‘Which industry is right for me?’

Written by Katie Clough Wednesday 09 June 2021
For graduates entering the job market, the career options can feel baffling. But there are a few helpful principles first...
Young woman sitting on a chair in a waiting room before an interview

It’s not uncommon for graduates to finish university and not know what they want to do. Even if you know you are ready to get your first graduate job, there is still the big question: what industry is right for me?

SME or large corporate?

Some graduates might be put off graduate start-up jobs, especially in the current climate, as they might imagine themselves in a team of three working in a coffee shop without much job security. However, this is not always the reality as SMEs can be as large as 250 employees.

The benefits of working for a start-up include:

  • Start-ups have a great company culture where people can get stuck in. In general, they tend to be more flexible
  • Working in an SME is a great way to get more responsibility in your first role as you’ll be working in a smaller team. In many cases, you’ll be learning directly from a start-up founder
  • You will quickly develop new skills and have a direct impact in contributing to the success of the business

IT and tech jobs

When you’re looking for graduate IT jobs, it’s important to think about what IT role is right for you. If you have a basic knowledge of programming, strong maths abilities and understand code, then you might want to look at software developer roles. On the other hand, if you have a strong interest in tech but your skills are more aligned with communication, innovation and analytical thinking, then you might want to look at some entry-level fintech jobs.

PR and communications

If you’re about to leave university and are a confident communicator, then you might be the perfect fit for junior PR jobs. In a role in PR and communications, you will be expected to have brilliant verbal and written communication. Most graduate PR jobs will need you to liaise with a wide range of clients, adhering to different people’s needs and priorities. It’s also important to have excellent written communication, as you’ll need to create content for multiple different purposes such as blogs, media releases, proposals and company comms.

Sales and business development

One thing that companies love about graduates is that they offer a fresh perspective, new ideas and energy to the company. For entry-level sales jobs, you’ll want to be self-motivated, driven and able to adapt and cope well with unexpected problems. Working in sales can sometimes come with rejection so you need to be able to handle this well. However, it can also come with instant and fast results, so if you are driven by goals and commission-based salary structures, then graduate sales jobs could be perfect for you.

Marketing and advertising

Graduate marketing jobs are highly sought after. Marketing and advertising are exciting industries to be in, which can involve taking responsibility on multiple projects at once. You’ll need excellent time management and communication skills. When you’re looking for entry-level marketing jobs, consider what type of marketing role you are interested in. Someone who is interested in digital marketing will need to be skilled in data analysis and have a very keen eye for detail – perhaps your friends say you are a bit of a perfectionist! On the other hand, a content marketer will need to be creative, have excellent written communication skills and be highly adaptable to different styles of written and verbal communication. There are many types of advertising and marketing jobs and this might seem confusing – but check out our Career Advice YouTube video for advice from the industry professionals.

Banking and finance

Working in banking and finance will be fast-paced, exciting and competitive. Even in entry-level finance jobs you’ll need to hit the ground running and be confident with tackling high-pressure and unpredictable situations. Many graduates are interested in finance graduate schemes because of their solid and clearly defined progression structure. However, if graduate schemes aren’t something that you are interested in, there are other entry routes such as client services, FX broking and business development that will give you a variety of experience in the industry.

Still unsure which career is for you? Take the quiz on the Give A Grad A Go website and find out which career is right for you?

Why not join the #CMIFamily – see what we’re about by joining our live on Thursday on how focusing on personal development enabled one Family Member to land their dream job!

Don’t forget that on CMI’s Career Development Centre, members have access to a free CV review tool, an interview simulator, and career advice videos. Log in and try it today!

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