Job Hunting Tips for University Graduates


You’ve just spent three or four years at university, and you’re about to set foot in the real world. It probably feels like a rather daunting prospect because you’re now faced with securing yourself a graduate job. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment. The British economy and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit means the economy is currently stuck in a state of flux. There is also an increasing number of graduates chasing jobs, making it even harder to break into the labour market. As competition only gets tighter, it’s vital you start your search as soon as possible. On a brighter note, there are an increasing number of work experience schemes aimed at first-year undergraduates as well as an internships for final year students.

If graduation is looming for you, here are some tips to help you find the perfect graduate job and launch your career.

  • There’s No Time Like the Present

You might think your peers have got everything sorted, but looks can be very deceiving. All your university colleagues are stressed about finishing their assignments just like you. There is, however, no time like the present to get your job hunting started. Whether you’re uncertain about what you want to do with your qualification or haven’t even thought about writing your resume, now is the time to take action and be proactive.

  • Craft a Cover Letter

There are likely to be hundreds of graduates going for the same job, and recruiters receive thousands of CVs, which means you have to make yours the one they want to read. A very effective way of doing this is to craft a cover letter. It can be the deciding factor in who is chosen for an interview. Rather than falling into the trap of using a generic cover letter for all your applications, make the content relevant to the vacancy you’re applying for. The biggest mistake of all is to open your letter with the generic “To whom it may concern.”

  • Get Your Resume Seen

Your dream job isn’t going to fall into your lap, so you have to put yourself out there as much as possible. That means emailing it to recruiters, employers, and relevant professionals as well as uploading it to a variety of job sites. Uploading your resume means you’re making yourself immediately viewable to thousands of recruiters. It also means you can apply directly for advertised jobs.

  • Networking is Important

Networking is important whether you’ve been working for many years or just starting out. Being interconnected and using platforms such as social media is going to benefit your job hunting. Consider cleaning up your social media profiles and try to set the right tone for your graduate job search. It might be worth setting some of your profiles to private, for example, Twitter, ready for when employees and colleagues are searching for you.

  • Do Your Homework

Of course, you want the best job possible, with a good salary and opportunities to further your career, but where do you go if you want to see options available? What are all the other graduates doing after graduation? Where can you go for the best opportunities for graduates in your field? Are there any university links you can take advantage of? The best place to start answering these questions is with the career team at your university. If they don’t know the answers, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction so you can do your own research.

  • Learn How to Sell Yourself

When you start applying for jobs, it’s likely your university qualification won’t be very relevant to the vacancy you’re interested in. That doesn’t mean you’re not suitable, but it does mean you have to find ways to sell yourself rather than your qualification. Think about some of the skills you’ve picked up while studying. You’ve shown you’re able to work to deadlines, gained research and analytical skills, able to give presentations, are a logical thinker, and your interpersonal skills have improved.

  • Get as Much Work Experience as Possible

An internship is a great way to stand out from the competition. Research has been done that shows an internship makes you 25% more likely to get a job offer than someone who has no internship experience. There is a lot of controversy at the moment relating to the inequality it causes because many internships are unpaid. Hopefully, this is not going to continue, and internships will become more inclusive. An option, if you can’t afford to take unpaid experience is to volunteer, especially for a charitable organisation. A prospective employer will view this in a very positive way.

  • Is the Job the Right Fit for You?

Because competition is so fierce, it can be very tempting to apply for as many jobs as possible, even if you’re not remotely interested in the job. This is not the best approach because you could find yourself doing a job you absolutely hate. Before you send off the application, ask yourself whether you can see yourself in the role, and actually enjoy the work.

  • Broaden Your Horizons

While it’s important to take a job that’s the right fit, it’s just as important for you to assess what you’re really looking for, to begin with. If you’re not that bothered where the job is based because you’re happy to consider relocating then broaden your job search. Rather than just your local area open up the job search countrywide or even internationally. Also, think about whether there might be interesting jobs that aren’t directly related to your degree. An increasing number of graduates are finding the role related to their qualification is not what they thought it would be. It means they end up looking for job opportunities in completely different areas.

Above all, it’s important to stay motivated. If you feel you’re losing the will, don’t give up. Finding the perfect job takes time. It might help your motivation if you set aside a couple of hours every day and find other ways to fill the rest of your day.


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