Welcome class of 2017 – After 3 years of hard work, perseverance, tears and joy; you’ve finally submitted your last assignment and have started to think about the next steps – how to get a graduate job.
We won’t lie to you, today’s graduate job hunting climate has been brutal over the last decade, with more people obtaining degrees and battling against those with years of experience. Did you know that according to the Changes In Student Choices and Graduate Employment Report – the number of unemployed individuals 6 months after graduating has risen by 10% in the UK alone?
Why is it so hard to get a graduate job? This is a question you’ll soon never have to ask youreslf – At Armstrong Appointments we believe in the possible. Today we are going to share with you 13 ways you can stand out from the sea of graduates and land the perfect graduate job of your dreams.
13 Ways To Get The Perfect Graduate Job:
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Make It Tailored
Drive and Passion
Research, research and research some more
It’s a no brainer – researching the companies you apply for are imperative not only to achieve your dream job but also for matching your own interests and values with a company’s ethos.
Asking your search engine specific questions related to your industry will also give you vital information on the requirements need to get your foot in the door. For example: ‘How to get a graduate job in Engineering” will have different methods of applications to let’s say “How to get a job in Finance”.
Here are questions you absolutely need to ask before you begin your application:
Do they uphold corporate social responsibility?
Are their products and services ethical?
Do they rate well on company review sites such as Glassdoor?
Do you see potential for progression at the company?
Do you see potential and progression in the advertised role?
Make it tailored. Make it personal
It’s extremely easy to apply for postings on mass – but the HR department or recruitment consultant reading your application can read between the lines. Why should they hire you if you haven’t made the effort to fully reference the role or company within your application?
Research and mention interesting facts about the company within your application and why they resonate with you. This information can be used in your cover letter to a prospective employer – it will seat you on another level that will work in your favor.
Add value to your CV and cover letter by reading each skill, attribute and any additional requirements of the role. Explain why each of these attributes make you an asset to the company. Saying you’re an enthusiastic hard worker says nothing about your skill set so referencing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ within your application is a sure fire way to make you stand out from the crowd.
No experience? No problem – Change your attitude to job applications
It’s important to have realistic expectations when applying for the role. But have you considered your previous work history and feel convinced you have the capacity and motivation to learn new skills for a role?
If you have transferable skills, let’s say in analytics – this skill can be applied to research and data based roles. Don’t think you’re not in a position to apply for a role because you lack a couple of the skills required – Utilise your current skill set and sell them to the hiring manager.
Convince the hiring manager that your shortfall is made up for in other skills you possess – showing your willingness to learn a new piece of software is often more than enough if you have other attributes you can bring to the role.
Make your online presence professional
The reality is this – If your profile photo on Facebook is of you boozed up on the beach, we highly suggest you change it, seriously. Hiring managers and HR departments are very likely to look you up on the internet and audit your social media to see if you are a right fit.
Make your profile photo simple – you don’t need to wear a full suit, a simple head-shot is enough to suffice. Professionalism is key here. Even if you’re the brightest candidate – that boozy shot just might ruin your chances of a dream job.
Don’t worry about including friends on personal social media, so long as it’s not indecent then you won’t give a bad impression.
Speak to recruiters, virtually and literally
There is nothing wrong with picking up the phone in the first instance to make an initial enquiry and jot down details of a role you’re interested in, especially if you are keen on finding out more that the job post doesn’t mention online. We are in a generation where this is becoming a norm, so make the most of this
Introducing yourself and showing keenness over the phone can work wonders for remembrance and first impressions, however be extremely wary of the questions you ask and how you ask them – you definitely do not want to give a bad impression by disclosing something personal or inappropriate .
Rehearse what you’d like to ask before you ring them. Picking up the phone can be daunting at times however if it’s something your not entirely comfortable in – simple follow ups a few days to a week apart from an initial enquiry email is fine.
Utilise existing connections
Do you have a friend that works in your preferred industry?
Ask them how they got started up, and if they’re a great friend – ask for contact details to get your foot in the door.
If you already have a LinkedIn profile, why not send InMail to your existing connections to see if their firm is hiring? Twitter and Facebook are also becoming popular platforms for sponsored job listings and can be just the right channels to find your dream job. Remember – professionalism is key here.
Did you intern or volunteer in the past? Send a catch up email and ask if they have any vacancies going. You’re very likely to get a lead if you left previous work experience on a high.
Weigh Up Your Personal Life, Requirements and Expenses
There’s a lot to weigh up here – your finances, travel and personal aspirations.
Ask yourself if the salary being advertised is enough for you to live on – do you think you’d resent your choices in the future? Evaluate your current finances, as well as your skill set and use this as leverage to negotiate a salary with a prospective employer (if there’s room to do so).
Is travel to the company’s location feasible? Will travel time chip away at your personal life and hobbies?
The key here is to know your worth and find a job that fits seamlessy with your wants and needs.
Consider a change
It’s very common to change your career after University. It’s an accessible option for those who have graduated and have experienced a change of heart.
Universities offer taught masters programs if you’re not quite ready for the world of employment – this is a great way to not only further refine your skill set in your desired industry, but to even change your career path altogether.
Leading back to the point of lack of experience – look through your skill set and see if they’re transferable to another industry. For example if you hold a business degree but have experience in retail – this understanding can easily transfer to the field of marketing and promotion.
Another point to consider if you do decide to change your career destination, is if you are willing to accept role with a pay cut to get the job you desire. Sometime sacrifices have to be made, especially if it will eventually lead to your dream role.
Explore all avenues
Your absolute dream graduate role might be at a successful law firm. You apply, but to your avail do not receive a response.
Consider SMEs (smaller to medium-sized companies) to improve on your skills before applying for the top dogs. These companies may even surprise you; it could be the dream job in disguise!
SMEs offer a deeper insight into the processes in the company and allow you to see how each and every single one works. Larger firms are likely to stick you in a more ‘refined’ role where you are bound to being responsible for only 1 or 2 things. Having the insight from an SME can open your eyes to your desired industry and teach you how everything works.
Prepare yourself for as many questions as possible
Why did you study an English Degree yet you’re wanting to break into Engineering?
What skills can your degree offer us?
Mentioning your analytical within your CV or at an interview isn’t enough – anyone can claim to be whatever they wish, so it’s likely the hiring manager will ask you about this.
Demonstrate your skills, think back to previous examples and explain them concisely.
Ask yourself the interview questions scoured across the internet – this is not only a perfect way of preparing your answers, but it may act as an affirmative and provide you with clarity for your own career goals.
Show your drive and passion
So you managed to get that interview for your dream job – don’t let yourself down by showing you’re tired for that 9am interview or half heartedly explain why you’re a fit for the company.
If there’s a skill you absolutely shine at and is imperative to the role – sell it and sell it well!
If it was pouring it down on your way to the interview and it’s left you in a sour mood – fake a positive mood for the duration of the interview to show that against all odds you are eager and happy to be meeting your hiring manager. Negativity and complaints will only make you appear sour in front of them.
Volunteer, freelance or intern whilst you wait for answers
Once you’ve sent your applications to you dream jobs – it’s a waiting game from here on out, but don’t let that stop you from using the waiting time wisely.
If your degree has room for work on a freelance basis – use this opportunity to not only make some extra cash but hone in on your skills – who knows, you might even kick off a successful business!
If your role requires a certain attribute that you might lack, why not seek work experience to gain this skill, which in turn can be added to your skill set?
Learn something entirely new with an internship and discover an area in your industry that might open more doors for you.
Lastly and most importantly – Keep your motivation up
You will get rejection no doubt. You often begin to ask yourself:
“Why can’t I get a graduate job? Am I not good enough?”
“How difficult is it to even get a graduate job these days?”
Do not take job rejection personally, if you know you have a good skill set and degree (of any grade) under your belt then you should be proud you accomplishments and skills you have thus far.
Find out why you were rejected, that way you can incorporate this knowledge into your next application to increase your chances of success. Is it because of a 3rd Class degree? A lack of skill? Use your feedback to improve further job prospects and better your chance at landing a job.
If you’re following this guide to a ‘T’, wrote killer applications or did your absolute best at your interviews, then reassure yourself you have done everything you can and move on to the next application. Remind yourself that a rejection is not the end. Employers look for things that we will never know. Just because you don’t have said attribute that doesn’t make you any less qualified than the next applicant.
Do you have any graduate careers advice you think would be great on this list? Get it touch!