I admit, finding a job after graduating at university is not easy. Particularly if you are qualified in a competitive industry, which is most nowadays.
How do I know? I graduated 4 years ago with a Marketing Communication degree., one of the most common degrees you could have. I assumed I would walk in to my dream job – I couldn’t have been more naive.
I want you (the readers) to understand the true reality, it isn’t all negative but beware, it isn’t easy. Hopefully I can prepare you slightly with these 6 tips for finding a job after graduating.
1. Apply, Apply, Apply!
Your dream job or in fact, any job, will not come and find you. You have to be committed to getting up every day, searching and applying. If anyone can appreciate how time consuming and boring this is, it’s me. I must have applied for nearly 100 jobs before finding a marketing role after university. I live in Oxford, which is a small city and not a real hotspot for marketing jobs. This meant I had to really put the work in. I found myself applying for jobs, I didn’t really want – but I needed the experience.
The more jobs you apply for, the more chance you have of getting an interview. Never fall in to the trap of thinking, ‘I’ve applied for 10 jobs this week, that will do’.
2. Be realistic
When I first started applying for ‘real jobs’, I was fussy.
‘I’m too qualified to be an office assistant’
‘I want to be a Marketing Manger…. NOW!’
Yes, I was slightly impatient. I think it was partly because throughout school, teachers would tell me I ‘needed a degree’ to get a good job – not always true. So, I assumed I would walk in to an amazing job straight away. In fact, experience is a massive factor – degree or no degree.
I soon realised that getting an Administrative role in a successful company was actually a really good opportunity.
3. Recruitment agencies
I used to hate recruitment agencies. They would ring my phone non-stop telling me about jobs. I now realise this was a god send.
Recruitment agencies list endless amount of new job vacancies every day. Creating your profile on sites such as Reed, will not only help when applying for role on the website, but will attract head hunters.
They really do help in setting you up with interviews. The only thing to watch out for, especially as a keen grad, don’t let them take advantage of your desperation to work. They WILL make a job sound a certain way to make it appeal to you, and it could be something totally wrong for you. Like I said above be realistic but don’t allow people to waste your time either.
4. Don’t beat yourself up
You’ve applied for loads of jobs and have 1 interview offer, you go to the interview and don’t get the job. Do NOT give yourself a hard time.
I know it’s easier said than done and at times it feels impossible. Not getting a job can be down to so many different things nowadays. Bare in mind some jobs are advertised, when the company already know who they are going to hire for it.
The likelihood of you attending your first big job interview and getting the role is slim. I think the stats are something like it take 7 interviews to get 1 job. Don’t quote me but it’s around that.
Make sure you get feedback from interviews too. Most people are happy to provide feedback and 9 times out of 10 my feedback from interviews was glowing!
5. Have different CVs
A trap I got in to was having a ‘one fits all’ CV.
In fact, every single application and job is different even if they seem the same. Try and get as much info as possible about a role (job specs, etc) and work your CV around that.
I recently just scrapped my old CV and had help rewriting a totally different one. I kept the old one still to go back to, but my new CV has a ‘competency summary’, which allows me to match my skills specifically to a job’s requirements.
They say the average employer spends approximately 90 seconds finding key skills on a CV – can you find the key skills required for the job role on your CV in 90 seconds? This is a good test to see how relevant the information you’re providing is.
Using tangible figures to back up your statements is also a must.
6. Be patient
It’s hard staying optimistic and confident when you feel you are being knocked down but please keep on with the hunt. You will get the job you want – eventually.
Since leaving graduating I have been an ‘Admin assistant’, ‘Teaching assistant’, ‘BD assistant’…….. the list goes on. Last week, I finally got landed myself a job as ‘Marketing Manager’ – 4 years on!
Patient is definitely a virtue.