The key steps to getting a graduate job

Looking for a grad job? Here's everything you need to know when deciding what career you want after university has finished.
Avantika Vaishnav
Avantika Vaishnav

This article was written by an external contributor. Connor Gotto lists some things to consider when you’re hunting for a graduate job. 

Coming to the end of your final year at uni feels like reaching the peak of a mountain. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. As much as it’s the best years of your life (so far), it’s also really tough. Time and time again you’ve thought of giving up, packing it in and heading off home – but you didn’t, and now you’ve made it!

So, what now?

As much as university provides students with the skills that they’ll need to excel in their chosen discipline, it sadly lacks in real world experience. In other words, your mind is overwhelmed with knowledge of your subject area… but thinking about your future career is another matter entirely.

graduate job

Yes, there are career services on hand to help you along the way, but in terms of getting that all important graduate job – that’s down to you. So, to help you make the best decision and get you on the right track, here are some tips from someone whose been there and done it.

What do you want to do?

The first step towards a successful job search is knowing what it is that you want to do. Your degree subject is broad, and you’ll be equipped with a variety of transferable skills that would make you the ideal candidate for several jobs. You’ve got everything going for you!

Applying for everything, however, isn’t the best idea. Applying for various different jobs means various different CVs and cover letters  – it’s a lot of work. Not only will you have to produce a higher volume of documents, you’ll also have to work even harder to ensure that they all show you in your best light. It may end up burning you out!

So, instead of trying any avenue on offer, set your eyes on one prize and stick with it (for a while, at least…). Having a top notch CV and an equally brilliant cover letter to go with it is far more valuable than throwing yourself at every opportunity and spreading yourself too thin.

Of course, if you do see a slightly different job that you know is absolutely you then you should definitely go for it. All we’re saying is that direction is a good thing, and there’s a lot to be said for being selective.

graduate job

How much of a rush are you in?

This is a big one and something that trips up a lot of graduates. When you’re putting yourself out there, consider how much of a rush you’re in to land that first job and how much you’re willing to sacrifice.

Alright, everybody knows that your first graduate job is likely not a dream come true. It is a nice feeling, however, when you land yourself a role and all of your friends are still looking. But, what if that role isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be?

Yes, you’re brand new to the job search, and that’s a good thing! You can afford to turn down jobs that don’t particularly excite you. We totally understand that you need money to live and that the bank of mum and dad isn’t an endless supply, but hold off rushing into things – especially if you’re incredibly dubious over whether it’s the right decision.

Take a little time and really figure out which are the good jobs and which aren’t all that they say they are.

Sell yourself properly 

This is something that trips a lot of graduates up when it really shouldn’t – you’re fresh on the market, so sell yourself!

The fact that you’re just out of uni might seem like a hindrance, but it’s actually a massive asset. You’ve earned that degree. Your mind is buzzing. Your perspective is fresh. So make the most of that!

graduate job

We’ve seen a lot of people almost apologise on their covering letters for being just out of uni, trying to overcompensate by highlighting other ‘achievements’ that they think employers want to see. Yes, the fact that you were ‘Star of the Week’ in Year Eight is great, but your ideas and inspiration are far more valuable.

So, sell yourself properly. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Just be you 

Finally, as with any area of your life, the key to a successful graduate job hunt is to be yourself.

You are you, and there’s nothing you can do about that! More to the point, employers will spot a phoney a mile off. You’ll only be doing yourself a disservice by pretending to be someone that you’re not.

Be confident, wear your heart on your sleeve and let employers see the person behind the degree. It might be a big part of your job search, but a lot of it comes down the individual, so let that person be you.

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