Graduating from university is a great feeling, but tossing your mortarboard in the air is also the precursor to one of the biggest and scariest steps you'll ever have to take: the step away from student life and into the world of work.
Searching for your first full-time job can be a gruelling and demoralising task. If you've just left university, you probably don't have a whole lot of relevant work experience just yet, and as a result you may feel that you're at a significant disadvantage as you struggle to get a foot on that all-important first rung of the career ladder. But rest assured that there are many employers out there who are desperate to recruit talented graduates like yourself - you just have to make sure they know about you!
With that in mind, here - courtesy of science job specialists Hyper Recruitment Solutions - are 5 top tips for graduates who are looking for jobs:
1) Before you apply for anything, Google yourself.
No matter what sort of role you're looking to land, you can bet that the person who receives your job application will pop your name into a search engine before deciding whether or not to offer you an interview. This is the 21st century, and these days, potential employers will often scrutinise your online presence just as much as your CV. So make sure you're not showing them anything you don't want them to see!
Before you begin your job search, you should:
- Type your name into Google to see what comes up on the first page of results. (If you have a common name, or if you share your name with somebody famous, you may want to try including your location in the search - e.g. 'daniel radcliffe sunderland' - to find pages that are specifically about you.) Is there anything in there that might damage a potential employer's opinion of you? A Twitter account, a news story, something you wrote years ago that you're not particularly proud of? It may not be possible to erase every piece of information about yourself, but if you're able to eliminate any red flags then you absolutely should.
- You should also use Facebook's 'View As...' feature to find out how much of your profile is visible to the public. If necessary, adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view the things you post. You don't want your future boss to see those drunk photos of you from your graduation party, do you?
2) Make your CV shine.
Composing an impressive CV can be tough when you're fresh out of uni, especially if you haven't previously held a role that's similar to the one you're applying for. But don't assume that the experience you do have is worthless - just because you've never worked in an office before doesn't mean that you've never exercised the skills needed to succeed in that environment.
The key is to think outside the box a little bit. Let's say you're applying for a marketing job at an FMCG company - sure, you've never occupied a marketing post before, but you completed a degree, and perhaps you even worked a part-time job or two while you were studying. These and other experiences will have equipped you with:
- The ability to work as part of a team
- The ability to approach tasks creatively
- Strong communication skills
- The ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure
- An understanding of how to behave when dealing with customers/clients
All of these things are highly valued by employers in all sorts of different sectors, so don't be reluctant to include them on your curriculum vitae. Don't think in terms of experience - think in terms of skills!
3) Cast your net wide.
Different employers advertise their vacancies in all sorts of different places, so don't limit yourself to a single website or job listings board. By all means sign up with big names like Monster and Indeed, but bear in mind that there are lots of specialist recruiters out there too - recruiters like Aspire for the digital / media sector and HRS for science jobs. Some organisations, having a limited budget for this sort of thing, will exclusively recruit via these more specialised portals, so don't kid yourself that you'll see every available vacancy just because you check Reed every day.
4) Don't go back into higher education without a good reason.
Postgraduate courses are great, and in some cases, you'll need a master's or a PhD to get the career you really want. However, far too many graduates sleepwalk into postgraduate programmes simply because they don't feel ready to compete for full-time employment.
That's usually a bad decision. Higher education is expensive, as you're no doubt already aware, and while you might tell yourself that a more advanced qualification will lead to better career prospects, the evidence on that front is somewhat ambiguous.
Yes, entering the world of work can feel like jumping into an abyss, but you shouldn't go back to university just because you're cosily familiar with academic life and scared of sampling the alternative. If you have a clear goal in mind (e.g. 'I need additional qualification X in order to be considered for job Y') then by all means go for it, but otherwise, you're probably better off taking the leap into full-time employment.
5) Remember - you're not committing to a career for life.
When searching for jobs to apply for, try to bear in mind that your first post-university job doesn't necessarily have to lead to the career of your dreams. Many people don't even decide on a career until quite a bit later in life, so don't feel pressured to apply exclusively for jobs that are directly linked to whatever you think you'd like to be doing in ten or twenty years' time. You might only stay in this first job for a year or two - and that's okay, because it will still give you a lot of extra experience and a lot of new things to add to that CV of yours.
So those are our top 5 tips for gradaute jobseekers, and we hope they'll come in handy! Of course, there's no secret formula or trick for landing any job you apply for, but it's important to stay positive and keep striving for success even if you suffer a setback or two. Just because your first few applications didn't lead anywhere doesn't mean that you should give up - keep going, and you'll be starting your new job before you know it!
Searching for jobs in the science/technology sector? Click here to create a candidate account and browse the latest vacancies from Hyper Recruitment Solutions!
Have you considered a career in recruitment?
Here at HRS, we are looking for talented individuals who want to make a difference to the science and technology sectors through recruitment. We have a number of positions available for trainee Recruitment Consultants / Graduate Sales Executives to join our growing sales teams.
The recruitment industry is one of the most rewarding and desirable sectors to work in. If you have an outgoing personality, are good with people, and happy to work hard to succeed in life, then you are perfect for a job in recruitment. We will train you to the highest possible standards and develop your skills and knowledge of the recruitment industry. If you have a passion and enthusiasm for doing the job right, this position offers great rewards.
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