience that’s going to help you score a job. In some cases your volunteer position may turn into a paid job offer.

I started as a volunteer at a community radio station that turned into a part-time job and eventually I worked my way right to the top as the station manager.

There are volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and interests.

Graduate jobs

A great option is to apply for a graduate program. Don’t worry if you’ve missed an application deadline for a grad job this year, most programs allow you to apply for 2-3 years after graduating. We’ve got more tips in our how to get a graduate job in Australia blog.

Gap year

Now is the perfect time to think about going on an adventure! You are going to have amazing experiences and you’re going to pick up new skills that you can bring back home and add to your life and career. There are plenty of countries that welcome holiday workers such as the UK and Canada (whose visas are only available to those under 30). You don’t have to go abroad to have a gap year though, you could follow the harvest jobs trail or find seasonal work.

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Look after yourself and your mental health. Don’t put to much pressure on yourself to find the ‘perfect’ job. Universities set us up to think that we will get a career job straight away and when this doesn’t happen we can take it personally. We are told if we work hard we will get the job but this just isn’t the case. There are so many factors that can influence when and what job you get.

You’re going to hear a lot of ‘we went with someone with more experience’. This can be disheartening, but like everything in life you get better with practice. With each job application, cover letter, and job interview that you do, you will get better. Learn from your mistakes and think about how you can improve on it next time.

Good luck!

Images: Giphy, independent 

One comment

  1. thank you chris. I needed to read this, and its good to know that I am not the only graduate who feels disheartened at not getting a job in the areas of my academic studies. I am not only a graduate, I am also over 54 and my age is also presenting as a barrier in gaining work. I haven’t given up and still hold hope that ‘my perfect job’ will come to me. I have tried applying for volunteer work however they ask for so many requirements such as comprehensive insurance, first aid courses, and other certificates. I struggle to live let alone pay for any of these things. the funny thing is I have had over 40 years working history, life skills and expansive interpersonal skills, thanks again for listening

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