Have you just gone back to school, started a new year at university, just starting a new job after finishing university? We are at the time of year when millions of 18 – 25 year olds around the globe are at the beginning of a new course, starting a new academic year or facing their final stint in education before entering the working world. At Futureboard, we are starting our busy cycle of finding great candidates for the various companies we work for internationally.

Over the next 8-10 months we will speak to lots of nervous candidates who feel daunted by the many employers they are considering applying to; the various options that exist post school or university and pressured to make the right career decision first time around.

Here is some advice on how to get through the year ahead and keep perspective on career searching:

1.      Sexy is not always interesting: It’s well known that many students want to get into investment banking; it appeals to corporate minded individuals looking to make money and be involved in ‘making deals’. It’s true it offers high starting salaries, bonuses and attractive benefits. The old stereo-types seem to stick around, the work hard, play hard cultures still attract many. However, the world of investment banking also consists of lots of number crunching, spreadsheets, data modelling and long hours. If working with numbers is your strength, great, but don’t be naive about your day to day life; investment banks are regulated, often process orientated and are tough cultures to work in.

2.     Boring is often sexy: students are often drawn to the companies making the headlines – Uber, Tesla, Apple – but don’t find it so appealing to work for companies that solve what most people consider boring problems; these include Evernote for project/time management; Invision for design feedback; Docusign for electronic signatures. These companies are sexy because they can play in huge markets, are growing quickly and can offer lots of responsibility early on in your career.

3.      You don’t have to follow your dream: lots of people we speak to don’t have a burning dream or desire to find the cure for cancer and just want to make a good start in a professional career. Perhaps your dream was to be a professional footballer or Broadway performer, that’s absolutely fine. Whatever happens, don’t panic, many people find their passion much later in life.

4.     Stay mentally healthy and physically strong: spending hours in the library, preparing for your dissertation or applying for lots of jobs online is mentally draining and pressured. Do something to counter this – for some that’s signing up to a high energy spin class, for others it’s indulging in a day of reading fiction. Listen to your mind and body so that you can be your optimum self.

5.      Every mistake you make is progress: job applications, CVs, interviews, the world of work, are very different to student life. Don’t expect to make an application and achieve success first time around. You should try to see any rejection as an opportunity to learn; remember to ask for feedback and be open to trying things differently.

6.     Cities are great places to learn: there is no doubt that cities are great places to find jobs and learn about different career professions. Whether you are looking for an apprenticeship or graduate programme, there are more jobs in the cities across the country and world. Being geographically mobile and up for living somewhere new will increase your chances of finding the right job for you.

7.      Surround yourself with good people: as you enter a new chapter of your life, think about who you want to take with you. Are you surrounding yourself with the people that will encourage you to go to the library and study; cook you a healthy meal or share ideas about places to look for jobs? Some people are only meant to be in our lives for a period of time; think carefully about those you keep company with.

8.     Busy but broke: You’ve been busy studying hard and holding down a student/part-time job on top, but you are still broke. Don’t lose faith…all research shows that education helps improve your earning potential. In addition, there are more options to earn while you learn for both school leavers and university graduates; co-ops, degree apprenticeships and sign-on bonuses are on the increase and these schemes can all help you to start addressing the debt early on.

And here’s a great quote to help you keep perspective:

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything s/he learned in school” Albert Einstein

For more information on Futureboard Consulting, please see www.futureboardconsulting.com or contact us on +44 (0) 203 179 4500

Or to contact Katherine directly, please email kt@futureboardconsulting.com

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