So you’ve finished university, hopefully got a great degree and some amazing memories to leave with, congratulations! But your parents are breathing down your neck and every time they come home you’re still in your pajamas, crisp crumbs all down your front – hardly the image of grad life you had in your mind. So how do you get a grad job? No, that wasn’t rhetorical, I actually don’t have a graduate job yet, and am minutes away from spiralling down a shaft of self-doubt. But anyway… I’ve been applying for loads of jobs, and have read thousands of tips websites, how to dress in an interview, how to write your CV, the best cover letter… there’s so much to consider, so I thought I’d collate it all here so you don’t have to!
- Widen your search terms
- Sure you want to go into Marketing/PR/Publishing/Sales/HR and you know you really really want to be an assistant sub editorial market analyst, but there’s only 3 job vacancies in that field and you’ve applied for all of them already… But you’ve earnt your degree so surely you have to benefit of being picky, right? Unfortunately not. In order to get onto that big ol’ career ladder, it’s best to widen those search terms and find a job in your chosen field, but you may discover that you can get into your dream role other ways, or just that people have listed the same job under loads of different variations of titles. So tip number one: still be selective, but widen your searches to return more results in your chosen field.
- You’ve found a great job opening? Great! So you’re just going to send that CV that you spent a couple of hours tweaking once you finished uni? Not so great… Every job you’re going for is going to be different, if only slightly. They’ll want to see in your CV and covering letter how you can offer them all the things they’re asking for, not what you think you succeed best at (though hopefully there will be a few crossovers here!) And make sure you really hone in on these things in your covering letter – don’t just make it a reiteration of your CV, it’s got to stand out and catch the employers eye before they’ve even seen your CV! So definitely spend a bit of time going through the covering letter, making sure you’ve ticked all the boxes of the person they’re advertising for!
- ALSO, it’s always worth finding out who you’re sending your application to, do a bit of digging on LinkedIn, ring up the company and find out who’s going to be looking at your CV. It shows you care enough to go that extra mile, and would break up the monotony for the interviewer who’s probably read dozens of “Dir Sir/Madam”s by this point.
- Keep a record.
- Do this now. Open up Excel, and make a spreadsheet of all your applications (or download this one that’s already done for you). If you’re like me and have begun to lose track of where you’ve applied to and when, you can easily input every single bit of data into the spreadsheet to stay on top of what you’ve applied to when, and how it’s all gone for you!
- You got an interview? WOW go you! They think what you’ve got is a great fit for the job. Now you’ve just got to convince them they were right! Now everyone will give you differing views of best practice for interviews, but here’s what I’ve seen being talked about positively most – save you going through another 10 websites. A) dress smart. Go for one degree smarter than the companies dress code if they’re casual – just because they’re casual doesn’t mean you can be on your interview. B) Take a notepad, prepare your questions early. We’ve all had interview nerves and been flustered when they’ve inevitably asked you if you have any questions. So prepare them before, take the notepad, a portfolio of work if necessary and a few copies of your cv. That was you can jot down notes (not too many!) of what the interviewer is saying, and you can use the act of writing to keep you calm.
So there’s my thoughts on the top tips to get a cracking on that job hunt thing! If you have any other ideas please please please leave them in the comments!