Jobs & Careers

11 tips to help you find the perfect graduate job

It's a tough old job market out there, but that doesn't mean kick ass graduates can't find the position they deserve. We're here to help!
graduate job huntingAlright, we're not going to lie to you – finding a graduate job can be tough. However, with government figures showing graduate unemployment levels are now at their lowest in a decade, it seems the situation is slowly improving – but it's not all rosey!

There's still a huge amount of competition out there, which means employers can afford to massively tailor their employee requirements making it more difficult for you to fit the bill.

The right job is out there waiting for you, and we've compiled some tips to help you get there!

Did you know that going travelling could actually help you land your dream job? Here's why it can make you more employable!

Top tips for finding a job

  1. Professionalise your online profiles

    We can't stress how important this point is – the first thing you should be doing before you even think about reaching out to potential employers is making sure your online presence is…err, presentable.

    Almost any employer who is considering inviting you in for an interview will search for you online before they do so – and it's important you own those search results.

    In fact, we think this point is so incredibly important that we've written a who guide on making yourself look more professional online. Make sure you've nailed this before moving forward!

  2. Upload your CV to job sites

    resumeIt's not only job seekers who use job sites, but employers and recruiters often search them when looking for potential new employees, too.

    There's a chance that a future employer could come across your CV on a job site and realise you're precisely the candidate they're looking for, so don't miss out on this opportunity!

    Creating a profile and uploading your CV will probably take around 15-30 minutes, but it's worth it.

    Goes without saying, but you should also be uploading your CV to your LinkedIn profile too – you wouldn't believe how many employers use LinkedIn to snoop on potential candidates!

We have a complete guide to using LinkedIn to nail that dream job – check it out here.
  1. Speak to recruiters

    jobThere are thousands of recruitment agencies all over the UK, and many of them specialise in graduate recruitment. These agencies are paid commission for filling a company's vacancy, meaning they're great to have on your side as they want to get you a job almost as much as you do!

    Whilst there are pros to using a recruitment agency to land your first job, there are definitely a few cons to mention too. Our guide to using recruitment agencies will fill you in on everything you need to know to get the most out of their services.

  2. Tailor every application

    Most jobs will require you to submit a covering letter and tailored CV when you apply. It might be tempting to just dish out the same documents to each job, but please never do this.

    It might seem like a total headache to tailor every application you send out, but if you don't, you might as well be submitting your docs to the bin.

    It's not just about telling potential employers all about you, but it's also just as important to tell them why you are perfect for this specific role at this particular company. The key to getting called for an interview is to tailor your cover letter and CV to the job in hand, so study that job spec long and hard!

    This doesn't mean you have to create an entirely new CV each time, however. Save your previous efforts, with a file name that makes clear which role the CV fits and you can alter the information to suit each specific role.

  3. Use your connections

    doiknowyouSometimes, it's not about what you know, but who you know. Whether it's fair or not is another questions, but thousands of job vacancies are filled each year through word of mouth alone.

    If you know someone who works for a company you're interested in, get them to recommend you; if you know someone who works in an industry you're interested in, ask them to put you in touch with the right person.

    Many companies now offer a bonus to employees if they put someone forward for a position and they are recruited, so you could even earn someone a little extra cash.

    Don't have the connections you need?

    That doesn't mean you can't get to know them before you apply!

    Do some research into companies you'd potentially like to work for and create a list of the relevant contacts by searching on LinkedIn. You can then reach out to them personally by email to enquire about vacancies.

    Social media is a great way to connect with important people, so do your research into who's who and reach out – remember to read our guide to getting this bit right before you do though.

We have a whole list of smarter ways to look for a job that you've probably never thought of – check them out here!
  1. Make yourself more employable

    how to be more employableEasier said than done, right? This might sound like the most annoying tip ever, but it's way more actionable than you think.

    As the number of people graduating with a first class degree is higher than it's ever been in the UK, it's not all just about getting a top uni grade anymore.

    Finding new ways to make yourself more employable is just as important, like volunteering, doing some work experience or getting a free online qualification in something unrelated you your degree.

    Starting your own blog or website is also a great way to show you're a self-starter, and can even contribute to offering a broader picture of who you are to potential employers.

  2. Research the companies you're interested in

    Topic ResearchThe way to really blow a potential employer away is by showing them you have an interest in the company. Whether it's for an application or when you're through to the interview stage, knowing your stuff is sure to impress.

    Not only this, but after spending a good hour or so reading up on a company, the work they do and the role you're applying for, we can guarantee that your covering letter will be much easier to tailor – and is way more likely to impress.

    If you do make it to the next stage, here are a few great interview prep tips for you, and a list of some of the most commonly-asked interview questionsf or you to practice with.

  3. Make sure the job is right for you

    perfectmatchGood graduate jobs can feel like slim pickings at times, so you might be tempted to apply or as many opportunities as you can find just because they say 'graduate' in the spec – even if you're not remotely interested in the job.

    This is never a good idea – remember you spend around 80% of your life at work, so signing yourself up to something you know you won't enjoy is just asking to be miserable.

    That's not to say you shouldn't be open to something new and totally unrelated to your degree, however! Just make sure it's something you can see yourself doing – and even actually enjoying.

  4. Don't forget the little guys

    sillicone valleyOkay, just to clarify – we're not talking about the Borrowers here. We're talking about the often-overlooked option of focussing your job search on smaller startup companies, rather than large companies big enough to fund graduate schemes.

    Whilst it's fantastic if you do land yourself a great grad scheme at Deloitte or start working for Tesco Bank, often the competition for entry level jobs at smaller companies is lower because it's not the first option graduates think of.

    The experience you can get working hands-on in a startup environment is also incredibly invaluable, and you could even find yourself with way more responsibility than you would do at a larger company. In turn, you could find yourself leapfrogging into a more senior position much earlier on in your career than you expected!

  5. Broaden your horizons

    biggerhorizonOkay, so we know we just said that you shouldn't take a job unless it's a right fit for you (and we still stand by that), but it is worth assessing what it is you're actually looking for in the first place.

    If you're not overly fussed about relocating, perhaps consider broadening your job search to the whole of the UK instead of just those in your patch.

    It's also worth thinking about whether there are jobs you could be interested in trying that might not be directly related to your degree. It's really common for graduates to end up in roles that are nothing like what they expected they'd be doing when they started uni, but this is all part of the excitement!

    To get you thinking, here's 8 awesome and well-paid careers you can get into with any degree at all.

  6. Stay motivated!

    doallthethinsgIf you find yourself slowing down and watching recordings of the Hollyoaks omnibus in the middle of the day, this is a sign you're losing the will to hunt. But don't give up!

    As annoying as this is, job hunting takes time, and you need to keep yourself occupied with relevant activities to keep you motivated.

    Set yourself a a target of a few hours and a certain number of applications each day to stay focussed – that way, once you've reached your target, you can relax knowing you're achieving progress.

    If this sounds like something you'd struggle with, check out our guide to productivity to find out how to get more done in less time!

If you think we've missed a trick, give us a shout in the comments below or get in touch with us directly.

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