Read this if you don’t know what to do after graduation

The Apostoli from the VS hut

Sometimes a little guidance can help us find the right path. Photo: D. Gillie, The Apostoli from the Vittorio Sella hut, Gran Paradiso National Park

Update: 16 May 2013.  I’ve noticed this post is receiving a large number of international hits as a result of people Googling ‘I don’t know what to do after graduation’.  Some of the generic information highlighted below and on the University of Edinburgh Careers Service website might help you start thinking about what you could do (e.g., career planning, exploring your options, looking for work, etc.) – I encourage you to make use of your own university’s career service for advice, information, guidance and support in helping you make the move from university to what’s next.  Thank you for visiting Thinking Outside…!

The Careers Service isn’t just for people who know what they want to do-one of the most common reasons students come to see us is because they ‘haven’t a clue’ about their future after university.  If you’re feeling a little lost and apprehensive about life after graduation, here are a few ideas for ways to get started – and how we at the Careers Service can help:

Talk to us

  • You can book a 1-to-1 guidance appointment with a careers adviser.  The initial appointment is for 20 minutes but you may be referred for a longer 45 minute guidance appointment if you and the adviser feel that would be helpful.  We won’t produce a list of jobs!  The emphasis of guidance appointments is getting you to identify what you want and what you’ve got to offer before moving on to finding out more about what’s out there – whether it’s work, further study, volunteering, travel or something else.
  • Our Information Team is here to guide you through the vast range of careers information. You can speak to the information officer on duty without an appointment.

Do some background reading

  • You could start with the ‘Explore your options‘ pages of our websites to discover more about your broad options.
  • Options with your degree sheets help you identify skills gained from studying your subject, provide general advice on what you could do next, suggest ideas for jobs that are directly related to your degree or where it would be helpful.
  • Browse through the orange ‘Getting started…’ folders for your degree subject in the Careers Service Information Centre. These include first destinations of previous graduates, identification of subject-specific skills, careers articles, job examples and more.
  • We also have a diverse range of reference books to help you in making career choices.
  • Our Green Folders are packed full of information about different occupational areas, pathways, training and news – the Info Team is always happy to answer your queries. We also keep extensive occupational information on our website.

Ask yourself some questions

  • What’s my next most likely move – employment, further study, travel?
  • Am I interested in a particular sector, industry, type of employer?
  • What are the characteristics of my ideal job?
  • Do my specific skills and qualities suggest particular career areas?
  • What kinds of activities enthuse me?
  • What bores me to tears?
  • What do I really not want to do?

More support on asking yourself questions (and finding answers) is on our Career Planning pages.

Is that all, you ask?

No, it’s not – the Careers Service also offers a varied range of talks, events and fairs during the year: opportunities to improve your career management skills and meet employers (what a great way to find out what a job is like!) and much, much more. Visit to find out what’s available for you.


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