Finding a Graduate Job - My Tips & Advice

Monday, 29 June 2015



Graduating from University is both an extremely exciting and daunting time, or it certainly was for me. On one had I'd finished the degree which I'd been working towards for the past four years and I'd never have to sit an exam again. However, then comes the realisation that you're on your own now. No more hand outs or mid day naps...it's time to get serious and enter the adult world of work. It's no secret that it's really tough out there for graduates right now, and after suffering through the dreaded post-uni job search, I know first hand just how tough it can be. Leaving university, I always knew that I had a difficult few months ahead of me, but I didn't anticipate just how much being unemployed would take out of me emotionally. I know everyone complains about their job and Mondays, etc but trust me, it's so much worse when you're struggling to even find suitable jobs to apply for, let alone securing yourself an interview. After managing to bag myself a job, and a pretty good one at that, I've been reflecting on some of the things I've learnt throughout the whole post-uni job hunt, and thought that now may be a good time to share some of my knowledge. I know that some graduates are still looking for their perfect job so hopefully some of these points will help you out, or you can at least relate to in one way or another...

1. The Early Bird Catches The Worm...

When it comes to job hunting, you really need to strike while the iron's still hot. Starting looking early gives you the time you need to figure out what it is that you really want or don't want out of a job, as sometimes it takes a great or not so great interview to really realise this. Also, a lot of students don't bother looking for employment until they've finished university, however employers looking for graduates are likely to know that they won't be available until at least June time and may be looking early, so applying a few weeks early is always a good idea. If you leave it too late, then you may miss an opportunity which would have been perfect for you, and it will also mean less time spent being completely broke after university - trust me, it ain't all fun and games when those student loans dry up. 

2. Tailor Your CV and Cover Letter To Suit The Company/Job Role...

Large employers receive hundreds, if not thousands of CVs for each job they post, and one way to get ignored immediately is to send in a generic cover letter and CV, as it's probably similar to the other 100 they've just binned, and really won't make you stand out. It's important to read the job description thoroughly, so that a) you can be absolutely sure that it's something you'd be interested in and b) so that you can make sure that your relevant skills stand out on your CV. It's also worth thinking hard about why you want to work for the company - do their values reflect what you believe in or do they have a desirable working environment which would allow you to thrive? If so, mention this in your cover letter as it's it will make you stand out among the generic letters employers receive. 

3. Be Picky, But Not Too Picky...

Don't get me wrong, it's important to know what you want as there's nothing worse than being stuck in a job you hate...but limiting yourself to once specific part of a specific industry on your first 'serious' job post-uni may be seriously limiting your options. For a while I was specifically concentrating on going into social media within the beauty industry and I had my sights completely set on this, which meant that I was missing out on opportunities which would have been perfect for me. Since realising this and expanding my search criteria, a whole host of opportunities opened up to me and I found that I have way more interests that just beauty. However, if you're really interested in a specific part of your field (e.g.: I studied marketing but wanted to do social media) then I recommend sticking with this or something very similar (I also looked at SEO) as it's unlikely that you'll be able to prove yourself and your experience in an interview for something completely different and show that you have the skills to complete the job to the highest standards, and you may just end up being unhappy in your job if its something you're not that interested in. 

4. Preparation Is Key...

You want to be able to show employers either in interviews or even on the application form itself that you're interested in the company and you're the most suitable for the job, so it's worth sitting down and thinking about what skills you can bring to the company and times when you've demonstrated these skills, because without examples it's just your word against everyone else's. Before going to any interviews I always went through questions I thought I may be asked and worked out how my skills and experience were suitable for these types of questions and how I could back this up, it made me a lot less panic stricken in interviews and I was able to communicate my answers without forgetting any major points. It's also worth doing your research on the company - their values, culture, what they've done in the past, what they're doing now, who their main clients are, etc - as all of this will show that you're interested enough in the job and the company to take the time to research their work. 

5. Include Your Blog On Your CV...

My blog is one of the main reasons I was able to get as many interviews as I did and one of the contributing factors to me getting a job. Even if you're not looking to go into any kind of social/writing/markeitng, etc job it's still worth including your CV on your blog as it shows just how hard working and determined you are, and that you can stick to something, specifically if you've been doing it for years. Also, the fact that you've taken the initiative to start a blog shows that you're a passionate self-starter, qualities which are applicable to any job. Apart from that, it's always an interesting conversation to have during interviews, and appears a lot more interesting than your standard hobbies such as 'music, sport, etc' which most people have on their CVs. 

6. Everything Takes Time...

Most students don't walk straight out of University and into an amazing grad job (lucky you if you did!), and the national average for most university students to either find work or go back into further education is 3 months, so its important to stay positive (no matter how hard that may be) and remember that just because you're not living it up in London with what seems like all of the other grads, you're not a failure and something will come up eventually if you keep at it. Giving up is honestly the worst thing you can do, so try and treat the job hunt like a job itself and approach it with the same drive and determination, and youll be just fine. 

7. Use Social Media To Your Advantage...

Many companies now use social media to advertise jobs now either on linked in, or either on twitter, so it’s important that you use this to your adventage, particularly if you’re wanting to go into a social field. I found loads of jobs and even got a handful of interviews off social media, so it’s not one to pass of immediately. 

8. The Importance of Internships...

Nowadays, you need experience to gain experience...after all, how are you supposed to prove your skills if you've never had to use them in a real life working situation? When I went to University I made sure that I was doing a course with a year in industry/placement as I knew that it would improve my employment prospects post-university and not only did it do that, but it's also prepared me more for the real world of work and helped me to land on my feet. Not all internships are unpaid now either, and I managed to get a great internship and fund myself completely living in West London for a year, so they're not something to pass up immediately, as doing an internship for a year could really help you bag your dream job further down the line. Apart from the experience you gain through doing internships, the networking is invaluable. I met people from all different companies and industries whilst on placement, which really helped me to secure some interviews...because it's true what they say, sometimes it's not what you know but who you know. 

9. Make Use Of Your Universities Contacts...

In all honesty, this is something I wish I'd done sooner. Most universities have contacts with a lot of large companies and agencies, and some even have deals where they take X amount of a certain Universities graduates each year, so it's always worth talking to your University to see if they know of anything. Also, your university may be able to put you in touch with the recruitment/HR team at these companies, and you've really nothing to lose in contacting them to see if there are any job vacancies. 

I hope some of these tips have helped you in some way, and good luck with your job hunt if you're looking! 

Lots of Love,

Becky x x


5 comments:

  1. I'm definitely not at this stage in life, but this was an interesting read never the less; I've recently started including my blog within my CV and I've already noticed positive results! Some great tips and tricks here, Becky!

    Heather, porcelainbeauty xx

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  2. I like how you say tailor the CV to the job, etc. That is so true. You can't always just have one for everything. With different people and jobs you've got to work with their personalities and requirements. xo Wonderful tips.
    www.GlossyFinds.com


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  3. These are such great tips which I'll probably need when I graduate next year! Thanks for posting :) xx
    Chasing Belle

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  4. This is such funny timing as I've just landed a grad job finally (and am planning a post too!) It's one of the most difficult and disheartening things I've ever done but I'm so glad I didn't give up! These are really helpful tips to anyone looking for grad jobs :) xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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  5. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for writing this post! It's probably one of the most helpful posts I've read. I don't graduate until next year but I'm already totally stressing out about what to do and how to go about doing it. I'll definitely be keeping all of these points in mind. I love the point about mentioning your blog because I probably would never have done that. Brilliant post! Thanks again.

    Caitlin | Cosmetics, Cocktails & Cruising xx

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