The process of securing your first graduate role can seem like an unfair task to complete when you’ve just completed 3 years of mission impossible (congratulations BTW!). Especially when paired with a global pandemic. Oh, and a recession. All at the same damn time. However, there’s no need to panic, as there are still plenty of recruiters and employers looking for someone just like you.
You may need to take a look at your current approach and work out how you can be more effective in your job search, and boost your chances at securing a suitable role. Let’s unpack this.
Refine your search
A common mistake job seekers make is applying to any and every role as a result of panic, rather than increasing your odds of finding a role you’d enjoy by setting aside more time to apply for roles better suited to you.
Before you can go out and rush to apply for just any job, you need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- What exactly are you looking for in your future career?
- What do you want to gain from the job you’re applying for?
- How will this job allow you to prepare for your dream role?
- What can you offer the employer that other applicants can’t?
- How can you prove to the employer that you are the best person for this role?
- Do you need to build up a bit more work experience before you can start this role?
- Have you considered making slight changes to your search to adhere to the “new normal”/post-COVID workplace?
If you can’t answer any of the above confidently, you’ll need to sit down and re-evaluate your short term career goals to fully prepare you for your search, and allow you to refine your search to exactly where you need to be.
Ask for feedback
If you’re getting to the interview stage, and constantly being rejected after speaking with the employers, we would highly recommend getting feedback from your recruiter. Don’t be afraid to ask about your interview performance, and how they decided on their final choice.
One of the best features of uni is the careers service. Share your search issues and interview feedback with your uni’s careers team to receive tips on how to improve. You can even ask them to do practice interviews! Don’t feel embarrassed, as you’re not the only one in your position, and they’re more than happy to help you.
The best thing about most university careers services is that most teams continue to support alumni post-graduation. They may not currently be physically available, so check your university website to see if they’re doing virtual consultations.
Build your work experience
Aside from your degree, most jobs nowadays also require you to actively work on your skillset. You don’t have to have formal experience, as most graduate and entry level roles will teach you as you work, however employers want to know that you have the skillset required to grow as you work.
To find out which skills you’ll need for the role, have a look at the job advert and adverts for similar roles. Create a shortlist of must-have skills for the role, and beside each describe times you have demonstrated evidence of the having abilities.
If you still need to brush up on your skills, you can gain work experience in the form of work shadowing, casual part-time work, or volunteering.
Whichever you do, keep in mind that you are creating opportunities to show off the skills that you want to develop in your career. If you want to boast about a certain skill, go out of your way to do these skills, even if they are not a part of your regular day-to-day tasks. Small things like making suggestions for improvement to processes show off your innovative and forward-thinking mindset.
Keep notes on your ideas, how you executed them and what the outcome was. This will help to develop your ability to sell yourself.
Set up email job alerts
If you haven’t done so already, register with leading job boards (or check out Frshly Squeezd every Monday) to set up email alerts for jobs that meet your criteria, read tips on applying to different types of employers and advice on applications and interviews.
Getting rejected from job applications is never easy, but it’s a regular part of working that you’ll soon get used to. Take time out to re-evaluate your goals, align yourself to them, and be kinder to yourself – you should be so proud, and you’ll eventually get your dream graduate role.