The vast array of possibilities on offer is what, understandably, confuses many as they start to think seriously about how to find a graduate job. It is very important, from the outset, that you provide yourself with the necessary information to cut through that confusion to give yourself a clearer route through knowing what type of work you are looking for and how to find appropriate vacancies.
Where to start
Any job search runs the risk of being pointless if you haven't first identified what you have to offer to a job in terms of your graduate skills and abilities. You'll also need to consider what you want from a job in terms of the types of activity you want to engage in, the level of financial reward you are seeking, the sorts of people you want to work with etc. This understanding of your own needs is a vital starting to anyone's job hunt. If you neglect to do it, it is likely that applications and interviews will find you out as you will struggle to show an employer what it is you have to offer. You will also not be clear on which types of job you shoud be applying for and why. Time spent understanding yourself and matching your own needs to the requirements of particular jobs will always be time well spent.
Investigating your options
Once you have a clearer idea about what you have to offer a job and what you want from a job, you are likely to make more sense of your research into what different jobs involve and their likely suitability for you. In your research always try to get behind the stereotypical image of any job and try not to be swayed by what others may think - remember this is your job and you are investigating its potential for you, not anyone else. It is also important to have some understanding of the current labour market. Much greater numbers of graduates enter the workforce than used to be the case - this has inevitability brought chance to the 'graduate job' with graduates now entering a wider variety of jobs than ever before. Very few people now have a job for life so it is important you take responsibility for your own career. Graduate now are expected to be much more self reliant, capable of handling change and use their own initiative in their jobs. More employers now seek to fill specific posts rather than recruit onto training schemes and SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises who employ up to 250 employees) are employing increasing numbers of graduates.
Graduate recruitment agencies or consultancies offer services for applicants to find them both temporary and permanent work. They work with clients to understand their needs within the employer that they are searching for and suggest possible job openings appropriate for them. Recruitment consultancies can offer additional help with applying for jobs, preparing for interviews and feedback for improvement. They can be a huge advantage on time saving and stress saving for a graduate looking for a job.
Job boards are websites that companies specifically station open positions on. They are devices that allow an employer to undertake employees directly. A majority of job boards include details such as the name of the employer, an application deadline date, qualifications required and a method for application. Both Government job boards and Private job boards are available and so they provide a widespread range of graduate opportunities.
Graduate careers fairs are often located on university campuses. They are an event which permits employers and recruiters to present information to potential employees. Careers fairs are an excellent way of talking to professionals with any possible questions and allowing a graduate to increase knowledge of companies and jobs that are available to them. Often there are two or three careers fair events at a university a year - the careers service can assist in obtaining when and where they are.
Career services are available through universities and are often who organise career fairs on campus to employ students who are about to graduate. Visiting the Careers services is beneficial to finding a graduate job through providing key dates for recruitment events, assisting in the creation of a graduate CV or cover letter, and they can also hold recommendation letters provided by a faculty to be passed on to employers.
Networking is the creation of connections in the corporal world. These contacts are usually maintained through mutual benefit and consistent communication. The benefits of networking to find graduate jobs are great for climbing the modern competitive business world. However it is a task that does require commitment and perseverance.
Approaching companies directly
Approaching companies directly is a beneficial way of searching for a graduate job. It requires a lot of personal research and therefore is time consuming to the individual. However it is an exceptional way of showing employers maturity and skill.
Making and using contacts
Most students and graduates start by using both their careers service and the Internet due to the wealth of information on companies and organisations available. The human resources department of any organisation is a good contact point.
Dealing with job offers
When your job hunting results in one or more jobs, be aware that this, although good news, can sometimes bring with it some difficult decisions. If you are offered a job be sure that it is what you want before you accept. A formal offer of employment will be in writing and will outline the terms and conditions. If you feel anything is unclear refer back to the employer and ensure you clairfy all the information you need to make a decision. Don't commit yourself too early or rush anything. It is possible to ask for more time to consider an offer. As long as you keep employers informed they are usually prepared to be reasonable.
How not to find a graduate job
- Lack of self-assessment, not having worked out what you have to offer
- Limiting your search to highly competitive occupations or prestigious employers
- Limiting yourself too narrowly to one georgraphical area
- Going for too wide a range of jobs
- Poor application and interview technique (invariably the result of poor preparation)
- Unrealistic expectations
Keep you job hunting strategies under review. Good luck with your search!
Successful Job Hunting
In the minefield that is the graduate job market, there are those who land a job right away and those who struggle through the process of finding one for a long time. 'Luck' is usually the response we hear from disenfranchised job seekers when they find out that their friend was offered a position after only a two-week search. With many graduate job seekers vying for only a few open positions, the truth is that 'luck' rarely has anything to do with it.
Realising that their job search campaign doesn't have to be a never-ending struggle, successful job seekers approach the process with patience and persistence. If you want to be among the highly successful job seekers follow the six steps outlined below.
1. Search with purpose
Instead of trying to fit into a mould set by an employer, target organisations that match your goals and career values; doing this will allows you to focus your energy into searching for a position that is a natural fit.
After all, you don't want to find yourself embarking on another search within a year's time because you made a decision in haste.
2. Always be prepared
Be ready for your day's activities. Opportunities rarely land on your lap and you have to be prepared for the surprises that may come up during the day. You don't want to be caught sleeping when someone calls to discuss an employment opportunity.
Waiting around before you begin aggressively looking for a position can be a costly mistake. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you are running low on resources and desperation is about to set in. This is when mistakes are made and your job search may begin to suffer.
3. Develop a job search plan
Organise your job search, map out a strategy, set priorities, and establish goals. Begin your search with a clear focus and a plan. Participate in a number of activities including responding to adverts in newspapers, posting your CV on the internet, and going on informational interviews.
4. Write follow-up letter/email
Well-written follow up letters can make a difference as to whether you get hired. A follow-up letter is more than a simple note thanking the interviewer for his or her time. It should be a sophisticated letter that either re-affirms your interest in the position, serves as an opportunity to mention an important point you neglected to bring up, and/or provides an opportunity to offer new insight on a topic that was discussed during the interview.
5. Network and avoid negative job seekers
Job clubs are a great way to generate ideas and for networking purposes. However, some are also a breeding ground for negativity. These support groups can inadvertently affect your job search. Take inventory of the job seekers in attendance. Do they offer words of encouragement? Are they supportive of your efforts, or do they feed into your insecurities?
If after such meetings you feel emotionally drained and start to believe your chances of landing a job are bleak, then it's time to search for new groups to network with!
6. Be good to yourself
There are two types of job seekers. One, that has a laid back approach, and the other that always feels "there aren't enough hours in the day" and compulsively searches for a job without taking a breather.
Following in the footsteps of the latter is the fastest way to reaching burn out and when careless mistakes are often made. Though your job search should be your primary activity, don't allow it to consume your every waking moment.
Every so often take a break; spend time with people who support you, listen to music and participate in activities you enjoy. Clearing your mind replenishes your energy and will allow you to continue searching for a job with a fresh outlook.