54% of employers say that university simply does not make students employable. Young people are better served by doing work experience in their free time. If you think you’ve not had enough of this, and you’re a graduate who doesn’t feel ready to compete in the job market, then don’t worry. A transition job may be the perfect way to go.
A transition job is one that doesn’t tie in with your career aspirations. It will usually be easier to become competent in, more casual and less stressful than your average full-time graduate job because your sense of self won’t be wrapped up within it. Yet it will tide you over with some decent pocket money.
This kind of employment is also a good way of building skills and networks of contacts, adding to your CV and getting used to full-time work, all whilst not bearing too much responsibility. And in your spare time, you could get valuable work experience in your real field of interest. So this period of transition will equip you with the necessary tools and energy to eventually apply for the graduate role you’re truly passionate about.
There are even career transition groups on social media and careers-related websites where you can socialise with others who are at a similar stage in life. They may be able to motivate you, help you explore your passion and support you with day-to-day advice.
Here are 10 solid examples of transition jobs and where you may consider applying for them:
Healthcare is a candy factory full of transition jobs. While there are loads of health-related roles that require years of education and training, you can apply for support jobs as long as you’ve got computer literacy and customer service skills.
Healthcare jobs offer a great deal of flexibility with work hours. Hospitals staff around the clock and pay you extra for working nights and weekends. They also offer opportunities to work as little as 2 shifts a month, or as much as 40 hours a week. They will also provide health benefits, even for part-time workers.
Hospitals may also pay for your training if you decide to stay on and gain a more specialised role, perhaps working with ultrasound or x-ray machines. You’re also bound to be moving around a lot, and making good friends, as hospitals tend to be huge and full of volunteers and workers from diverse backgrounds.
You may not know what you’re doing but the hospital can make it look like you do.
Obviously you can only do this if you have a skill that’s developed enough for someone to pay for it. But before you scroll on, think more carefully about your skills. If you’ve just finished an essay-based degree course, you might be a better writer than you give yourself credit for, so you could try your hand at freelance article creation.
You can sign up to Talent Cupboard which is specifically for students and graduates, but there are many more websites out there that connect freelancers with businesses.
If you’re a coder or designer then you’ll probably already know how brilliant you are and how to make money with your skills. But have you ever thought about teaching your skill to others? SwapASkill allows you to organise sessions with people who want to learn how to cook, paint, code, play an instrument, learn a language or do DIY. You can provide a service and set your own rates and working hours.
Others should try to think more broadly. There are websites that allow you to do babysitting, pet sitting, and even cooking for people with special kinds of diets. Or you can even make income selling handmade items (everything from jewellery to birthday cards) on Etsy! Yes, this is getting very random, but that’s only because there are so many possibilities with freelancing.
Tutoring deserves its own section because it is a serious, serious option worth considering. I taught history and Spanish last year to a 16-year old AS student for £30 an hour. The website that got me the job (Sesquis) only took a small commission and regularly gave me advice and asked how it was going.
When they saw I was doing well, they gave me another job. I helped a GCSE student (whose parents were billionaires residing in Hyde Park) with her English and art work, even though I hadn’t done either since A level.
This is the best country in the world in which to be a tutor. Our education system piles exams on students and there are many, many wealthy families in major cities who will happily pay a graduate to get their children good results. If I can do it as a first-year (and a few of my friends also managed it after doing their research), graduates are in a great position to pass on their knowledge.
The money is incredible and the job is fun compared to most. I signed up at my fresher’s fair, but there may also be Facebook groups local to your area where parents ask for skills and you advertise your course and academic passion. Plus, websites similar to Sesquis include: TutorHunt, ActionTutoring and BigFootTutoring.
A tutoring session a day keeps bankruptcy away.
4) Legal assistant
This is also known as being a paralegal, and requires nowhere near as much training as it takes to be a solicitor. Legal assistants work on summarising records, updating file materials, drafting pleadings, gathering documents that clients demand, and researching background information on opposing parties or past cases.
The job requires great writing skills and analysis, and you probably gained this from your degree. It’s more than a basic administration job if law is your area of interest; you’re in a legal environment, networking with solicitors and gaining insight to see whether you’d like to do what they already do.
In this role you’ll also gain skills useful for numerous careers: research, investigation, management, computer skills and customer relations, so the role will look impressive on your CV. You may find advertisements for this kind of job in your local newspaper, and on more general kind of websites like Indeed.
5) Social Media manager
A social media manager is not a full-on marketing director but does take control of one key aspect of a business’ marketing strategy: its brand presentation on Twitter and Facebook.
You will quickly learn how to use programmes to schedule social media posts, pick up on trends and engage with the biggest online influencers. Not a whole lot of training is necessary but writing skills certainly which, again, your degree should have hammered into you.
It helps if perhaps you took care of a society’s social channels whilst at university. You can give examples of your posts and show facts and figures that prove how well you engaged online. Don’t expect full hours or high pay but this kind of job may be good for transitioning into marketing and advertising.
Colouring makes office life worth living.
6) Administrative assistant
Every business and service in the country, from estate agencies to the houses of parliament, has an office that requires staff to act as the middlemen between customers and professionals.
They need to know the business inside out to be able to deal with customer queries, and they need to communicate this knowledge concisely and effectively, both over the phone and by e-mail. True, there will be boring jobs to do in administration and not much room to show your creativity or independent thought, but you may like the stress-free nature of falling into a routine.
It is good to have this on your CV in order to show you have built good organisational and management skills, as administration involves managing your own workload, filing large volumes of paperwork, entering data and showing good attention to detail. All key skills for any career. Admin jobs are quite common on Reed.
7) Call centre worker
It may not sound glamorous, but working in a call centre has its perks. Talking to people all day can be more interesting than staring at a screen in silence, and you may get rewards for good sales.
Great communication skills are a must; you have to empathise and negotiate with the customer. You’ll have to describe products or services very effectively, or you may be charged with dealing with complaints and stopping customers leaving the service.
There are also surprising opportunities for promotion – I know someone who sold insurance to over 50s for Rias and gradually saw her monthly bonuses grow. Workplace parties were also regularly held and treats (both sugary and alcoholic) were handed out on a regular basis to motivate workers.
Starting your own business is like being a freelancer. You’re required to be an organiser, a manager, an administrator and a creative. But instead of completing other people’s projects, you’re creating your own. Even if you don’t plan to invest a great deal of time or money in your business idea, launching it on a small scale will help you develop a vast array of skills.
You’ll be pitching your idea to investors, organising events for PR, creating long term plans, describing your product or service to potential customers, leveraging resources, maintaining contact with clients, and recording sales and profits. It’s a huge range of activities that’s unlikely to get dull.
If you’re serious about an idea, or if it proves successful on a small scale, you can apply for loans to get you going. Virgin Startup provides funds to entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 UK-wide. A pilot of the scheme, which ran over 11 months, injected £600,000 into 100 businesses.
Virgin gives you business support and mentoring to help you develop your idea. The interest rates are low over a time frame of a few years and they’ll discuss with you the level of support you’ll need to gain some traction. The average size loan they give out is £5,000. Britain is one of the easiest countries in the world in which to start a business so why not make your move?
Code, glorious code.
9) Software tester
As a software tester, your role is to ensure that new IT programs would exactly as their developers predicted. It’s useful to have a strong understanding of one or more querying languages, such as SQL, as well as programming languages like PHP, .NET or Java.
Once you understand what the program is meant to do, you’ll carry out tasks such as functional testing, customer scenario testing, stress testing, performance testing, scalability testing and international testing. You can work within an industry that interests you, as computer programs are integral to many businesses, including gaming, consumer electronics and automotive.
Not only will you gain great experience in software development, but you’ll improve writing, communication and presentation skills, as you’ll have to be paying attention to detail, noting down faults, recording your actions and reporting the results of your tests.
Furthermore, the pay is great because software testers are in high demand. CWjobs is geared towards tech careers and currently has over 10,000 jobs advertised.
Alcohol can get you through every day of work if you’re in the right job.
10) Wine connoisseur
Warning: this is not a joke. Majestic Wine is the UK’s largest specialist retailer of wine, offering trainee retail management roles to graduates in its 213 stores. ‘All you need is a love of people and wine’ they stress persistently.
As a trainee manager, you’ll literally gain an industry-recognised qualification in wine (called WSET Level 3). This’ll help you to appreciate wine and break your habit of downing your three for ten pounds. After this, all your friends will want you to host the parties.
You’ll also get involved with every aspect of store management, and the learning curve of the fast-paced working environment is likely to make you highly employable in future. You’re not just working behind a till.
The starting salary is decent and students from all kinds of degree backgrounds have successfully entered the scheme. You can read their testimonies and learn more about the whole shebang here.