Congrats on graduating! You've achieved a significant milestone in your life, and now you're probably wondering, what's next? The options are endless and can be overwhelming.
We created this step-by-step guide to answer all your questions about life after graduation, including how to find your first job as a graduate.
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Here are some of the issues we will cover in this guide:
- 1.Finding your Path ?
- 2.Dealing with Anxiety After Graduation
- 3.Preparing for Your Life After Graduation
- 4.Exploring Additional Opportunities for Graduates
- 5.Young Graduate Jobs: Navigating the Job Search
- 6.Stand out in the crowd: your Personal Brand
Finding your Path
You’ve been looking forward to this point, but now that you are there it may feel like an anti-climax, and you may feel a little lost. Below are some ideas to help you figure out what to do if you don’t know what to do after graduation:
Take time to reflect: It is okay to take time out to reflect on your interests, passions, and goals. Think about what excites you and what you'd like to achieve in the long-term.
Do research: Investigate different careers, industries, and companies that align with your interests and skills. Reach out to alumni, mentors, or professionals in your network to get their insights and advice.
Try new things: Consider taking on internships, volunteering, or freelance projects to gain new experiences and skills. This can also help you figure out what you enjoy doing and what you're good at.
Don't be afraid to ask for help: Reach out to career counselors, advisors, or mentors for guidance and support.
Dealing with Anxiety After Graduation
It's common to feel anxious or overwhelmed after graduating. You have spent years working towards this moment, and it can be challenging to navigate the unknown.
Manage post-graduation job anxiety and calm down
Take stock, tap yourself on the shoulder for what you have accomplished and have some fun.
Take time to acknowledge your feelings and focus on self-care. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and don't hesitate to seek professional help if needed.
What if I don’t find a job after graduation?
Finding a job after graduation can be tough, and it's normal to feel discouraged if you're not having much luck. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and keep searching:
- Don't give up: Keep submitting applications, even if you're not getting many responses. It may take time to find the right job, but persistence pays off.
- Network: Reach out to alumni, mentors, and professionals in your field for advice and job leads.
- Consider alternative options: Consider internships, freelance projects, or part-time work to gain experience and build your skills.
- Develop your skills: Take online courses, attend workshops, or work on personal projects to develop new skills
- Stay positive: Focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Celebrate small successes like getting an interview or receiving positive feedback on your resume.
You can find more inspiration in our article five secrets for a happy job hunt.
Preparing for Your Life After Graduation
Preparing for life after graduation is exciting, and a little intimidating, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition smoother.
What are the steps to take if I move away from home?
If you've decided to move away from home, there are some important steps you'll need to take:
- Research your new city: Before you move, take some time to find out as much as you can about your new city. Learn about the neighborhoods, transportation options, and local amenities like grocery stores and restaurants. This way you’ll feel more comfortable and confident when you arrive.
- Find housing: Housing is a major expense, so it's important to find a place to live that fits your budget and your needs. Start your search early and consider options like shared housing or dormitories to save money.
- Set up your utilities: Check with your landlord or property management company to find out how to set up your utilities such as electricity, gas, and water.
- Meet new people: Join organizations that interest you, attend events and social gatherings, and be open to making new friends.
What type of insurance do I need?
Moving away from home means you'll need to take responsibility for insurance. Here are some types of insurance you may need:
- Renters insurance: If you're renting a house or apartment, you'll need renters' insurance to protect your personal belongings in case of theft, fire, or other damage. This type of insurance is usually affordable and can provide valuable peace of mind.
- Health insurance: In Belgium, health insurance is mandatory for all residents. If you're no longer covered by your parents' insurance, you'll need to sign up for your own. There are many different health insurance providers in Belgium, so it's important to shop around and compare plans to find the best fit for your needs and budget.
- Liability insurance: Liability insurance protects you in case you accidentally damage someone else's property or cause injury. This type of insurance may be included with your renter's insurance or can be purchased separately.
- Car insurance: If you own a car, you'll need to have car insurance. There are several types of car insurance available in Belgium, including liability insurance, collision insurance, and comprehensive insurance. Compare prices and coverage options to find the best fit for your needs.
- Travel insurance: If you plan to travel outside of Belgium, consider purchasing travel insurance. This can provide coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events.
When does my kinderbijslag stop?
Kinderbijslag is a financial benefit provided by the Belgian government to help support families with children. If you are a student who has moved away from your parents' house, you may be wondering if you are still eligible for kinderbijslag. Here are some websites where you can find out what the situation is in different parts of Belgium: what you need to know:
What will my expenses be if I move away?
It is important to understand the financial implications of living on your own. Here are some expenses to consider:
- Rent: Depending on where you live in Belgium, rent can be a significant expense. Make sure to research the rental market in your desired location and factor in the cost of utilities and other housing-related expenses.
- Food: Grocery shopping and cooking for yourself can be more cost-effective than eating out, but it is still important to budget for food expenses.
- Transportation: If you're moving to a new city or town, you may need to factor in the cost of public transportation or owning a car. This can include expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance.
- Utilities: Depending on your living situation, you may need to pay for utilities such as electricity, water, and internet. Research the typical cost of these expenses in your area and factor them into your budget.
What tax will I have to pay?
If you have moved out of your parents' house and started earning income, you will likely have to pay taxes in Belgium.
To find information about how to file your taxes in Belgium, visit the Belgian tax authorities' website or contact your local tax office.
Understanding Your Payslip: Brutto vs. Netto Wages and Essential Benefits for Belgian Young Graduates
As a young graduate entering the workforce in Belgium, it's crucial to understand the components of your payslip and the various benefits available to you. Let's shed some light on a few important aspects:
Brutto vs. Netto Wages: Your gross salary, also known as "brutto," represents your total earnings before any deductions or taxes. So this is what your employers pays for you. Your’ re netto wage is the amount you will receive on your bank account after after taxes and other deductions. To calculate the difference, you can use online calculators like those provided by the Belgian government or specialized websites.
Meal Vouchers: Many employers in Belgium offer meal vouchers as a part of employee benefits. These vouchers can be used to purchase meals or food items at participating restaurants, supermarkets, or food delivery services. They are typically tax-exempt up to a certain amount, which can provide significant savings on your daily expenses.
ADV (Additional Days Off) Days : ADV days, also known as "additional days off," . In this system you work 1 or 2 hours more every week which is compensated by extra holidays. In Belgium, there are specific holidays known as "European holidays" and "Youth holidays" for people who aren’t entitled to legal holidays.
European and Youth Holidays: In Belgium, there are specific holidays known as "European holidays" and "Youth holidays" that are unique to certain regions. European holidays are additional days off granted to employees based on their occupation, such as construction workers. Youth holidays, on the other hand, are specific holidays provided to students and young workers during certain periods, allowing them to enjoy a break from their studies or work.
Group Insurance: Group insurance, often offered by employers, is a type of insurance coverage provided to a group of employees. It typically includes benefits like life insurance, disability insurance, and pension plans. The premiums for group insurance are often deducted from your gross salary, providing you with added security and future financial stability.
A lot to procces? Do not worry, our experts can explain this as well for you.
Exploring Additional Opportunities for Graduates
Internship in Belgium: How to find one?
One of the best ways to gain practical work experience is by doing an internship after graduation. But how do you find an internship? Here are a few tips to get you started.
First, use your network! Talk to your professors, classmates, family, and friends to see if they know of any post-grad internships that might be a good fit for you. Don't be afraid to contact alumni from your school who might offer guidance.
Search online job boards and company websites. Many companies post their internship opportunities online, so make sure to check out their career pages.
Apprenticeships for graduates
You may have heard the terms "internship" and "apprenticeship" thrown around, but what do they actually mean? And what's the difference between the two?
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a type of job training program that typically involves a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Apprenticeships are commonly found in skilled trades like construction, manufacturing, and automotive repair. During an apprenticeship, you'll work alongside experienced professionals in your field, learning the skills you need to succeed in your career.
Apprenticeships vs internship – what is the difference?
On the other hand, an internship is a short-term work experience that is typically done while you're still in school or immediately after graduation. Internships are usually found in a variety of industries, and they allow you to get a taste of what it's like to work in your chosen field.
So, which one is best for you? It depends on your career goals and interests. If you're interested in a career in a skilled trade, an apprenticeship might be a great option. You'll get hands-on experience and learn valuable skills.
If you are not sure what you want to do yet, or if you are interested in exploring different career options, an internship might be the way to go.
Postgraduate degree – should I study more?
If you can’t find a job or need more time before committing to work, you may consider studying further in your field.
What course should I do after graduation?
A postgraduate refers to a student who has successfully completed an undergraduate degree level course at a college or university and is now doing another course at a more advance level.
What is a Postgraduate course?
Typically, a postgraduate course is a one-year course, if done full-time – or a part-time course with a two-year duration.
This type of course includes a postgraduate diploma – which is more practical and entails less research, a postgraduate degree or a master's degree.
The idea is to build on what you have learned in your undergraduate degree, and so, completing postgraduate studies could give you a better chance of getting a job.
Will a master’s degree help me find a job?
Although there is no guarantee, the fact that you have done a master’s degree indicates that you have a deeper understanding of the subject and could help to open doors for you.
Remember though that some employers also look for relevant work experience and soft skills and not just academic qualifications.
Ultimately, having a master’s degree is just one part of the equation – skills, experience and your passion are other important factors when it comes to landing the job of your dreams.
Considering a Student Gap Year: Pros and Cons
Taking a gap year can be a great opportunity to gain new experiences and explore your interests. It can also provide valuable time to reflect on your goals and aspirations.
Will taking a gap year harm my chances of finding a job in the future?
While it's true that some employers may view a gap year negatively, others may see it as a valuable experience that shows you are well-rounded and have a unique perspective. Here are some things to consider:
- Gain relevant experience: If you plan to take a gap year, consider using that time to gain relevant experience in your field of interest. This can include internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs.
- Keep your skills up to date: This can include taking classes, attending workshops, or working on personal projects.
- Address the gap: When it comes time to apply for jobs after your gap year, make sure you address the gap in your resume, cover letter and interviews.
- Be confident: Don't be afraid to talk about your gap year experience during interviews. Highlight the experiences and things you learned and show how they can be applied to the job you are applying for.
Young Graduate Jobs: Navigating the Job Search
Essential Steps to Find Your First Job After Graduation
Finding your first job after graduation can be challenging, but with a little effort and planning, you’ll get there. The most important thing is to have a positive mindset and to be resilient. Approach your search in a focused and professional way – dedicating a few hours every day to this.
- Attend online and offline networking events to meet people in your field.
- Career fairs: Attend career fairs near you to connect with companies and employers in your area.
- Online job boards: Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn are great places to start your job search. These sites allow you to search for jobs by location, industry, and job title.
- Company websites: If you have a specific company in mind, check their website for job openings.
- Career centers: Most universities have career centers that can help recent graduates with their job search. Contact your university’s career center for job search advice, resume and cover letter reviews, and interview preparation.
- Internships: Consider taking an internship to gain experience in your field. Many internships can lead to full-time job offers.
Also read our article:: Jeunes diplômés : 5 astuces pour une recherche d’emploi réussie.
Also read our article: Young graduate jobs: 5 tips for a successful job search.
Also download our Career guide: Step by step to your dream job.
Overcoming Lack of Experience as a New Graduate
You may worry that you won’t find a company who is willing to hire you because you don’t have any experience. But there are ways to overcome this challenge:
- Start with an entry-level position: These jobs are designed for recent graduates who don’t have much experience.
- Emphasize your education: Highlight your academic achievements and the skills you developed during your studies.
- Highlight any relevant experience: You may not have experience, but you may have completed an internship or volunteered in your field.
- Develop your skills: Take courses or attend workshops to develop your skills in your field. This will make you a more competitive candidate.
- Network: Reach out to people in your field to learn about job opportunities. Attend job fairs and industry events to meet people who can help you find a job.
Also read our post How to land your first job as a young graduate for more inspiration.
Finding Companies that Align with Your Values
Here are some tips to find a company that reflects your values:
- Research the company: Look up the company’s mission statement, values, and sustainability practices on their website.
- Ask questions during the interview: Ask questions about the company’s values and sustainability practices during the interview process.
- Look for employee testimonials: Look for employee reviews of the company online to see what employees have to say about the company’s values.
Also read our article about How to find a company that reflects your own values and Finding a company that fits you.
Stand out in the crowd: your Personal Brand
Maximizing Social Media and Networking for Job Search
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for recent graduates looking to connect with professionals in their field and find job opportunities. Read our article to learn more about do's and don'ts for using LinkedIn as a graduate:
How social media can help you find a job
Other social media networks such as Instagram and TikTok can also be useful in looking for jobs as many companies now also advertise their open positions in these channels.
Of course, you also must bear in mind that many employers, if not most, nowadays will scan your social media channels during an application process, so keep your online reputation in mind when posting anything about yourself.
Read our post for tips on how social media can help you find a job.
Networking tips for graduates: Online and offline
Networking is crucial for finding job opportunities and advancing your career. Here are some tips
- Online networking: Use social media to connect with professionals in your field, join relevant groups, and share your work and insights.
- Offline networking: Attend industry events, career fairs, and alumni events to meet professionals in person.
- Be proactive: Reach out to professionals you admire, and ask for informational interviews. This can lead to valuable advice for your career.
- Follow up: After meeting someone, always follow up with a thank you email or message. This helps to keep the conversation going and shows you value the connection.
Also read our post for more networking tips for graduates.
You can also find more inspiration in this post about how to find a job online and offline.
The journey to the job: CV, cover letter and more
CV for graduates – tips and examples
Having a professional CV is a very important part of finding a job. Here are some tips for what to include in your CV:
- Highlight your education: List your degree(s), relevant coursework, and academic achievements. Don't forget to mention any honors or awards you received.
- Emphasize your skills: Even if you don't have much work experience, you have developed valuable skills throughout your education and extracurricular activities.
- Tailor your CV to the job: Don’t send out the same CV to every job they apply for but customize your CV to match the specific requirements of each job.
- SBe concise: While you want to include all your relevant experience and skills, you also want to keep your CV concise and to the point. Stick to one or two pages.
Get more tips here
How to write a cover letter for new graduates
Writing a cover letter is an important part of the application process. Here are some tips to help you write a great cover letter:
- Address it to the right person: Do some research to find the name of the person who will be reviewing your application. If you can't find it, use a generic greeting like "Dear Hiring Manager."
- Customize it for the job: Tailor your cover letter to the job you're applying for. Mention specific skills and experiences that relate to the job, and explain why you're interested in the position.
- Use a conversational tone: Avoid using overly formal or stuffy language.
- Highlight your achievements: Use examples from your education, internships, or extracurricular activities to display your achievements and skills.
- Keep it concise: Your cover letter should be one page or less. Use short paragraphs and bullet points.
- Proofread it carefully: Read your cover letter aloud to catch any errors or awkward phrasing. Ask a friend or family member to review it as well.
- End with a call to action: End your cover letter with a request for a call or meeting.
Also read our previous post on creating a cover letter for new graduates.
Preparing for job interviews
So, you managed to get an interview! Great job. The next step is to carefully prepare for your interview to give yourself the best possible chance of success.
Research the company, to help you show the value you can bring and ask relevant questions.
Also read our previous post about preparing for job interviews.
Video job interviews
Video job interviews are becoming increasingly common, and it's important to be prepared. Be yourself, stay calm, and let your personality shine through!
Common interview mistakes to avoid
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and it is easy to make mistakes that can cost you the job. Avoid these common interview mistakes:
- Arriving late: Be early to allow time for unexpected delays and to compose yourself before the interview.
- Dressing inappropriately: Dress professionally, even if the company has a casual dress code. Avoid revealing clothing or anything flashy.
- Failing to research the company: Do your homework on the company before the interview. Read their website, annual reports, and news articles to understand their mission, values, and products or services.
- Not practicing your answers: Prepare responses to common interview questions and practice with a friend or family member.
- Talking too much: Avoid talking too much or oversharing personal information.
- Forgetting to ask questions: Have some questions prepared to ask the interviewer about the company, the job, or their experiences. This shows your interest in the position.
- Failing to follow up: After the interview, send a thank-you email or note to the interviewer to express your appreciation and reiterate your interest in the position.
The Jobfair: your first networking grounds
University job fairs—the gateway to a world of exciting career opportunities and personal growth. Here's why attending these job fairs can be a game-changer for your future:
- Expansive Job Opportunities: University job fairs offer a one-of-a-kind platform to explore a vast array of job opportunities. Renowned companies from diverse industries gather to seek fresh talent, making it a treasure trove of potential career paths suited to your unique skill set and interests.
- I Direct Interaction with Employers: Job fairs give you the invaluable chance to interact directly with company representatives and recruiters. Engaging in face-to-face conversations allows you to make a lasting impression, showcase your passion, and learn about the company's culture and values.
- Discover Hidden Gems: Not all job opportunities are widely advertised. At university job fairs, you can stumble upon hidden gems—startups or smaller companies with tremendous growth potential and exciting roles that might not be found through traditional job search methods.
- Network, Network, Network: Networking is a potent catalyst for career success. University job fairs provide an environment where you can expand your professional network, fostering connections that may lead to mentorship, internship opportunities, or even job offers down the road.
- Professional Development Insights: Many job fairs offer workshops, seminars, and panel discussions led by industry experts. These sessions provide valuable insights into trends, employer expectations, and skills in demand, empowering you to fine-tune your career strategy.
- Gain Interview Experience: Engaging in conversations with potential employers during job fairs allows you to gain interview experience in a less formal setting. This experience can bolster your confidence and sharpen your communication skills for future job interviews.
- Access to Recruitment Agencies: Just like Page Personnel, esteemed recruitment agencies often participate in university job fairs. Connecting with them opens doors to personalized career advice, CV critiques, and exclusive job listings tailored to your qualifications.
Don't miss out on the chance to attend university job fairs—where dreams become realities, and ambitions find wings. Empower yourself with knowledge, seize the moment, and let your future shine brightly amidst the myriad opportunities that await you!
Don’t forget to bring your CV!
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