What next after graduation? How to give yourself the best chance in the job hunt

By J&C Team

Congratulations! Graduation day has finally arrived and all of your hard work has been rewarded with a good university degree. While this is a fantastic achievement, you will also need to think about the next step in your career – and this means preparing for the often feared job-hunting period.

Just like networking, interviewing and CV writing, actually searching for the right role is a skill you must learn, and one which, as a graduate, you may not have had the chance to develop yet. So before you get stuck into the application process, make sure you bear in mind Proceed UK’s top tips:

1.     Why do you want the job? First things first, it is vital that, before you apply for a role, you know why it is the right one for you. The chances are that during the interview process you may be asked this three or four times and if you haven’t worked this out yourself, you will find it even harder to explain to someone else.

2.     Don’t adopt the machine gun approach. One mistake which graduates sometimes make is focusing too much on getting as many applications done as possible and not spending enough time on each one individually. In reality it’s better to do three well thought out applications than to fire off 30 poor ones. Make sure that you tailor every cover letter (and even tweak your CV) for every role you go for. Employers are often bombarded with huge numbers of CVs and if yours looks and sounds generic then you’re unlikely to get a response.

3.     Think outside of the box. Job-boards are of course good places to start but if you widen your search, you will naturally find more opportunities. Going to recruitment fairs for example, or searching on company websites to see if there are any vacancies going, will help you find opportunities that have perhaps slipped under the radar of other graduates. And never underestimate the value of calling a company to see if they have any jobs available – it shows proactivity and allows you are more likely to get a response than via email. Which brings me to point four …

4.     Where possible, speak to a human. Sometimes you will be asked to email all applications to an HR department. However, if possible, it is much better to find out a name that you can address it to.  Or better yet, a phone number you can call. Phone calls give you much more of an opportunity to make an impression on an employer – and even if you then have to send over a CV, at least your name will be fresh in their mind.

5.     Keep going. If you apply for a position and don’t hear anything back, this does not mean that all similar jobs are beyond your reach. Employers are extremely busy, and if they don’t get the time to respond to your application, this is nothing personal. It is important not to be deterred and to keep trying in the knowledge that you are well qualified and you will find the right role. Failure at any stage of the application process will only make you stronger and wiser next time. Good luck!