Are you about to graduate from university and are panicking about securing your dream role? Do not panic! We know that finding your first job after university can be a very daunting process, especially when you are juggling your job search with your final assignments and exams.
Therefore, we have put together our 5 top tips on how to get a job after you graduate in order help you make this process significantly easier.
1. Figure Out What Kind of Job You Are Looking For
The first thing that you need to do is figure out what kind of job you are looking for after you graduate. Most people you ask will say that they had no clue what they wanted to do when they were younger, and suddenly having to decide after finishing university can feel very pressured and overwhelming.
Firstly, a great way to start your search is by thinking about what you are good at. What are some of your best skills that you have gained through working alongside your studies, during your studies and extracurricular activities? This can be a great first indicator of where to begin your search. Say you’ve always been fantastic at maths and science and have an analytical brain, dependent on your degree you could be a fantastic fit for a career in:
- Finance/ Accountancy
- Data science
- Software development
- Anything where a mathematical and logical brain could thrive!
Alternatively, say you have always been a real people person and have great English skills and a creative brain, you could be a great fit for:
- Customer Service
- Anything where a creative brain could thrive!
Now you’ve written down your skills and had a look at some potential skill-based careers, it is time to conduct your research. Look around jobsites such as Reed, Indeed, Milkround, Guardian Careers and individual recruitment agency careers pages such as our own page here. This lets you see the range of job titles that are out there for your desired salary bandings and location. Putting “graduate” in your search is another great method as this can help you see jobs that are suitable for your skill level.
After you have had a look around these pages, start making an Excel sheet or a spider diagram about the career titles and descriptions that have caught your eye. You now have a list of skills and potential job titles.
You can also look at jobs in your favourite industry. For example, let’s say you have always loved cars. The automotive industry is huge, so looking at the websites of huge automotive brands and their careers pages is a great way to find roles you could be interested in. These roles can also be added to your spider diagram/excel of potential ideas for your career search. However, we would recommend not being too pigeon-holed into looking at industry specific careers as this can limit your options and delay finding a job. Getting experience is the main thing as your first job after you graduate may help you find a role in your dream industry further down the line.
2. Start Your Search Early
Our next tip would be to start your job search early. If you do all the research from step one early in your final year, then you will be prepared to begin looking for jobs when you need to, and this will speed up your job hunt.
Graduate Schemes – Apply Early
Graduate schemes can be a fantastic way to build your way up within a company and they can provide a fast-track route into potential management roles in the future. However, they are incredibly competitive, and these companies usually start their hiring process from the September of your final academic year, so we recommend applying and searching early.
Non – Graduate Schemes – Apply Later
However, graduate schemes are not the be all and end all and applying to more entry level positions in companies can be another fantastic way to secure a great job. We wouldn’t recommend looking any earlier than a month and a half before you plan to start if you take this route. This is because employers usually want to hire someone straight away rather than having delayed start dates.
We also recommend making a tracker on Excel that includes all the jobs that you have applied for. Here you can document all the job titles, the company names, the date you applied, the stage that you are at in the application and whether you have been accepted or rejected. Using a tracker makes it much easier to remember all the jobs that you have applied for and the stage that you are at with them. We also recommend saving all of the job specifications so that you have these to hand, as if the company takes this off their website you have no details on the job to help you with your interviews.
3. Research How to Put Together a Standout CV and Cover Letter
To apply to your chosen roles, you need a fantastic CV and cover letter to make you stand out against the competition. There are plenty of blogs on CV writing online (see ours here) and tips about how to write a cover letter.
We recommend producing one generic CV. This CV can then be adapted to each job role (this is very important) and you can tweak your skills and experience to match the job description of that specific role.
The best CV’s usually:
- Include a personal profile.
- Start with your most recent role.
- Have a skills section and an education section.
- Include all dates roles have been worked to and from (month and year)
- Are adapted to the job you are applying for.
- Are 1-2 pages.
Cover letters are a little bit more difficult to write. There are plenty of resources online that give great tips for how to put your cover letter together. We recommend using the STAR method and including these 3 things:
- Why you want to work for the company/ in that industry.
- Why you want to work in that job role.
- Why you are a great fit for the company/role.
Make sure you research the company and industry extensively to do this by looking at their social media feeds, market reports, the news, and a range of other sources. When describing why you want to work in that role and why you are a great fit, use examples of your skills and success.
4.Reach out to Employers and Recruitment Agencies Directly
One way to really speed up your job search is to reach out to recruitment agencies that are local to you directly. Emailing a recruiter directly means that you have a dedicated individual looking for your jobs on your behalf. If you let the recruiter know your desired salary, location, working style (hybrid/remote/office-based) and the type of jobs you are looking for they can provide amazing CV tips and tell the companies what a fantastic fit you would be for their company.
Another tip is that you should 100% be setting up a LinkedIn page. It is free to do and allows you to connect with people from companies that you know or may be targeting. Use LinkedIn to search for the Head of HR in the companies you are applying for to enquire about any roles or to ask about your application.
You can also upload your CV to Reed, Indeed or CV Library with your desired salary, job title and location so that recruiters can contact you directly about roles you could be a great fit for.
5. Prepare Well for Interviews
The final step in the process is making use you are ready to perform well in interviews and secure your dream role. We have a great guide full of interview tips that can be found here.
We hope our top 5 tips helped to guide you on how to get a job after you graduate. If you are looking for a graduate level role and need some help, please do email firstname.lastname@example.org