Well done on graduating, you’re now into the big wide world of work. It’s time to start looking for your graduate job, but how do you find your perfect graduate job? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Firstly, make sure you read through our guide on How to Find a Job as that will talk you through some of the more generic things to look for when looking for a job. Ok, so now you’ve read that, let’s look at some of the more specific tips on how to find a graduate job.
Ignore the Headlines
You only need to pick up any newspaper or watch the news channels to hear the same stories being repeated time and time again, that there are no jobs for graduates. This couldn’t be more wrong. There are employers out there who are looking to take on graduates throughout the year in every industry you can imagine. It’s just about being creative about what you can actually offer the employers. Once you get past this initial fear that you’ve just worked hard for the last 3-4 years to gain a degree to now only find that there are no jobs available, this is simply not the case. That is quitters talk and no-one wants to employ a quitter.
How Future Proof is Your Industry?
Over the last few years it has become clear the future is going to be very uncertain when it comes to jobs as technology and digital systems start to replace entire industries and jobs that are around today. You only need to look in any major supermarket with their automated checkouts or garage forecourt with their self-service filling stations to see how technology is replacing a lot of entry level jobs right now.
Sit down and critically assess where your industry is heading and what this means for your future career. Is your job or even your entire industry going to be around in the next 5-10 years? If this whole Terminator scenario scares you a little, that’s ok, you’re not alone and this problem isn’t something that you have to solve on your own. This is an issue that is going to impact society as a whole over the next several decades.
Unsure about where things are heading? Sit down with one of your geeky friends, we all have one, and talk to them for a while and listen to what they are talking about. Having an interest in technology, they are able to see further into the future than yourself, so take heed of their advice. What may seem like an unrealistic scenario that they are presenting will likely come to fruition sooner than you think. Technology has already significantly disrupted many industries and is costing people jobs in the process. You only need to look at Tendo Jobs, why would employers or job hunters use recruitment agencies to find work when the technology platform allows the two to connect together with ease?
Highlight Experience outside your Degree
When you graduate you are graduating with the other 2,600,000 graduates every year. Lots of people have degrees these days and it is true that simply having a degree does not guarantee you a good job at the end of it. So it’s essential to highlight what else you have been doing alongside your degree over the last 3-4 years.
Have you been involved in running a group at University or College? Have you been involved with a debating group? What other extra-curricular activities have you been involved with which shows that you are more than just following the standard education route? Employers want to recruit the best graduates and to do that they want to see why you are the best at what you do. Use your personality to your advantage.
Be Selective in your Graduate Job Search
Sure, you’ve just finished your degree and are looking for a job, but don’t just look for any job that happens to come by. By specific about what you’re looking for. Are you looking for an entry level job in an organisation where you can develop and grow over the next few years? Are you looking for a highly skilled job that you can bring with you some of the expertise you have learnt at University? Are you looking for a more structured graduate scheme from an employer? Or something else?
The more specific you can be when looking for your graduate job the better your chances are at finding something that meets your needs. Just because a job is available it doesn’t mean you should jump at the opportunity to get involved. What is right for you as a person, with your skills and experience? Applying for jobs that get hundreds, even thousands, of applicants coming through the door, you’re competing with everyone else. The more specific you can be on your graduate job search the higher your chances of landing a perfect graduate job that works for you.
Diversify your Employers
Everyone wants to come out of University and work at one of the big blue chip companies that have been recommended by your teachers and lecturers. The reality is that blue chip companies with structured graduate schemes only take on the cream of the crop from graduates. For most people, you’re simply not going to get a look in at these companies at all, so it’s time to diversify where you look for jobs. The reality is that 95% of businesses in the UK employ less than 10 people, so statistically speaking, it’s highly likely that when you graduate you’ll be working in a business that employs less than 10 staff. And this can be a great thing.
Working in a small team of people means that you have a much larger influence in that team instead of simply being another cog in a giant corporate machine. There are endless startup companies who are looking to take on innovative graduates who can help them achieve their goals by working on diverse and flexible projects. These types of companies are fun to work with and can allow you to gain an awful lot of experience about what it’s really like to work in a variety of departments and with a wide range of skills. Use the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt at University to modernise a traditional businesses entire systems or to help a well-established organisation thrive in the modern world.
Keep Growing and Get Involved
When you first start looking for your graduate job, particularly if you have recently graduated, you may find that there are a lot of people applying for the jobs as everyone has recently graduated. Should this be the case, keep yourself busy by learning new skills, gaining new experiences and getting involved with things. Future employers like to see that you are the type of person that keeps going no matter what.
Start working on your own projects that you can then talk about in interview, get involved with voluntary work or gain work experience through placements. It’s important that you don’t let people take you for a ride though as its unfortunate that some organisations do exploit graduates by expecting them to work for free.