Finding the light at the end of the ‘post-graduation tunnel’

Graduating is no easy thing. You think you’ve done the hard work already, studying for the exams, writing the dissertation, cooking for yourself for three years with no parent around to help… the majority of students think that actually graduating is the easy bit. You put on the cap and gown and celebrate your success, but what is most difficult is what comes next.

What do you do now?

You’ve been in education since you can remember (apart from if you were lucky enough to do a gap year traveling the world) and now you’re officially an adult, looking for adult jobs, and trying to make the most of your degree.

I studied English Literature and Film and I’ll be honest coming out of University was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I felt like I had spent so much time working towards a goal, which I then achieved, but hadn’t even thought about what I would do next. I found myself floating through a retail job to pass the time but it wasn’t fulfilling or challenging enough to make me want to continue. Until this point, I hadn’t really thought about my career or what I wanted to do, and then I drew a blank.

For a few months, I spent many an hour sat wracking my brain as to what I could do. Did I want to work in an office? Did I want to travel for work? Did I want to work with people?

After about 2 months I had decided I wanted to work in an office environment (in the words of Dolly Parton… the average 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working week really appealed to me), I wanted to work with people and I wanted to continue studying. From there, accountancy made sense. It fit the mould for me, and I’m not saying it will for everyone, but the profession as a whole is one in which you will never stop learning. There is no ceiling to your opportunities, and this is something I really needed. Also, I’m one of the people who find finance and figures really fun!

Finding PJCO was like the light at the end of the ‘post-graduation tunnel’. The training schemes offered by the firm are comprehensive and structured, with a clear three-year plan which leads to becoming a fully qualified Chartered Certified Accountant.

The programme contains the statutory requirements to qualify, made up of 13 exams with fully funded Kaplan Financial Training, and the 36 months of work experience. This is also combined with an in-depth understanding of the practical elements of accounting and tax. The most important element for me was the face-to-face client exposure from day one. I’ve been able to build relationships with the clients, which has aided an understanding of their businesses as well as their finance situations. Ultimately, PJCO equips you with all of the skills and experiences required to become a fully qualified Chartered Certified Accountant as well as all the responsibilities associated with running a portfolio of clients, becoming a well-rounded small business advisor, the latter becoming increasingly prevalent in this time of technological change.

You will not be the only one who has recently graduated with either a 1st or a 2:1 looking for a job, and this is one of the fundamental reasons it is increasingly difficult to come out of University and find the perfect job instantly. The market is competitive and you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd; you want the employers to remember you and that’s hard to do from one sheet of black and white paper as a CV. If you are interested in the role described above, or alternatively just looking for a bit of advice as to how to do this, here is my ‘un-educated’ opinion…

  • It sounds silly, but make sure your CV doesn’t have any spelling or grammar mistakes. Employers really don’t like it and it doesn’t give a good first impression.
  • Always write a covering letter. Your CV is just a list of your qualifications and previous experience and doesn’t let your personality shine. At the end of the day, your personality is what will make you stand out the most so use it to your advantage.
  • Make direct contact with the business. It is all well and good sending your CV through one of the millions of job sites but the business will know that you’re passionate, excited and engaged with the job if you go out of your way to talk to them. Also, businesses (especially PJCO) really value employees who are able to talk to people, so making this obvious from the start is really important.
  • If it is a training scheme that you are applying for, contact the trainees currently employed and ask them about the role. How they find the job and what they enjoy about it. Again, it shows initiative and people will remember you!
  • Maybe make a video to accompany your CV and cover letter? There is nothing that the camera can hide and so you will really get across your enthusiasm, and it’s much nicer to watch a video than read a CV.
  • Ask for trial days. No one wants to work for free but showing a willingness to come in and show how good you are really will set you apart.
  • Keep trying, you’ll find the right job eventually!

If you have any questions please let me know, just pop me a LinkedIn message.  Good luck!

Chloe Watson PJCO Peter Jarman
Chloe Watson
Elvis Presley

I have no use for bodyguards, but I have very specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants.

Elvis Presley