So you've graduated with honours...now what?
Any graduate will testify that hunting for a job when fresh out of uni can be both daunting and challenging. In fact, research shows that young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions.
Don't fret, help is on the way! While there is undoubtedly a strong competition for the best jobs out there, we show you what steps you can take to stand out to potential employers, and increase your chance of ending up with a career that you both deserve and have worked so hard towards!
1. Keep your online profiles professional, yet personable
According to a recent study by Monster.co.uk and YouGov more than half (56 percent) of UK HR professionals admitted that a candidate’s online reputation has an influence over whether they hire them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice your fun and quirky social media personality for the sake of fitting into a company’s box, but rather use it to your advantage. Culture is all the rage, so showcasing your interests, hobbies and personality outside of work can actually be a good way for employers to get a well rounded idea of who you are as a person. However, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism as well. Invest your time towards creating a comprehensive LinkedIn profile that not only lists your qualifications, but any other skills, interests or content that could increase your chance of landing the role you want.
2. Ensure your applications are tailored for the roles you apply to
Chances are you may be looking for a number of different roles, with each of them requiring a certain set of skills. For this reason, it’s best to avoid a one size fits all approach when submitting applications. Be sure to take the time to alter your cover letter accordingly to showcase the appropriate skills that you can bring to jobs you’re applying to. This doesn't mean you should be dishonest, but rather demonstrate the relevant strengths you can bring to the role.
3. Set yourself apart from the rest
Although the job market is largely candidate-driven, the reality is that the number of people graduating with a first class degree is higher than it's ever been in the UK, meaning that competition is fierce. It’s no longer enough to simply obtain a top university grade, and graduates now need to think outside the box in order to attract the positive attention of employers and recruiters. There are many creative and mentally stimulating ways to make yourself more employable, such as volunteering or getting a free online qualification in a skill unrelated to your degree. Creating your own blog or website is also a great way to showcase your knowledge in your chosen field, and can even contribute to offering a broader picture of who you are to potential employers.
5. Do your research and use your initiative
One way to really turn the heads of employers is to demonstrate that you have a vested interest in their company - its culture, values and mission. Whether it's for an application or when you're through to the interview stage, knowing your stuff is sure to increase your chance of being noticed and considered by employers. Not only this, but after spending a good hour or so reading up on a company, the work they do and the role you're applying for, your covering letter will be much easier to tailor, and is way more likely to impress.
6. Make sure the job is right for you
In the initial desperation to earn an income, it can be all too tempting to apply to as many job opportunities as possible, even if you're not remotely interested in the role or the company. However, given that you spend approximately 80 percent of your life at work, it’s important to do your research and sign up to a role that you can see yourself doing and eventually enjoying. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn't be open to jobs that are unrelated to your degree, as these can enhance your skills whilst helping you to grow and develop professionally.
7. Don't overlook start-ups or small businesses
Start-ups or small businesses are often an overlooked and sadly missed opportunity. Whilst it's fantastic if you do land yourself a great grad scheme at a glamourous and well-known organisation, often the competition for entry level jobs at smaller companies is lower because it's not the first option graduates think of. The experience you can get working hands-on in a start-up environment is also invaluable, and you could even find yourself with far more responsibility than you would do at a larger company. There is also the opportunity to progress to higher level positions at a faster pace.
8. Consider temping
Real talk, your dream job won't fall on your lap overnight! It takes patience and perseverance to get your career started, so it's important to stay focused and busy, leaving no time for self doubt. Through persistently keeping up the momentum of your job search, you can at least rest assured that you are directing your efforts towards achieving your goal!