Monday, October 12, 2015

Decisions: do I get a graduate job or do postgraduate study?

If you’re struggling to make a decision between doing postgraduate study or getting a graduate job, here are some pros and cons that might help you weigh up your options.

Pros of postgraduate study…

  • It might be the key to your dream job. Some graduate schemes and roles require a masters/post-doctoral degree or equivalent. Some sectors require graduates to undertake a conversion course if your first degree isn’t in a relevant discipline – including IT, law and property – and a PGCE is the usual route to becoming a teacher. For graduates whose dream career requires this kind of further study, it’s a no brainer.

  • You get to spend more time studying the subject that you love. Some graduates can’t wait to delve deeper into the topics that interest them through postgraduate study. However, you might have hated your degree and find the idea of studying for another year (or more, if you fancy a PhD) unimaginable. If so, it’s probably not the right choice for you…

  • More letters after your name. Maybe you just really fancy having ‘Dr’ as your title…

Cons of postgraduate study…

  • The wealth of options for postgraduate study can be bewildering. If you think that you’d be interested in postgraduate study but feel as if you need more information about what’s available to you then get down to the TARGETpostgrad Study and Funding Fair. The fair is touring the UK until March 2016, giving you the chance to meet course providers and funding experts who will help you answer your questions.

  • You might be worried about getting a job afterwards. In some cases postgraduate study is used as an excuse to put off entering the world of work. It’s important to be sure that you really want (or need) to embark on further study rather than using it to bury your head in the sand. If you’re worried about employability, it’s worth noting that most employers will value a year of work experience above a postgraduate degree, unless it is directly relevant to the role.

Pros of getting a graduate job…

  • You earn a wage. After three or more years at university living off a student loan, many graduates can’t wait to start to start earning money. Even if it’s just to start paying back some of that debt…

  • You usually get on-the-job training. Many graduate schemes and jobs offer the opportunity for candidates to work towards a professional qualification or receive training while working. Some employers also allow graduate employees to take designated study leave to prepare for exams. If financial concerns are putting you off postgraduate study, but you’re keen to work towards further qualifications, this could be the route for you.

Cons of getting a graduate job…

  • It might be more difficult to start postgraduate study later on. It is not uncommon for people to return to education later in life, but obviously this is not always simple if you are in a full-time graduate position – it can sometimes involve taking time out of work.

  • It can be pretty stressful. University is tough and embarking on a demanding graduate career immediately after graduating can be a recipe for burnout. Although it’s not advisable to take a five year break, it’s not uncommon for graduates to take a year out if they do feel overwhelmed.

  • You have to start paying back your student loan once you start earning £21,000. Need I say more?

Whichever route you choose to take, TARGETjobs and TARGETpostgrad have plenty of advice, from tackling the mission that is writing a cover letter for a graduate job to deciding where to do your postgraduate study. If you’re really struggling, the TARGETjobs career planner can help you to become clearer about your career options and make a more informed decision about your career path.

Considering postgraduate study? Want to know more?

If you are considering undertaking postgraduate study, chances are you have a fair few questions - 'How will I get funding?', 'Which universities should I apply to?', 'What course is right for me?'

TARGETpostgrad is the leading provider of postgraduate fairs in the UK, giving you the opportunity to meet course providers and funding experts from across the UK, Europe and beyond. All of this and more for FREE!

2015/16 PG Fairs - dates and locations

Find out more and register to attend on the TARGETpostgrad website now. 

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