Your first venture into the working world can be daunting. The current job market is full of other graduates looking for their first job, so how can you make sure you stand out from the crowd?
Even if you’re still at university, now’s the time to start thinking about what lies ahead after graduation. Here are a few key tips to help you find your first job.
Use university resources
Your university wants you to be successful after graduation. Speaking to a careers advisor can help jump-start your search and show you what other resources are available. Many universities have alumni networks, which is another valuable resource.
You should also try to make the most of your time at university. Think about the kinds of things that would look good on your CV, even if they’re just talking points. Joining teams or clubs, doing volunteer work or arranging some work experience are all great starts.
Spread your net widely
Using an online job board is great, but using several is even better. Post your CV on a variety of job websites, and make sure that at least a few are specifically for jobs in your field. You can do the same thing for recruitment agencies; that way, you’ll have other people out there looking for jobs for you.
Sign up for job alerts
Most job boards will offer the option to have new jobs sent directly to your inbox. Alerts let you hear about new jobs as soon as they’re posted, giving you the chance to be one of the first to apply.
Work while you look
Don’t be afraid to take a part-time job while searching for something more in line with your career expectations. Not only will this keep your finances in the black, it looks much better to show continuous employment on your CV: employers may start to wonder if there’s a lot of empty time between graduation and your first role. Working part-time also means your schedule will allow you to keep sending applications and going to interviews.
Word of mouth
Keep your ears open for opportunities, because you never know where you’ll find them. Tell your friends and family what you’re looking for and see whether they know any companies that are hiring.
It’s always a bonus to be recommended for a job, too, and knowing someone at a company you want to work for will give you a boost. You should also not be afraid of approaching companies that you like directly, either by phone or in person. Showing courage will put you in a positive light, and you’ll be demonstrating a genuine interest in the role.
Bigger isn’t always better
Getting a job at a well-known company is great, but it’s also going to be incredibly difficult. Taking aim at smaller companies can improve your chances, especially since there will be a lot less competition for entry-level roles. You’ll also be poised to gain the experience those big companies will be seeking when you’re ready to move on.
Take things laterally
A lot of new graduates fall into the trap of only looking for roles that relate directly to their degree. It’s important to keep your eyes open for opportunities that might be tangentially connected to your field, especially early on.
These kinds of jobs can help you develop the skills you’ll need to get the career you’ve always wanted. And you might even discover something you never thought you’d love.