Finding a job after university can be a tall order in such a competitive jobs market. As graduation becomes a distant memory and you start to look forward to a new phase of life, job hunting can become a full time job in itself.
Being thrust into the world of work can be daunting however, there are tools and techniques that will help you to stand out from the crowd so if you are feeling overwhelmed, just take a look at these bite-sized tips to help.
Use your network of connections
Anyone you know should be considered a connection: from family friends and your old university professors to friends who have found work already. The most unlikely connections can offer advice or a referral to someone who may be able to help. Always keep an open mind and continue to widen your networking opportunities. Attending business networking events and building up a presence on social media platforms such as LinkedIn are both great ways to quickly increase your contacts.
Use of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a really powerful tool for interacting with businesses – think of it as Facebook for the professional working population. It’s free and the aim is to network and share experience and knowledge. You can join forums and groups that have specific interest in the areas you want to work. It’s used by companies and recruitment agencies looking for people just like you looking for work. Be proactive – if you want to work for a specific company, look for their recruitment page or someone who works in recruitment, HR or if a smaller company, the MD or General Manager. Then send them a link/email asking them to connect and personalise the message to say why you are interested in the company and what you could offer. Keep it brief, but don’t be scared of proactively contacting people – it shows initiative, good research skills and will set you apart!
Start an online blog/journal
Blogging is now an important industry that has launched many faces and businesses. Aside from becoming an enjoyable activity that allows you to document your passions, a blog is a great tool that will showcase your industry knowledge, passions and proactive nature. As its popularity grows, your blog may become a money-making side project as advertisers take notice. Writing on a daily basis can also improve your communication skills that will help when you enter into a new job. Just remember, your future employer could read your blog so make sure it is appropriate!
Focus on personal marketing
Jobseekers should think of themselves as a walking, talking personal brand. Every online personal profile has the potential to publicise your skills and qualifications. Again, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for increasing your personal branding efforts. Basic but key tools in your own personal campaign include your CV and covering letter. When writing up both documents, keep your past experience short and concise and limit your CV to just two pages at the most. Recruiters or hiring managers scan hundreds of CV’s to look for keywords, so keep lengthy sentences to a minimum and tailor keywords to suit a specific job vacancy.
Think outside the box
Your peers may all take the same routes to find work, and while following the crowd can prove to be successful, independent thought and taking risks along the way could make you a distinctive candidate. When sending out your CV to employers, consider alternative routes like handing a paper copy of your CV to the hiring manager personally or researching a company website to seek out more personal work emails that aren’t mentioned in the job advert. Why not go one step further by contacting CEOs and managers within your chosen industry? Always keep your communications short and professional – think proactive, not pest!
Consider graduate schemes, internships and further study
Finding a job after university isn’t always a straightforward process. Many employers now look for experience as well as a degree. “How can I gain experience?” you may ask. Well, if you haven’t already done so at university, you could consider an internship as a stepping stone into the world of work. You can draft up an email to employers that asks if they have an internship opportunities and how your skills would lend themselves well to an internship role in their business. Alternatively, there are hundreds of graduate schemes around the country that can offer full employment by the end of the role. Graduate scheme positions can vary in responsibility and longevity, from three months to three years. Many schemes offer a chance to work at some of the most well-known and prestigious companies in the world. Like any application process, the competition can be fierce so do your research and apply for as many as you can.
Many graduates choose to transfer their degree knowledge to a PGCE teaching course to educate the younger generations. Courses are available throughout the UK and require practical learning placements of at least 24 weeks at a minimum of two schools.
Consider Volunteer work
Volunteering can be a valuable way to gain experience in a related field. It will provide access to a new network who may also be able to provide referrals into companies you are interested in working with. You may learn new and transferable skills or be able to put into practice some of the skills you have already learned. Hiring managers’ value volunteerism and being able to demonstrate a wider skill set than just study. Ideally try to volunteer in something related to your chosen career path, but remember even working in a shop or fundraising demonstrates customer facing skills, proactivity and a customer service focus which nearly all jobs require.
Be prepared to start from the bottom
Looking for work after university can be frustrating. After years of hard work for a well-deserved degree, accepting a job that is below your skill level can be challenging but if in a related field may pay-off. Perseverance and diligence are two attributes that you will quickly learn in pursuit of your career goals. Graduate roles often start from the grassroots then gradually take on more responsibilities as the graduate tag is left behind.
Your life may feel like it’s on hold while you look for employment but use this time to practice your skills and widen your skill set based on job vacancy research. Keep learning and polish your communication skills so that you are prepared for any opportunity that may present itself.
Keep persevering, keep the energy and enthusiasm to personalise each application, do your research on each opportunity, proactively use and expand your online and physical network and the right role will eventually present itself.
LoveLocalJobs.com is excited to launch an upcoming campaign aimed at hiring graduate job seekers and offering the advice they need to pursue a successful career. While we put the finishing touches to the campaign, candidates can always access our four careers advice portals: BEACH, Take OFF, WOW (World of Work) and Pathway. Please use our contact page if you would like to send us a message.