When I finished at the U of C last December, I had an anxiety attack of sorts. On one hand I was proud of myself for completing my degree, but on the other I was scared to leave the structured environment that university offered. I realized I had no idea where to go from here. I was done school, but I didn’t have a job lined up, or even a clue as to where I wanted to pursue a job. So, I wallowed in self pity for a few weeks before attempting to figure out which direction I wanted to go in life.
I have a degree in Communications, and I love it, but I still freaked out when I was done school and had to make decisions regarding a career path. It isn’t easy, especially when you don’t know what you want to do. So, I researched career options through Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS). I knew that there were a lot of career options for me, but I didn’t know much about the careers themselves, so ALIS helped me to research different career options.
I highly recommend becoming familiar with the ALIS website. You can find information on post-secondary programs, careers, scholarships & bursaries, etc. It is an excellent place to start when you are determining what you want to take in school and what you are going to do with it after.
Also, along with using ALIS, I talked to a few professionals in the communications field to help me understand what employers look for and how to obtain experience. They recommended volunteering to gain experience. For example, they suggested volunteering at a newspaper to gain writing experience or volunteering at a not-for-profit to gain experience in event planning. They also said they look for employees who have a wide set of skills, which is where having a BA comes in handy.
So, armed with this new information, I was able to embark on a career search that ended with me being over-employed a week after my June grad ceremony. Doing a little research on my career options made the job hunt more bearable and also more successful.
My advice is to research your career options like you would research your final term paper. Knowing your options and what a career in a certain field entails will help you to know if that truly is what you want to do. Also, if you can, volunteer! It can be hard to find a part-time job in a field that interests you, so contribute to a newsletter for your favourite charity, write for the Bricklayer, or plan events for a student group you are involved with. A little experience can go a long way when it comes to searching for a job after graduation.