How To Pick The Right First Job As A New Grad

Posted By: Andy Barker

Picking your first job as a New Grad is greatly important.

It can be the difference between you making great progress in your assessment, treatment, and rehab skills…

…and make your progression up the promotion ladder to better jobs, with more responsibility and better pay much easier.

However, many therapists struggle to make the progression they want during those early months and even years as a New Grad.

They become frustrated and feel that their career has become stagnant before it has even got going.
Maybe you have already qualified and are still looking for work…

…or already have a job but it is not a role you enjoy.

Maybe you feel it does not challenge you enough…

…or lacks the support you need to help you progress, learn new skills, and climb the promotion ladder.

This blog will discuss some of the key considerations you MUST think about when you are looking at applying for and possibly accepting your next job role.

Do NOT Let A Lack Of Confidence Stop You Getting Started

A lack of confidence is one big factor that STOPS many New Grad’s taking that first step.

You think you are not good enough.

You feel like an imposter…

…and that you do not have the skills to help the patients or athletes that you might work with.

So, you don’t apply for the job.

Or at best, you do not give your CV and letter of application the time and attention you should…

…because you are worried if you get invited to interview.

What will you say?

What questions will they ask?

You ask yourself, will I be made to look stupid in the interview room?

You question whether you would be up to the job.

But remember…

You have studied hard for 3 or even 4 years on a BSc programme or maybe completed a 2-year MSc degree.

And not just any degree.

A full-on therapy degree.

I teach on both BSc and MSc therapy programmes and I know how tough they are.

I have completed those degrees too.

Degrees where 5 years of study is squashed into a 2- or 3-year period.

There not like most degrees where you are in Uni for a handful of hours with a little bit of work to do at home.

You have all the hours in University, plus all the self-study and readings, assignments, exams…

…plus, all those hours on placements over the course of your degree.

You have enough knowledge and skills to help people…

…even as a New Grad.

You do not need loads more experience.

You do not need to spend the next month’s shadowing other therapists before you start applying for jobs.

You need to get your hands dirty.

You need to get hands-on.

You need to get your foot in the door…

…then you will really start to learn and progress.

Make Sure You Get The Right Support

I am sure you will be aware that as a therapist you never stop learning.

The evidence for what we do is constantly evolving, with new assessment techniques and different ways to treat and rehab patients.

Any therapist that does not engage with continued learning will fall behind, regardless of whether you have just qualified or you have been qualified 10+ years.

As a New Grad you need more support than at any point in your therapy career.

Because as good as your degree programme was…

…it just gave you the bare bones to be able to do a basic assessment.

It gave you exposure to a limited number of assessments, treatments, and rehab methods.

It gave you glimpse of just a small number of the different pathologies and injuries that you will see over the next months and years as a New Grad.

As a New Grad, clearly you have a lot to learn and to do that you need the right support around you.

If you lack senior support how will you know you are making mistakes…

…who are you going to ask if you have a tricky case in your clinic…

…who is going to guide and advise your next career step…

…and help you work on those areas you feel like you are not as strong at?

Regardless of the money offered and how good the job looks on paper, if you are NOT getting the support you think you will need as a New Grad, then I would strongly consider if it is a role worth taking.

Making That Next Step

You also need to consider this…

…make sure that any job you take, or even that placement or shadowing experience, is part of YOUR bigger plan.

What do I mean by this?

What I mean is you need to question whether your placement opportunity or job role has got the potential to grow.

Is it going to help you progress your career?

Is there scope to move up within that clinic, sports club, or NHS department?

Is it going to help you develop in the areas you need to improve?

…and as important…

…is it going to help you move towards your dream role?

So many New Grad therapists make ‘rash’ career decisions based on worry about NOT having a job rather than trying to find and access the right job.

You have probably heard of therapists graduating and just doing massage…

…working in private clinics, spending more time doing admin or cleaning than seeing patients…

…or having to find other employment, working in pubs and shops to supplement their wages.

I am sure upon graduating you want to use your skills to help patients and athletes.

You want to do more than just massage and move into a position where you assess, diagnose and rehab patients alongside using your hands-on skills.

You want to be given responsibility and to see and treat patients…

…not sit on a computer doing admin or cleaning a treatment room.

You want to work in an environment that is challenging, but supportive…

…and enjoy going to work and your life as a New Grad Physio, Sports Therapist or Sports Rehabilitator.

If you feel like you are unsure where to look for these types of roles, how to assess whether a potential job or even placement is going to give you the right opportunities and support you need…

…or how to get your foot in the door to positions that will offer you these types of opportunities as a New Grad…

…to compete with more ‘experienced’ therapists for great roles within the NHS, private practice, or even pro sport, then let me know.

Send me an email to and I’ll help you make that next step and make a successful start to life as a New Grad.

To a job that you will enjoy, a job that gives you the responsibility you deserve as a fully qualified therapist and one that provides the continued learning and support you need as a New Grad.

The New Grad Physio Mentor