The transition from college to the working world

Daniel Phelan

The transition from third level education into the world of work can be an arduous endeavour and it has not been made any easier in a competitive job climate. Whatever your degree or qualification may be, finding paid work can oftentimes be problematic. 

After the investment of so much time, money and effort into your education, the immediate expectation is to waltz right into a job. However, this is seldom the case. 

Applying for jobs has never been more competitive. More graduates have a master’s degree than ever before and a level nine qualifications does not guarantee paid work either. 

Emmet Rogan graduated from DCU in Accounting and Finance in 2018 and found that he couldn’t secure a graduate programme, “I just wasn’t having any luck hearing back from anybody so I took the year out, worked at home and applied for a masters”. 

Currently midway through his masters in accounting at DCU, Rogan’s frustration continues to build, “initially the idea to pursue a masters only occurred to me because I wanted to make my CV or my job applications stand out a bit more, but I still haven’t heard anything back from any prospective employers,” he said. 

From his experience, Rogan claims the most viable option coming out of college would be to not target the big firms or companies in whatever industry you graduate in, “everyone wants to target the most notable firms. That’s where most of the competition is. I think I should have just tried to get a bit more experience in my field and then maybe look to build up. That’s what employers seem to value most, experience,” he said.

Many firms offer unpaid internships which is unsustainable for a recent graduate. Therefore, graduates need to prioritise their needs. They need a wage to sustain themselves, so applying for internships without pay is all well and good if you can afford it to accrue some experience, but if you can’t, it’s an exercise in futility. 

However, if you haven’t secured a grad programme, GradIreland recommend going through the graduate programmes run by government or industry bodies. There are various schemes available, but all are paid placements and intended to fast-track graduates onto the career ladder. 

Most of these programmes include a postgraduate qualification which gives you a pathway into an industry or career sector. 

There are many different routes to take for recent graduates and if paid work isn’t something you first encounter, fret not as there are many other worthwhile options offered by agencies like GradIreland and FRSrecruitment.  

These agencies should be given their due diligence as it is more than worthwhile for students that do not know what their next step outside of university is. It affords them a platform to easily peruse options they did not know was at their disposal. 

Entering the world of work straight out of university can be a rude awakening for many people, particularly when it comes to routine. 

Given the mercurial schedule of a college timetable, it is unlikely you’ll find more than a handful of students that stick to a strict routine.

Having an inconsistent schedule and sleeping pattern can throw off your focus and priorities, hampering the productivity of your week. 

Keeping to a somewhat strict routine, whereby you know what you want to have achieved that day, be it, going to the gym, meal prep or tackling your assignments. It is imperative and highly recommended that the time you wake up and time you fall asleep remain consistent, thereby preparing you for the stable rigours of a nine-to-five job. 

Daniel Phelan

Image Credit: Male Raffiner