Career Management

University is full to the brim with enjoyable nights out and endless chats with mates, and it comes with its fair share of nervous breakdowns, stressful exams and revising into the wee hours, too. And, now that you’ve finally graduated, you’re probably feeling a bit worried about where to go from here.

Everyone goes through this inner-turmoil. Anyone that has ever been to university before understands the panicky ‘but what if I’m not good enough?’ thoughts. The key to jumping straight from university and into a job is in knowing which doors are already standing open for you, and which you’ll need to find the keys for. Here are a few tips for you:

1) Be articulate:

It’s 5.20pm, an employer is feeling tired and hungry, but they still have a stack of CVs to trawl through. Anything less than perfect simply isn’t going to cut it from this point onwards.

Your CV needs to stand out from the crowd in every way possible. It needs to be sharp, to-the-point and professional. Here’s how:

  1. Get rid of chunky blocks of text that are hard to skim-read and replace them with bullet-pointed lists.
  2. Filter out any filler and try to keep your CV under two pages.
  3. Beware of buzzwords. Overused buzzwords such as ‘motivated’, ‘innovative’ and ‘dynamic’ can be an instant turn off for employers.
  4. Always, always thoroughly proofread your CV to check for typos, grammatical errors and unnecessary information.
  5. Include up-to-date contact information, including your email address, phone number and LinkedIn profile.
  6. If relevant, add a link to your online portfolio to give employers a chance to see your work.

2) Get to grips with networking:

The word ‘networking’ probably conjures up images of schmoozy dinners and awkward events, but this isn’t how it needs to be for you. Networking is the number one way to meet people in the business, and it can help you to find out who you need to know in order to get a job.

While a lot of recruiters probably don’t want you to know this, it’s really the people you know that often gets you into a new job. If someone at a company knows someone who knows you, their boss is much more likely to hire you over a complete stranger. The personal recommendation that you’ll come with can do wonders.

You don’t need to get to know everyone, and you certainly don’t need to pay a fortune to attend any swanky dinners, but what you do need to do is get your name out there. Start sending your CV out to all of the companies in your area that you’d love to work for, and remember to craft an amazing covering letter while you’re at it. You can see some important tips here.

3) Further your skills:

Just because you have a degree now doesn’t necessarily mean that your studies are complete. You may wish to strengthen your knowledge by continuing to study on your own, or by taking additional classes or qualifications in important aspects of your chosen industry.

In fact, a lot of employers are actually more likely to hire graduates with a broad knowledge of their field, rather than a narrowed scope specialising in just one area.

4) Be prepared to get knocked back:

By: John_2

By: John_2

It’s sad, but true.

You will be rejected at least a handful of times before you get your first job. Why? Simply because there are so many people applying for jobs at the moment.

Don’t take rejection too badly though. Understand that:

  1. It can give you a chance to hone your skills – take any feedback and use it to better yourself.
  2. It is out of your control. At the end of the day, the employer has the final say in which candidate they go with, so don’t beat yourself up about it.
  3. Some employers may not actually know why they decide to hire certain candidates and reject others. They often simply get gut reactions and feel as though they have to hire a particular person.

5) Keep up the hard work:

The number one way to get into work after you graduate is to never stop looking for jobs. Job hunting should become your job. You should be looking for work every single day!

There are lots of websites out there that you can use, and your university is sure to be happy to help you with your search. They may even be able to introduce you to some key people in the business.

Have you recently graduated? If so, how will you handle your job search? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Aurora Johnson works for EmptyLemon.co.uk, a recruitment website that puts candidates directly in contact with employers.


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