You may be thinking about what’s in store when you finally leave University. Graduate jobs are notoriously hard to find, but it’s possible with hard work and the right attitude. With Government reports showing the highest employment rate in graduates in 10 years, you have every right to be optimistic. Here are our five top tips for beating the bunch to those graduate jobs.
1. Don’t slack
When you finish your studies, you might be tempted to chill out and take a few weeks of ‘me time’. Relaxing is important, but not as important as your future. The end of University is the beginning of your career, so it’s crucial that you stay focused and keep your finger on the pulse.
Work experience placements in your interested field will not only keep your mind focused, but will also give you the edge over other potential candidates. You could also try completing an online course in anything of interest to you. This will show employers that you are dedicated and motivated to do well. Gill Sharp, careers adviser at Which says, ‘it’s important your CV demonstrates how you go the extra mile in your studies and spare time. That could be through your involvement in a society or the students’ union, a work experience placement you arranged yourself.’
2. Get a temporary job
Don’t think that getting a part time job is a trap. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash while applying for your dream graduate job. Remember, once you finish Uni, there are no more student loans! You’ll still have time to apply for jobs on your days off, and your income means you could also use this free time to do unpaid work placements.
Working in a bar or restaurant will keep your days free, so you can attend interviews and prepare during the day and work in the evenings. It’s also a great place to network and meet new people, as well as making good tips!
3. Look at SMEs
You’re probably looking for a job in a specific field, but you shouldn’t always go for the obvious choices. SMEs or small-to-medium sized enterprises offer graduate jobs with, arguably, a lot more scope for progression. The Guardian says, ‘By following the SME route, it’s entirely possible that, within five to 10 years of graduating, you could be holding down a board-level job in a company growing at breakneck speed.’
Smaller businesses can be harder to find, as they generally won’t be advertised on mainstream recruitment sites. The key is to find them yourself. Search local independent business in your area, visit their websites and see what opportunities they have available. If you think you’d be perfect for a certain company, but there are no positions on offer right now, email them anyway and express your interest. Most employers will keep your CV on file to consult when a position opens.
4. Tailor your applications
One of the biggest mistakes people make when applying for a new job is sending out a generic CV and cover letter. While you don’t have to recreate a new CV for every job you apply for, you should tailor the information within it to ensure that it is the most valuable information about you. Your cover letter, however, should be individual every time.
The Guardian suggests trying to get inside the head of your potential new manager. It says, ‘Staying in the head of your prospective employer, ask yourself: “What are my unique selling points about this job?” This can be specific skills, experience, interests, qualifications or passions.’
5. Do your research
Once you’ve obtained an interview for a graduate job, you should do as much research as you can on the company. Your initial reaction may be to panic, but don’t worry! You should feel proud of this accomplishment. Make sure you find out information not only about the company but also about the role. Employers will most likely ask you questions about how you’d be good for that specific job. Try and think of examples of experiences where you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for those tasks.
Save The Student have loads of great tips for interviews, so swot up before you go!
Do you have any more tips for getting a graduate job? Let us know in the comments!