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10 Tips on Landing Your First Graduate Job

 18th Aug 2018

10 tips on landing your first graduate job
 
 
Photo credit: The Independent 
 
All the lectures, late nights and hours in the library have been leading to this. Your graduation. You have donned your cap and gown, said a tearful farewell to university, and have now stepped out into the unknown.
 
So, what now? You may be on your way to landing your first graduate job or be unsure about what to do next. Job hunting can seem scary and I felt exactly the same way when I graduated in 2016. 
 
I’ve learnt a few things since and I have put together some tips to help you get started:
1. Set a routine
After university, I moved back home with no job lined up. My routine fell apart and job hunting seemed like an impossible task. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Take the first step by setting yourself a routine.
 
Little and often worked best for me, and I built this up until I was committing 9 am - 5 pm to job searching. Having a routine will add structure to your day and help you to stay motivated.
 
2. Stay up to date
Make sure you have up to date templates of your CV and cover letter. Online applications with specific questions are very popular. I would suggest saving your answers, so you can use them again.
 
You will still need to tailor each application to the role you are applying for, but it will be much quicker to edit existing content than to write each one afresh.
 
3. Research, research, research
Research is important when looking to get a graduate job. Check out the website, social media, and the latest news from the company or organisation you are applying to.
 
Through research you will find out more about the company culture, the role itself, and if the opportunity is a good fit for you. If you touch on this knowledge in your interview it will demonstrate your enthusiasm.
 
 
 Research every role you apply for
 Photo credit: Canva
 
4. Focus on your skills
Not quite sure how to link your degree to a job? Focus on selling your skills. Most degrees teach skills such as research, time management, communication, and leadership. These are all useful in any job. Make sure you highlight your skills when applying and match them to the person specification.
 
5. Use services on offer
Graduate life maybe scary, but you don’t have to go it alone. Your university’s careers service can offer advice, check applications, and stage mock interviews for you. You can often access them years after graduation. I used my careers service and they helped me to secure my first job after university.
 
You may also want to connect with recruitment services who can offer you industry insights and support you into work. Why not get in touch with Graft for opportunities in Leeds?
 
 
Make use of the help on offer
Photo credit: intostudy.com
 
6. Practice makes perfect
Lots of interviews but never offered the job? Look at your interview technique. I found it useful to practice the interview, either with a careers adviser, a friend or family member. This helped me to prepare answers and made me feel calmer about the real thing.
 
If you have to do an aptitude test as part of an application (which are more common with graduate schemes) I would suggest practising as early as possible. There are lots of websites online offering mock tests.
 
7. Become a networker
Make LinkedIn your best friend. Start by creating a great profile; online resources can help you to do this. Connect with friends but also search for professionals in your desired field who you may not know personally.
 
Once you have added contacts, politely message them with some relevant questions. From doing this I have met contacts for coffee and have even been offered work experience in London. Do not underestimate people power, start developing your network now.
 
 
 
 
Networking events are a great way to make connections
Photo credit: gevme.com 
 
8. Experience is key photo credit – gevme.com
Think your part-time job at university wasn’t valuable? Any work or extracurricular activities you have been involved in is CV worthy. Look back at tip four to see why.
 
As a graduate, you should be prepared to work from the bottom up. Internships, shadowing, and volunteering are great ways to diversify your skills and try different career paths. Having a range of experience will make you a stronger candidate.
 
9. Consider all options
Graduate schemes are the ultimate goal, right? Not always. Only a small proportion of graduates actually get onto schemes and although they do have their perks, they aren’t for everyone.
 
I would recommend considering all options. You could return to further study, travel abroad, take on internships or entry-level jobs. Although it can be hard to avoid comparing yourself to your peers, stay true to your aspirations and choose a path that feels right for you.
 
           Bonus Tip: Keep going – and have fun!
 
You will be rejected. Multiple times for a range of opportunities. Try not to take this personally and ask for feedback on every application. It is a struggle but it’s important to keep going.
 
When you are keen to enter the working world, job hunting can take over. Yet you should allow yourself some time off. I found planning an afternoon with a friend gave me something to look forward to and kept me motivated during the week. So, remember to take a break and have fun!
 
The graduate market is tough, and I know how uncertain, stressful, and disheartening job hunting can be. Despite any setbacks you may experience, you are good enough and the right opportunity is waiting for you. 
 
By Rhea Halsey
24/07/2018

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