Careers advice for final year students in 2021

We know that as a final year student, you may be concerned about how the coronavirus pandemic could affect your next steps and job-hunting.

You can find information alongside advice, tips and useful resources below. And don’t forget you can still access 1-1 employability support via email, phone and MS Teams. Get in touch via email to [email protected].

What we currently know about employers and recruitment

Posted: March 2021

  • Some sectors (such as the Arts, retail and hospitality) have been hit harder than othersTargetJOBS share information on how different sectors have been adapting to the pandemic in more detail. 
  • In light of social distancing measures, the majority of organisations have moved to remote recruitment selection processes, including phone and video interviews.  
  • Research from job search engine Adzuna indicates that although there are fewer vacancies being advertised in comparison to pre-pandemic levels, vacancies are making a tentative recovery despite the current lockdown (February 2021) and the UK leaving the European Union. The fast roll-out of the vaccine across the country and the government’s announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown may also offer hope for rising vacancies.   
  • Due to the transferable skills you gain from your studies, you may discover that there is a much wider range of options open to you than you may first appreciate. Many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so exploring broader opportunities in the short term could be a good strategy in a more challenging economic environment.  
  • This article from Prospects takes a look at how COVID-19 has affected recruitment and skills shortages 
  • Find out how coronavirus has impacted the self-employed and what this means if you are considering self-employment 
  • Experimental data from the Office for National Statistics tells us that in April 2020, just under 50% of people in employment were doing some work from home, 86% of whom were doing so as a result of the pandemic. There is a strong indication (e.g. Ball 2020) that homeworking is here to stay in some form beyond the pandemic, particularly for professional services and IT roles. 

How you can prepare for your next steps

1. Read TargetJOBS’ article on what graduates need to know about job-hunting in 2021  and visit the NextStep Support  website for a wealth of material on graduate recruitment, news and employer updates in the current COVID-19 crisis. Urban Jungle (2020), in partnership with UNiDAYS, have also published research about the concerns and aspirations of students, along with engaging with business experts to provide some much-needed advice and inspiration for those needing a boost.

2. If you’re unsure of where to go next, explore what can I do with my degree? or take the Career Planner quiz on Prospects, to help match your skills, motivations and desires to a career.   Also visit TargetJobs for sector and industry insights. 

3. Review your CV to ensure it is promoting any relevant skills and experience effectively. Prospects have some useful articles on how to write a CV and writing a personal profile in addition to some example CVs. Or why not work on creating a standout personal statement.

4. Work your way through the Employability Webinar recordings on YouTube from graduate recruitment experts SRS Recruitment and Employability Experts. They cover everything from searching for jobs, to tackling phone and video interviews, the transition into the world of work and virtual internships.

5. Create a LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills and experience and build your network. See the University of Plymouth’s ‘how to’ video here for lots of great advice. There are other ways you can use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to help with job hunting too.

6. If you are studying on a programme approved by the University of Plymouth, you can access a range of digital resources on topics such as applications and interview techniques via myCareer. myCareer is the University of Plymouth’s online career development platform. You will need to log in using your Plymouth login details.    

7. Prepare for a phone interview, a video interview or learn more about psychometric tests as part of the interview process.

8. Alongside our online Careers and Employability Centre, Gradsouthwest and Unlocking Potentialshare further graduate opportunities in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Avon. 

9. This is a challenging time. However you’re feeling about your next steps, lockdown, money or something else, help and guidance is available. StudentSpace shares expert information and advice to help higher education students through the challenges of coronavirus, including resources on searching and applying for jobs in a pandemic. You can also access dedicated support via phone, text, webchat or email. 

10. Consider developing your skills and knowledge alongside your degree with an online course. Future Learn offers free online courses created by universities, business schools and specialist organisations. The GOV.UK Skills Toolkit offers free courses for general and more specialised skills e.g. business and finance, personal growth and wellbeing, digital marketing. If you are studying on a University of Plymouth approved programme, you also have access to LinkedIn Learning using your Plymouth login details. 

11. Consider job roles or volunteering which may not be directly related to your degree, but which could help you gain relevant skills and experience for your CV. We continue to update the Careers and Employability Centre with job vacancies (including remote opportunities) as we hear of them, and you can also find local and national volunteering opportunities on

12. Explore virtual work experience, such as virtual internships. Work Ready Virtual Experience is free for university students and offers you the opportunity to develop your soft skills through three targeted modules. 

13. Consider postgraduate study as an opportunity to gain further qualifications or enhance your subject knowledge further.

14. Have you thought about starting your own business or freelancing? We have shared some useful resources on self-employment and working for yourself on our Jobs and Work Experience webpage.  

Graduate Outcomes is the national survey capturing information about the activities and perspectives of graduates. The survey contacts graduates 15 months after completing their course, by email or phone.

Let us know of any changes to your contact details once you graduate, and respond to the survey when contacted by Graduate Outcomes.