If you want to know how to get your first graduate job, check out these top tips:
- Get as much experience as you can while you’re still studying
- Keep your social media clean and professional
- Network as much as possible
- Get to know the company you want to work for, and contact their HR department to ask for any job vacancies
- Personalise your CV and cover letter to suit each job you apply for
- Take on a part time job to keep the money coming in
- Don’t just limit your job search to major companies
- Consider taking on a masters degree if the job hunt doesn’t work out
- Keep your options open and consider applying for jobs in other industries
- If you still can’t get a graduate job, consider changing tactics
So you’ve spent at least three years studying at university, you’ve worked hard and now you deserve to reap the rewards. But of course it isn’t that easy. Getting a job as a graduate can be a long, hard slog and it can take a little while before anything begins to take shape. Though with a few handy hints and tips, getting your first graduate job can become a little more stress free. Mr Lender, a leading UK based short term loan provider, has put together a quick guide to help you get your first job after uni.
Go above and beyond
No doubt you have heard this one many times before – but you can improve your chances of getting a job straight out of university by doing all that you can while you’re still there. Do as much voluntary work as you can, join a society, organise charity events, take advantage of the facilities and services on offer. You’re likely to only be at university once, so make the most of it while you’re there.
Keep your social media clean
While you may want to show off how much fun you have on a Saturday night, a potential employer is likely to be less than impressed by your weekend antics. Keep your social media clean as employers will use your social media to determine whether or not you’re likely to be a good candidate. Upping the privacy settings on your accounts will hide your party pictures to an extent, but remember – your friends could tag you in pictures too, which a potential employer is likely to come across.
Networking is key
The phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts’ is certainly true in this day and age, though that’s not to say a university degree is worthless. It simply means networking is the way to getting your dream job these days. Attend as many career fairs and events as you can, as there is likely to be a potential employer around for you to get to know.
And if you don’t know anyone?
If you find that attending events simply doesn’t work for you, networking is still vital to bagging you your dream job. Simply get to know the staff at a company you want to work for – obviously, you want to take a professional approach here. Don’t ‘accidentally’ come across someone in a bar, who ‘just so happens’ to work at your dream company. Instead, speak to the HR department and ask regularly if there are any jobs available or if there are any positions opening soon.
Keep it personal
A unique, tailored CV and cover letter is a really good way to get noticed by a potential employer. It shows you’re eager and keen to join the company. It becomes less personal if you have a single, standard cover letter which gets shared again and again with multiple employers. By tailoring your cover letter and CV to each employer, it shows that you have really researched the company, and you’ve put the effort in to understand the business.
Another great tip is to pay attention to the job description, and refer back to it in your cover letter. Give examples of how you believe you could meet their requirements, and what you could bring to the company.
Keep the money coming
After spending three years studying at university, you’re understandably going to want to start earning money – preferably doing your dream job. But the reality is that you’re more than likely going to need to wait a little while before that dream job comes your way (unless you’re incredibly lucky of course). So taking a part time job to tide you over is only going to help by providing regular income. Bars and restaurants tend to be the best places to get part time jobs, as this means you will more than likely work evening shifts – leaving the daytime free to job hunt and attend interviews.
Start off small
Although the big businesses may seem like the place to be, the smaller businesses can often be the easiest to get into. A job vacancy at a high end business is likely to see a number of applications, which means it could be harder to get in compared to a similar vacancy at a much smaller business. You’re also likely to get far more hands on experience at a smaller business, and you may find it easier to progress within the company too.
Small businesses will also almost certainly hire graduates when they can, as they will want to bring fresh talent to their team. You may find that smaller businesses will not necessarily advertise vacancies on job sites, as the advertising costs are too high. Instead, look around and get in touch with a small business which catches your eye.
Take on a masters degree
If you’ve tried everything you possibly can to get a job, and nothing seems to be working in your favour, consider going back to university and taking on a masters degree. The government now offer student loans to people studying for a masters degree in the UK, so there is now less stress than there once was to cover the cost of post-graduate education. Though, of course, you will accumulate more student debt, and a masters degree doesn’t always improve your chances of getting a job. Consider taking on a masters degree if it is something you truly want to do, and if it is likely to help you get a job after university.
Keep your options open
Try and avoid putting yourself in a box, and applying for a particular type of job. For example, studying Journalism doesn’t necessarily mean you need to strive to become a journalist for The Guardian – consider taking on a job in marketing instead. You are likely to still use everything you learned at university, and you will be opening up more doors for yourself too.
Change tactics if it isn’t working
The final graduate tip from Mr Lender, is if you find nothing is working for you, you need to change tactics. If you find that you have filled out 50 applications in the last month, but you still haven’t been successful in finding a job, try something else. It could be that there is an issue with your CV, so consider letting someone else take a look at it for a second opinion, and make a few adjustments.