Fun, prospects or money: what are you looking for?
What motivates you? Here are some ideas for careers that might satisfy your aspirations, whether you want to help people, travel, earn a big salary right from the start or create a lasting legacy.
Even if you haven’t decided exactly what you want to do, you probably have a pretty good idea what you want to get out of it. To help you focus your graduate job hunt, we’ve identified a series of career wishes and suggested career choices that might fulfil them. As you look through, remember that graduate schemes with big employers are typically designed to offer you the chance to try out placements in different areas of the business to see what suits you, and first jobs with smaller employers are also likely to give you a chance to experience a range of specialisms and find out what you enjoy most.
‘I want to earn a really good salary.’
Law, investment banking, and banking and financial services employers typically offer particularly generous graduate starting salaries, with most City law firms offering first year trainees up to around £48,000. Find out more from our advice on the graduate careers that offer the highest starting pay.
‘I want to be creative.’
The creative industries include areas such as architecture and IT as well as design (including fashion and product design), publishing, advertising, and jobs in museums, galleries and libraries.
- What is an editor? Find out about roles in publishing
- Find out about the skills that’ll get you a job in marketing.
‘I want to help people.’
If you’re looking for a profession that involves caring for people, responding to their needs or nurturing them, here are some careers that might appeal.
- Healthcare. Find out how to get into nursing or medicine if you haven’t studied for a relevant degree.
- Public service, charity careers and social work. Our advice on this wide-ranging area explains how to get hired by the Civil Service as well as organisations such as MI5 and GCHQ.
- Teaching and education. There are various different ways to qualify, and generous bursaries available to help with the costs. Our advice on how to train to become a teacher gives an overview.
‘I want to do something sociable.’
Hate the idea of having few opportunities for social interaction? There are plenty of careers that offer the chance to meet people and use your social skills in a professional context. Managing relationships with clients and making new contacts is an essential aspect of graduate roles in many different fields, including consulting, IT, investment banking, financial services and law. Also, many graduate employers pride themselves on offering a range of social activities outside of work and will welcome your contribution.
- Consulting. Find out about the skills consulting employers are looking for.
- Sales. Could this be your ideal graduate job? Here’s an overview of the rewards and demands of a successful career in sales.
- HR and recruitment. You’ll need to be decisive and persuasive to get ahead in HR. Our guide to the key skills and competencies in HR covers the essential qualities employers look for.
‘I want to work on the cutting edge.’
Is the chance to innovate high on your job satisfaction wishlist? Here are three careers that offer what you’re looking for.
- IT. Check out our list of ten jobs you could do in IT, from systems analyst to software testing.
- Consumer goods. Employers such as L’Oréal and Danone place a high value on innovation and creativity. Our tips on how to get a job in consumer goods explain how to get into this highly competitive area.
- Engineering. Are you interested in nanotechnology, or the boundaries between biological and electronic systems? Find out what’s involved in R&D (research and development) in engineering.
‘I want to make and build things.’
In some professions your work will have a tangible physical impact and could leave a lasting legacy, whether it’s a new housing development, an iconic landmark or essential infrastructure.
- Construction. Our list of essential skills for construction industry jobs explains how to show you have the competencies employers look for, from teamwork to time management.
- Civil and structural engineering. Find out about the three key decisions you’ll need to make before you start applying for civil engineering jobs.
- Property. We’ve spoken to industry leaders to pick up tips to help you become a successful property developer.
‘I want to travel.’
The restrictions brought about by Covid-19 may initially cause you to miss out on the opportunities to travel typically offered by certain areas of work, employers and graduate schemes. Nonetheless, if you factor your desire to work overseas into your career planning now, you will be able to make the most of these opportunities as they become available again in the future.
- Hotel management, travel and tourism careers typically offer plenty of opportunities for graduates who are keen to work overseas, with graduate schemes on offer with some international employers. Here’s how to get a job in hospitality, leisure and tourism. Consultancy, finance and the oil and gas industry are also attractive career choices for graduates who want to spend time abroad.
- TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a popular way of finding work abroad, though you’re likely to need a suitable qualification first. The term TEFL is sometimes used almost interchangeably with TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). Many TEFL organisations are supporting teachers with working online while Covid-19 prevents them from travelling abroad. Our TEFL/TESL teacher job description explains what’s involved.
- Working abroad. When travelling and working abroad becomes safe again, our in-depth country guides to finding work experience and graduate jobs abroad can provide you with advice on where to find vacancies, how to apply and what to expect from working life.