9 Things Every Graduate Job Seeker Should Know
Posted on 1st August 2017
Congratulations, after years of studying you’ve finally graduated! All those late nights in the library, all those early morning seminars… well, the hard work starts now – it’s time to find the perfect job!
There’s a lot of competition out there for graduate job vacancies, so to help you on your way we’ve complied 9 top tips for securing the graduate job of your dreams.
Clean up your act
In today’s age of the internet, potential employers have every right to research your social media profiles. If you value your privacy you should already have your social media profiles set to private – but if you don’t, remember that employers have complete freedom to research your profiles.
Your years of study may have involved blowing off some steam at parties that might have resulted in compromising images, so make sure any photographs you wouldn’t want an employer to see are not visible to the public, or even remove them if you can’t be sure. If you have strong political views or are involved with activities that might be off putting to an employer for any reason, make sure that this kind of information is not accessible by the public.
Compare and contrast your LinkedIn profile with your CV, and ensure there are no discrepancies – if you aren’t consistent this will raise a red flag for the employer. It's important to just be honest - don't exaggerate how long you have worked somewhere or what your role was, you don't want this to backfire later on.
Choosing the right job for you after university is crucial, you need to make sure your potential employer will support your career development and utilise your skills properly. You’ve spent many years studying your subject, so don’t let your education go to waste!
Make sure you do your research and find out what career options are open to you through your course – there might be options you hadn’t thought of. Make a visit to your career office in your university, ask lecturers and other students. Prospects.co.uk has a great website on what opportunities are available with your degree.
Whilst there may be hundreds of jobs available online, it’s no use applying to them all in the hope you might get a response – because chances are you won’t get one! Most job adverts will state exactly what they are looking for in terms of experience or qualifications, so make sure you read the advert properly and tailor your CV and covering letter accordingly.
Cast a wide net
The last thing you want is to miss out on the perfect job opportunity, so make sure you search far and wide across the internet on a range of different job sites. There are over 1100 job sites in the UK, so make sure you sign up with not only the leading job boards but also specialist ones for your sector. Once you’ve registered, make sure to sign yourself up to email job alerts that will notify you whenever any jobs become available in your chosen location and industry.
But it’s not just the job boards you should be searching on, social media can be a great place to find job opportunities with many employers choosing to advertise their vacancies on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Checking your local newspapers, attending networking events and enquiring with friends and family is also a great way of seeing if there are any job opportunities that might not be advertised online. Looking for employers that run graduate schemes or researching graduate schemes linked directly with your university can be a great place to start.
If you’ve found an employer which you’d love to work for, why not engage directly with them? Even if they don’t have any positions at that time, sending them your CV with a nice covering letter will do no harm. It can be a great way of demonstrating your enthusiasm, and the employer may even get in touch when an opening does become available.
Tailor your CV and covering letter
So, you’ve found a variety of perfect job opportunities and you’re about to click apply to them all with the same CV and generic covering letter.
‘One size fits all’ doesn’t cut it here – tailoring your CV and covering letter to each individual job and company is the best way to make yourself stand out.
Research the job role and the company and highlight in your cover letter why your skills and experience are perfectly suited for that role, and how your personality fits with the company’s ethos.
If possible, research on Google or LinkedIn and find out who the hiring manager or managing director of the company is, and address your application directly to them – a personal touch shows you care and have thought more deeply about the position you are applying for.
Employers may only spend a few seconds scanning each CV so make sure yours is relevant, to the point, and highlights your skills and knowledge at a glance. Don’t go overboard with detail – using bullet points and concise language will help employers get a quicker and better understanding without being bogged down in unnecessary information and over used clichés.
Don’t forget to let your actions speak for themselves – don’t just claim something about yourself without backing it up, give examples of what you have achieved so far and how to help demonstrate your abilities and work ethic.
Whilst many job opportunities require a professional, clear and structured CV / covering letter, there are many jobs where you can allow room for creativity. If you’re applying for a job in marketing or within the creative industry for instance, why not show off your graphic design or creative writing skills? Take a look at some of these amazing CVs for example!
Today there are so many candidates vying for the same positions, with an average of 74.5 applications per graduate post – many of which will have the right qualifications or experience for the job – so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Create an online presence through sites such as LinkedIn and connect with prospective employers. It can be a superb tool to help get yourself noticed, and if you have work experience your previous colleagues can endorse your skills to help give employers confidence in your background.
Make sure to highlight your skills, abilities, work experience and volunteering and do not be too humble about it. Do not shy away from talking about your hobbies and interests in your CV – employers want to know what kind of person they will be hiring.
Practice and prepare
Never, ever just ‘turn up’ for an interview, and think you’re going to fly right through it. Make sure you research the company in full, prepare practice questions and ask friends or family to hold a mock interview with you. Your university may offer mock interviews for final year graduates which you should take full advantage of.
Think through responses to questions interviewers may ask and make sure you have at least two or three questions to ask the interviewer at the end. By preparing properly you will show that you’re serious about your application, have a good work ethic and are passionate about working for the company.
It can be a vicious cycle – you have the qualifications but not the experience, and without the experience you might not get the job. Gaining work experience is a great way of improving your CV, start as soon as possible and find something related to your desired area of work to do in your spare time. It might be difficult whilst you’re studying but there is always time to invest in yourself further.
Whether it’s organising a week’s work experience for yourself during the holidays, taking a year out of university to do a placement, or even getting involved in something at your university such as within the student union – all of these things can help towards getting that perfect job once you’ve graduated.
Even having a part time job, volunteering or taking part in extracurricular activities will go a long way to showing off your work ethic.
Don’t lose faith
The job search can certainly be tough, you can spend hours searching for jobs and applying only to be rejected – just remember not to take it personally and don’t let it discourage you or lose faith in your dreams. You won’t be successful every time, but the right job will come along eventually – but only if you keep up your job hunt and work hard at improving your skills and tailoring your applications.
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Publish date: 1st August 2017