How to help your child make the transition from studying to the working world

For most students, the final year approaching their graduation is the next major transition in their lives. Whatever the next step after university: be it work, post-graduate study or time out to travel; it will essentially mean a change in lifestyle, demands and most likely, location.


Below are some top tips by Marcus Zientek, a Careers Adviser at the University of Sheffield, which will help your daughter or son make a successful and smooth move from university to working life.


  • My child is confused about what they want to do, how can I point them in the right direction?

Deciding what to do after university is often difficult and can take some time. At the University of Sheffield, the Careers Service provides students with access to ‘personality profiling tools’ to help them analyse key factors about themselves. As a parent, you know your daughter or son better than most, so talk to them about their different abilities, their strengths, their weaknesses and help them to make a sensible choice about where to head next


  • When can they start applying for graduate jobs?

Application dates for graduate training programmes are often early in the academic year. At the University of Sheffield, we provide students with details of vacancies and closing dates on our Vacancy listing portal (‘myVacancies’) and also at recruitment fairs, where many employers attend. Help ensure your daughter or son doesn’t miss out by talking to them about their applications, and encouraging them to apply on time for their chosen job or course. You’d be surprised how quickly time will fly!


  • How can I help them find a job?

Finding a job is increasingly competitive, and many students get into work through networking with people in their target career, and getting as much work experience as possible. Talking with individuals who can offer them work experience or give them advice is really useful, so helping your daughter or son to find contacts through family and friends is a big help.


  • What practical advice can I give?

Entering into working life, after a life at university is a big change, and many new graduates remark on how their working and lifestyle patterns alter significantly. Offer your constructive (!) advice about what it’s like to work full time, and the priorities you have to manage. In addition to this, assistance with managing their money and student debts can help them adjust when they leave the security of being a student.


  • Point them in the direction of the Careers Service!

Each university will have a comprehensive and useful Careers Service. At many universities, including here at the University of Sheffield, the Careers Service is available for students up to three years after they have graduated, providing a wide range of assistance, including advice by email – a big help in today’s tough jobs market. They can also help point your child in the right direction if you are unable to use any connections when searching for relevant work experience.


Remember to continue to encourage your child when they hit the odd bump in the road and to seek constructive advice when they most need it – eventually they’ll make it into their dream job!


Marcus Zientek is a Careers Adviser at the University of Sheffield.


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