Choosing your career was probably one of the hardest decisions you have made. You might have spent time balancing out the cost of education against the lifetime earnings you could make as you climb the career ladder. Your happiness to perform the job should also be a big factor. Of course, as you gain experience and promotion, many elements of the job change. You will find yourself working for different companies and in different working environments. There is plenty you can do to prepare yourself for that. But beware of all the obstacles that could come your way.
Graduate positions are still quite difficult to find. You may need to start in a junior position while you wait for something to come up. The best way to prepare for graduation is to get your details and yourself in front of the companies you’re most interested in. Make full use of your careers guidance counselors at your college or university. And if you’ve already left, then find a professional career coach that can help get you seen by the best employers.
Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to get the graduate job you hoped for. And applying for junior roles can be tough when you’re competing against people who have experience. The only way to demonstrate experience when you take on a degree is to keep a professional looking portfolio. Be sure it contains details of all the relevant projects you’ve undertaken. And don’t be afraid to list these on your CV or resume. If you can take on work experience while studying, make sure you Facebook everything you can and keep a hard copy portfolio of your successes.
Don’t panic if you’re struggling to get a job that is relevant to your preferred career path. There are still other things you can be doing. Working for yourself in a self-employed capacity is one way to demonstrate to would-be employers that you’re motivated and hardworking. You can choose to offer your new skills to businesses and individuals directly if your marketing techniques are good. Alternatively, try some home-based freelance work to keep the pennies rolling in.
There are some things to be wary about with this course of action. For one, you are not an employee and have no rights. This means you have no guaranteed hours or minimum wage. Taxes, NI, and other insurances must be paid by you directly each year. And you will not have a pension unless you set one up independently. Remember, most pension schemes require that you pay a set sum in every month. Make sure you can still afford to do this regardless of your employment status.
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The other main problem with being self-employed or freelance is the lack of holiday pay. If you don’t work, you don’t earn. Without a savings fund to fall back on, it can be very difficult to take a much-needed break. And if you find yourself sick or injured, you will have no income at all if you can’t work. So what can you do in these circumstances?
If you have been in an accident, speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer to see if you have a claim. This might be difficult if you have no established accounts proving your regular income. Until you have spoken with a professional, you won’t know what you might be entitled to. If you can work in a different way or by doing something different altogether, it’s worth doing. Speak to your regular clients or customers and ask them to be patient with you. Hopefully, you won’t lose their custom long term.
The economic climate could prove to be a huge obstacle to your career progression. If your employer cannot afford to pay you more, then you’re unlikely to be promoted. And many companies have struggled in the last decade to stay in business at all. Could you cope if you were made redundant? Do you have other prospects and opportunities lined up? Should you leave your current employer? Keeping good industry contacts is really important because you never know what’s around the corner.
Did you know that more and more people are making big career changes these days? Work-life balance and financial reasons are often cited for this. You may need to retrain or gain new qualifications. And you may need to start again at the bottom. Are you prepared for a course correction if you find you’ve started the wrong career? There are many obstacles to overcome, but your career is your own to shape. Good luck!