You are going to finish your degree soon and you will be allowed to ride the lion. But you don’t know where it should take you yet? Starting a career after university can be intimidating but there are many tips that can help you find your way. 

Shown are arrows on a road intersection pointing in all possible directions.

Especially university students who started their non-vocational studies right after graduation will have to face this question sooner or later: Which career path do I want to pick? Maybe you are about to finish your degree and still haven’t found an answer. You just started your studies or are in the middle of them and you already have thought about it? No matter what situation you find yourself in, orienting and informing yourself is always worth it. 

Obviously, such a quest always starts within yourself. To bring your personal strengths, interests and experiences to mind is not only helpful for your own orientation but also beneficial for preparing job applications. Career experience is not the only factor that counts. Social, ecological, political and other forms of involvement, hobbies practiced over many years and projects realized in your free time play a role as well. The resulting skills can make you unique. In addition, you should think about your demands that have to be met by your job and employer. Should the job just be a source of money or more than that? Do I prefer flat or steep hierarchies? Do I want personal contact with customers or clients? Depending on your answers to these questions, you can find out what you look for in a job and can specify your search. 

Internships 

An honest self-assessment is a useful guide to your dream job. If you have little to no professional experience and would like to try things out first, internships are a very good way to get started. You get to know a professional field, get an impression of the expectations of everyday work there and you are not tied down for long. An ideal way to get a taste. If the employee and the employer think a long-term cooperation is possible, there can even be the chance of being hired after an internship. In addition, an internship offers the opportunity to gain experience and make contacts that can be useful even if you decide to take a different career path or do not get taken on. 

Networking 

The word networking is constantly heard when it comes to finding a job. And even though there is more to successfully choosing a career path, in many cases it is useful to make contacts here and there. The obvious reason for this is to make it easier to get a job since references are welcome in many application processes. Additionally, you learn about jobs that were out of your view previously. 

Internships are not the only places to network. In fact, any opportunity can be used for this purpose. You meet a person at a party who works in a field that might interest you? Get their contact information and show interest. A friend knows someone who knows someone? Get introduced. Take advantage of such random opportunities. Apart from these, you can also purposefully make contacts. Job fairs are a wonderful way to not only get an impression of employers but also to introduce yourself in person. Such an event, the „10. Jobmesse Halle“, will take place on March 19th, 2022 in the SWH.arena. Another one is the „Chance „, which will take place on April 1st and 2nd, 2022 in the HALLE MESSE. The student consultancy „Campus Contact Halle e.V.“ organizes the annual fair „campusmeetscompanies“ (@campusmeetscompanies on Instagram) to provide opportunities for university students and companies to connect. It took place digitally earlier this year. 

Pictured is a person sitting at a table and biting thoughtfully on a pen.
Online offers 

It is also great to make contacts online. Professional social networks such as Xing or LinkedIn are very popular. They are designed exclusively for making business contacts and can also be very useful for students. Similar to Facebook, you can get an impression of potential applicants, bosses, colleagues etc., as well as make new contacts or discover job offers.  

For the latter, however, portals such as StepStone, Monster or Indeed are preferable because they are made for finding employer or employees. 

Counseling 

Transitioning from university into the working world usually requires a lot of initiative. That can easily become overwhelming. If you feel like you don’t know what to do, consulting an outsider can help. At the Jobcenter in Halle, it is possible to make an appointment for a talk. Information and job offers can also be obtained there. Within our university the Career Center acts as an interface between university and the working world- just the right place to go regarding all matters related to finding a job, the transition and any uncertainties you might have. Apart from personal counseling the Career Center regularly organizes events. You can find these on StudIP. In addition, the Career Center offers the ASQ module „Wege in den verborgenen Arbeitsmarkt” (engl. “Ways into the hidden job market“). The general student advisory service of the university can be helpful as well, especially if you are considering a Master’s program. Beyond that, conversations with fellow students or alumni of your major can also be inspiring. 

Even if you’re not 100 percent sure after following these tips, sometimes it is worth it to take the plunge. And if it turns out it was not, that would not be so bad, would it? At least you will know what you do not want to do. 

Image sources: loufre, Buffik, Karolina Grabowska, Rama Krishna Karumanchi via Pixabay

Author (Translation): Nele Finck

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