How long are you classed as a graduate?

  June 07, 2017

When is a graduate not a graduate? Well it depends on who you ask, some claim that two years after you finish university is the end of your 'graduate' life, while others will give you a few extra years to enjoy graduate status. But at some point in your job hunting, you will start to look at graduate jobs, and wonder whether you still count as a grad.

Ultimately though, the real question is 'does it matter?' And the answer to this, again depends on who you ask. For some being a graduate is a great thing, it offer an 'in' to a lot of great companies you wouldn't have access to otherwise. After all, if you applied to Google based purely on your previous work experience, you'd be probably be pretty stuffed, because odds are you don't have much. But as a recent graduate, you are fortunate to have job boards, and roles created especially to entice you in – you actually could get that job with Google, because they're looking for people just like you – young, enthusiastic, and fresh out of uni. This should make finding a job easy – all of these roles tailor made just for you (and a couple of hundred thousand other recent graduates).

On the flip side, however, being a graduate is also quite limiting, because you start to look at jobs as being one of two categories – graduate jobs and 'normal' jobs. Because you're a graduate you don't think you can apply for the 'normal jobs' (see above re the lack of experience). Yet as a graduate competing with those several hundred thousands other graduates, you're might also struggle to find your place in the #graduatejob world too. So what to do?

The answer is to try and break away from these labels, and even away from the traditional approaches to recruitment. Using job boards, and standard application routes isn't the best bet for most graduates, because you don't get a chance to demonstrate everything you have to offer (and while we don't know you personally, we'd bet you have loads to offer). But slowly, services like Happy Work are starting to spring up, and companies big and small are starting to get the message that if you want the best, then you need to look beyond their graduate status and even their grades. You need to match jobs based on passions, potential and values (which FYI, is exactly what Happy Work does).

As for the question – how long am I classed as a graduate, two years, five, ten? – we say it doesn't matter. Forget hunting down those graduate roles, and begin finding new ways to get the career that's going to make you happy.