You’ve crammed for the exams, attended the early morning lectures (well, most of them…), survived on a student loan and eaten beans on toast more times than you care to remember. But whilst the hard work has paid off and you’re ready to find yourself a graduate job, actually securing a full time role can bring about a whole new set of challenges. Find the right position for you with our guide on getting into work after university.
Make sure your online profile is Grade A
Having a great CV is paramount to any job search whether you’re a graduate or more established in your career. But some graduates tend to forget that whilst they might have a brilliant CV on paper, online is a different story. Employers nowadays will undoubtedly vet you before they invite you in for an interview and first stop will be your social media profiles. Make sure yours say ‘capable graduate,’ rather than ‘irresponsible student.’
Although some graduates might be conscious that their professional experience is limited, it still pays to have a LinkedIn profile, as many recruiters use this as a tool to find potential candidates. Don’t worry about what you can’t say and focus instead on what you have achieved so far, whether this is extra-curricular, academic or part-time work around your studies.
Don’t send out generic applications
Ask any recruiter what their biggest pet peeve is and more than likely they will tell you its candidates who pay no attention to detail. That means no sloppy spelling mistakes, getting names and addresses spot on and above all, making your application specific to that organisation. Putting together job applications can be a time consuming activity, so it’s understandable that graduates get tempted to send out the same formulaic cover letter. But doing this may well see your application end up in the bin.
Don’t wait for jobs to be advertised
Like all good social media platforms, LinkedIn is designed to be used for networking – so network! There is a chance that an opportunity will come to your attention through a post a contact has shared. Or maybe through a contact of a contact, or even from you messaging someone directly. It looks impressive to recruiters if you take the initiative and reach out, rather than waiting for them to contact you. Plus, if you wait for roles to be advertised, by the time the hiring manager comes to fill the vacancies they might already have hundreds of applicants. By sending in your details speculatively, you put yourself at the forefront of the employers’ mind and give yourself an edge over the competition. Furthermore, many employers hold the ethos ‘will over skill’, so if you can impress them with your initiative, there may be potential for them to make a position for you.
Show you can contribute from Day One
As the needs of the jobs market is constantly evolving, businesses need graduates that can make a positive contribution to company growth from the moment they start. Keep in mind that this isn’t just about academics. Soft skills, such as communication, team work and customer service, are just as important as getting the highest grade possible. Employers want graduates to be work-ready when they graduate, so if you’re not ready to hit the ground running, you’ll be at a disadvantage compared to other candidates.
A survey from CareerBuilder found that most employers believe graduates are lacking in skills essential to the workplace. Top of the list was a lack of interpersonal skills, followed by problem-solving and creative thinking. This may be down to university courses not properly equipping students with the relevant skills, but many argue that the only way to really develop those soft skills that employers look for is to learn on the job. So one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself for getting into work after university is to secure relevant work experience before you graduate.
Don’t give up
With so many graduates competing for seemingly not as many jobs, it’s easy to get disheartened when you’re hunting for the right role. If you aren’t sure what your dream job looks like, have a think about what it is you enjoy and what you are good at. Try and keep in mind that it takes time and hard work to land your dream job, but if you’re clear about what this looks like for you, then persevere and keep focused on what you want to do.
If you’re still stuck deciding which direction to go in and how to get there, our consultants can help! Get in touch today and see how we could help you land that all important first job.