Recent Graduates: Where to Start in Your Job Search
The time between leaving university and beginning your professional career can feel daunting and overwhelming. The transition from structured studies to the world of employment is one of significant change, especially in terms of lifestyle. In order to make the adjustment more manageable, we’ve compiled some handy tips and tricks below:
1. Master the Basics
The job-hunting graduate needs a basic toolkit on hand to ensure a smooth application process. This includes a professional email address, a finely tuned CV (or two) and up to date profiles on a handful of job boards. We also suggest that you consider your digital footprint, sign up to job alerts, practice your interview technique and develop a job search strategy.
2. CV Advice
When it comes to your CV, we recommend quality over quantity. As recruiters sift through hundreds of applications each day, it is worth keeping to a maximum of 2 pages. Be clear and logical, stick to the point and follow a user-friendly format. Ensure you follow any instructions mentioned in the job advert and consider attaching your CV in a PDF format to avoid document corruption. It is also worth creating 1 or 2 CVs (for different job types) and keeping these updated.
Match your tone of voice to that of the company you are applying to. A CV that is tailored to the job is much more likely to be successful than a generic profile. For more detailed information, please refer to our dedicated Candidates Page.
Top Tip: Address any significant gaps in your CV. Whether due to education, travel or health; it is best to acknowledge these instances, rather than leaving them open to speculation.
Alongside a dazzling CV, a successful candidate will also be highly organised. Start the process by doing your research - as soon as you have a specific idea about the job route you wish to follow, you can stop considering roles that do not tick the boxes. This opens up more time for focusing on what really matters. Utilise all platforms available to you in your job search; this includes social media, company websites and recruitment sites. We suggest uploading your CV to several job sites as employers and recruiters often look for potential new candidates here.
Manage your job applications and track your progress with an excel spread sheet. Be sure to carefully consider what a role requires and prioritise applications to avoid missing deadlines or confusing positions.
4. Your Digital Footprint
Employers are likely to Google you – this includes your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Ensure your online presence is respectable by altering privacy settings and removing any offensive or inappropriate content. You can also impress potential employers by creating your own website – a personal blog can offer a valuable insight into your character and communication skills.
Top Tip: Include your social media handles, portfolio address or personal website in your email signature.
5. Be Pro-Active & Stay Positive
Chase your applications and move on graciously from rejection. If you have your heart set on a specific company then don’t give up! Extend your experience and keep applying – it could happen one day. You can also use the time between graduating and landing your first job to gain valuable experience, whether it be volunteering or acquiring free online qualifications.
Research the companies you are interested in – this will impress the employer and be evident in both your application and interview. Focus on the positives throughout the process and approach each opportunity as if it were your first. It is also important to remember that useful career experience can come in many forms: you have nothing to lose by making phone calls or sending emails to businesses you are interested in.
Top Tip: Use this time frame to organise potential references in advance and get to grips with interview technique. For more advice, check out our Interview Help section.
As a graduate you will have picked up heaps of experience over the last few years. From emotional intelligence to communication, organisation and writing skills, you are probably more prepared for the working world than you realise. Showcase these talents in your CV to prove you are a brilliant candidate. Good luck!