So you’ve come to the end of your time as a student. You’ve put on a fancy cap and gown. You’ve shaken the hand of an unfamiliar older person wearing an even fancier cap and gown, and in return you’ve been handed a certificate that tells employers (and the rest of the world) that you’re qualified to do whatever it is that you want to do. Pop the champagne, because it’s time to start earning some ca$h money.
When you’ve just graduated, getting your first job out of uni can be a little bit tricky. Employers want to see experience, they want to see dedication, and they want to know that you can do the job that they’d be paying you to do.
You’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to demonstrate all of that when you’ve spent the last few years sitting exams and completing coursework. Don’t worry. All graduates are in the same situation, and how you go about your job search is key to landing the perfect role.
NETWORK TO BUILD YOUR NET WORTH
There’s a good reason why the saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ appears time and time again in articles about how to find a job. Think about it this way: if an employer is interviewing two people who are equally qualified to carry out the role, they are more likely to choose a familiar face over a stranger.
This doesn’t mean that your qualifications aren’t important, because your degree and your experience will demonstrate your ability, it’s just that the employer will already have a good understanding of you as a person.
If you’re thinking that you aren’t too sure if you know any people that might be able to help you out, then all you need to do is get yourself down to networking events in your spare time. Chatting with existing industry professionals is a great way to discover some job-hunting tips and to build a rapport with the right people. Proper networking is a proven way to find new opportunities.
USE YOUR RESOURCES
A great way to think about universities is to think of them as businesses. Each university’s success depends on its graduates being able to go out and find work as a result of their time at that institution. Because of this, it’s in the university’s best interests to help you find a job after you finish your course. The dedicated careers team exists to make you as employable as possible, but it’s up to you to make use of the service.
Take your CV to your careers advisor, tell them all about your career goals and your experience, and they will help you make your applications stand out from the rest. Not to mention that they already have some great connections in industry, so they will be able to put you in touch with relevant employers who are looking for graduates like you.
TRY A RECRUITER
Now, not all organisations will work with recruiters, which means they can’t do all of the hard work for you. But, like your university, recruitment agencies have an active interest in finding you a job. Many recruiters have great industry connections, with different companies specialising in different industries – so whether you want to pursue a career in accounting, marketing, or anything in between, there will be a recruiter out there with some useful connections.
When you use a recruiter, all you have to do is meet up with them for a brief chat, where they take a look at your experience and your qualifications, so that they can then match you up with any available vacancies that they think will be a good fit – all you have to do is turn up for the interview!
RESEARCH IS KEY
When you’re applying for roles yourself, make sure that you are doing plenty of research into the organisation. Remember, you’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you, and knowing about how they work will help you to a) make a decision about whether this company is right for you, and b) choose how you are going to go about your application.
Research is an important element to any job application, because employers can generally spot when a candidate has taken a one-size-fits-all approach to their application, which shows a lack of dedication. Knowing each company inside and out will give you an advantage when it comes to writing your covering letters, and will put you in a good position to answer the infamous ‘What do you know about this business?’ question when it comes time to interview.
MAKE SURE YOUR HARD WORK PAYS OFF
When you’re applying for jobs, make sure that you’re giving yourself the best chance at securing the right role for you. Prepare for interviews and make sure that you include the core skills that employers will be looking for.
For more advice on employability and student life, take a look at our blog, where we feature the latest tips for students and graduates.