You are in the home stretch, and my guess is you are full of emotions about leaving college, including questions about what comes after graduation. According to most surveys about 22% of you know exactly what you will be doing when you graduate. For the remaining 78%, some of you are fully engaged in the question of WCN. You know what you want, you are confident in your resume and in your ability to interview effectively, and you have irons in the fire.
What Comes After Graduation?
But about 30-40% of you honestly don’t know what you want to do post-graduation. That fact can make this time very stressful, in part because family and friends are going to be approaching you with THE QUESTION. Some version of “Dylan what are your plans now that you have graduated?”
I want to talk to you – that 30 – 40% who are very unsure of what you want and are very stressed out by these questions. I want to help you find words other than “I don’t know” as an answer to these questions, and I am also going to try and talk you out of avoiding these conversations.
How to Answer ” What Do You Want To DO?”
“I don’t know” is a total conversation stopper. The people who are asking you this question would be inclined to help you if you gave them more to work with. You may think that your Uncle Morgan can’t help because he is a lawyer and one thing you know is you don’t want to be a lawyer. But here is the thing – you don’t know who Uncle Morgan went to college with, who his next-door neighbor is etc. He may know people who could be very interesting for you to talk with, but they can’t really engage with “I haven’t got a clue”.
Because the people who are asking these questions could be helpful, try these steps:
- Create hypothesizes. Think about what your major is and what kinds of work people do with that major. Go into your career services office and ask them to brainstorm with you. Come up with a few possibilities. Think of these as the rough draft of what you might be interested in.
For example if you are a business major you might say something like “I am not sure what I want to do BUT I am exploring opportunities in the ___________ industry and would probably want to start in a __________ or a ________________ role.
Or, if you are an environmental studies major you might say something like “I am not sure of what I want to do But I am exploring opportunities working in environmental sustainability in roles that involve educating the public.”
Now people can start engaging with you. By all means – engage back!
- Take those hypothesizes and start talking with people. Learn from people who are in the fields you are (maybe) interested in. Ask them to introduce you to other people who might be in the same field and could be helpful to you. In our work more than 50% of the new graduates we work with get their first job because somebody helped them. Someone introduced them to someone who introduced them to someone who hired them. Feel free to read our article on Informational Interviewing for more thoughts on how to get started.
We help soon-to-be or recent graduates make this transition every day, and many of them connect with us because they are deeply uncertain of what they want to do next. We know this works. If you are feeling stuck feel free to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 603-398-7278 to set up a free coaching session.
And if we don’t talk – Congrats on Graduating!