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So You’ve Graduated...What now?

It's a wonderful time of the year for academics: you're either beginning a new year or starting to enjoy the fruits of having completed university. Your life of exams, studying and living off baked beans is over. But what should you do next?

With the jobs market at an all time low, the previously default option of going straight into work isn't such a foregone conclusion any more. There are a number of options open to you now and you will need to think carefully about them as you won't have as much freedom at any time in your life as you have now.

Many university graduates choose to make the most of their freedom and go travelling. If you are fortunate enough to have some money put away you might like to go abroad and see a bit more of the world before starting your working life.

For those who aren't fortunate enough to have a cash stash at the ready, working abroad gives you a number of new options. Many bars and restaurants around the world are crying out for travelling people to work short-term, allowing you to see the world without needing a wad of cash before you leave. What's more, if you find a place you really like you might even consider settling down there rather than in the UK. With many more countries around the world having brighter economies and bigger job prospects than home at the moment, this might prove to be a wise choice.

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A Third of Graduates Forced Onto Jobseeker's Allowance

Research from has revealed that a third (34%) of UK graduates have been searching for work for over six months, forcing the same percentage to claim Jobseeker's Allowance. Shockingly, almost two fifths (16%) of graduates have applied for over a hundred jobs, without success, with one quarter not managing to secure a single interview.

The difficulty in finding work has led to a significantly lower wage expectations compared to those currently at university. Today's graduates expect to earn £19,800 a year, compared to those yet to leave university who expect over £800 a year more.

However, the regular survey of graduate jobseekers has shown some improvement in the last six months. There has been a 5% drop in graduates that have been looking for work for over a year and confidence has also improved as a result. In November 2011, 19% of graduate jobseekers said that they were not at all confident of finding work in the next year. Six months later, the figure is 10%. Confidence in finding work in the next six months has remained stable.

Mike Fetters, graduate director at, said of the results:

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