Are you looking to find a graduate job but unsure where to start? Look no further, with this handy guide you can put yourself in the best position to land your dream graduate job.
Discover your strengths and interests
A common obstacle faced by many final-year students is not knowing which career is their best suit. A good way to address this is by noting your key interests and any transferable skills you have gained from your degree; whether you have a passion for statistics, research or literature, there is certainly a career in which you can utilise your unique skill set.
While the current circumstances may make it challenging to find work experience in a sector which interests you, employers really value candidates who go that extra mile. Some companies are offering virtual work experience, insight sessions or career fairs. There are also many free online courses (e.g. OpenLearn) where you can acquire expertise on specific business areas. By doing so, you can demonstrate interest in your desired path and stand out from the increasingly competitive crowd.
Often, opportunities will arise through the people you know. By networking with friends, family and colleagues you could stumble across work experience, or even a job, which may not be advertised through traditional means. LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable tool where you can connect with like-minded individuals, who could help or advise you on your job search. Don’t be afraid to approach and connect with potential employers – they value those who are willing to show initiative.
Writing an effective CV and cover letter
Your CV and cover letter are usually the first impression an employer will get from you, so make sure it’s a good one! From a hiring perspective, common mistakes made by graduates include spelling or grammatical errors, having an overly long CV and failing to tailor your cover letter to the relevant role and company. Make sure you spend time reviewing what exactly is required by the job and adapt your application towards this. Ideally, your CV and cover letter should be less than a page each, while conveying your personality and talents throughout. For further advice, reach out to your university’s careers and employability service; many also offer CV and cover letter reviews, even after you have graduated.
There are many jobsites which are specifically designed for graduates (e.g. Bright Network, Milkround and Debut), which regularly post job vacancies and opportunities to boost your employability. Many allow you to create a profile and upload your CV, which recruiters often use to source potential candidates – it takes minimal time and is a great way to get noticed!
Recruitment agencies are also a great way forward; they offer many vacancies which are often not advertised elsewhere. Recruiters are well experienced in matching your individual strengths to jobs, so by registering with a few in your local area you could come across some exciting opportunities.
Reach out to companies
If there is a particular company you’d love to work for, why not reach out to them by either finding the appropriate contact on Linkedin or calling their offices directly!
Most large companies offer graduate schemes, which are essentially structured programmes in which you undertake rotations across different business functions. They offer extensive training with great starting salaries and opportunity to land a senior role upon completion of the scheme. Graduate schemes typically open from September and close before Christmas, but it’s a good idea to get your application in early as they are very competitive, and roles are often filled on a rolling basis. The recruitment process for graduate schemes can be lengthy, consisting of various psychometric tests, interviews and assessment centres. For more information, check out this guide to the best UK graduate schemes.
If a graduate scheme isn’t for you, fear not, there are plenty of graduate entry level jobs which are released throughout the course of the year, and often don’t demand such a rigorous application process.
A few final tips
1) Job applications take time – the road to finding a graduate job is often long and windy, but with perseverance and a positive attitude your efforts will soon be rewarded.
2) The early bird (often) wins the race – employers tend to fill vacancies on a rolling basis and are entitled to close vacancies earlier than advertised. To avoid disappointment, send your application off early.
3) Rejection is inevitable – don’t be disheartened if you get turned down a few times, it happens to the best of us! Contact the relevant HR department for any feedback or areas for improvement.