How to Start Your Graduate Job Hunt

Your graduation day was the springboard into a summer of celebration. With no stresses, deadlines or commitments, you’ve spent the last few weeks relishing your newfound freedom. A hazy string of house parties, festivals and getaways with your grad pals.

Like you, most graduates will have let their hair down for summer, but plenty will have knuckled down and started the job hunt as soon as the graduation gown was dropped off at the dry cleaners. Remember: once you’ve graduated, your peers become your competitors.

Holiday season is over. Where do you begin in your quest for graduate employment?

What do you want?

There’s no point firing off applications from the get-go. You need to ascertain exactly what it is that you’re seeking. Are you looking for a graduate job or a graduate scheme? What industry do you want to work in? Are you willing to relocate? What kind of company culture appeals to you? Are you after adventure? Money? Security?

By clarifying your goals, you’ll be more motivated and won’t waste energy on applying for jobs that aren’t right for you. You’ll also come across as a much stronger candidate in interviews, as you’ll be able to clearly articulate why you’re right for the role.

How will you get it?

Once you know what you’re looking for, you need to develop a strategy for your search. Your routine has gone down the pan since you finished uni, so here are a few tips on getting organised and staying motivated:

  • Set your alarm for an early wake-up call each day. Start as you mean to go on!
  • Do all your job hunting in your own ‘office’ space: it could be your spare room, the kitchen table, your local coffee shop… don’t just grab your laptop while you’re lying in bed or watching TV.
  • Create to-do lists: have a clear plan of tasks for each day so you don’t find yourself twiddling your thumbs. And ticking off that last task at the end of the day will give you that extra little burst of motivation.
  • Document everything. Who have you emailed? What calls have you made? It’ll help jog your memory when you need to revisit or chase up an opportunity.
  • Get a part-time job – retail, bar work, whatever. It might seem counterproductive but it’ll give your week more structure; take away any financial pressure, and fill what could otherwise become a questionable CV gap.

Why should you get it?

Be your own marketeer and sell yourself as a must-have for prospective employers. You deserve that job, so make it known…

The CV

Tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. Decide which of your uni modules best fits the job spec; prove the relevant skills with your accomplishments. Also, don’t omit that unusual hobby of yours, or your unforgettable gap year experience: these will showcase your passion and personality, and create great talking points for interview.

The Cover Letter

Your CV might be great, but if the employer is swamped with graduate hopefuls, this letter could be the deciding factor in your chance for an interview. Talk about why you want to work for the company; reference CV highlights and how they make you perfect for the role. Be bold, be different, and give them a little taste of who you are.

The Interview

You’ve got your foot in the door; you’re on the home stretch. Arrive with time to spare, dressed for success and with your research on the company fresh in your mind. Show the employer your confidence and enthusiasm for the role. Finish by asking at least three questions.

For more tips on beating the competition, check out our article on standing out from the graduate crowd.

What if you don’t get it?

No matter how skilled, motivated, prepared or confident you are, the likelihood is that you will receive knockbacks. This process can take time, but don’t lose heart. Ask for feedback at any point you face rejection, and use it as a tool to carve yourself into the perfect candidate for the next opportunity. As long as you stay resilient and persistent, victory will be yours.

For info on graduate opportunities within James Andrews, get in touch.