28 Essential Things Every Unemployed Grad Should Be Doing

Haven't found a graduate job yet? Here are 28 simple things you can do to help you get one: 

Apply to the little guys

We've said it before, but heck, we'll say it again! Large companies have huge marketing budgets that ensure that their opportunities are the most visible to students and grads. But don't forget the little guys - 60% of the working population in the UK are employed by a small or medium sized company. Find out more about why size doesn't matter here.

Send speculative applications

If you just apply to advertised jobs, you could be missing out on a whole host of hidden graduate opportunities. Found a company that you really want to work for but see that they aren't hiring at the moment? Send them a short, punchy, carefully tailored cover letter explaining why you want to work for them, and why they should hire you, along with your CV. Follow up with a phone call or email!

Celebrate small successes

It's easy to feel downtrodden and lose motivation when job hunting so it's important to celebrate any small victories. Whether you got through to the second round of an application or a recruiter complimented you on your CV; every small success means you are one step closer to achieving your goal and getting that grad job.

Use your contacts!

Don't be fooled into thinking that the only way you'll get a job is by applying through jobs boards. If you have any friends or family who are in a sector you want to go into - don't be shy! Speak to them for advice, work experience opportunities or any useful industry contacts they might have.

Start a blog

A blog is something you can start easily, without any budget, and will prove a great addition to your CV. It's a great way to show off both your personality and your written communication skills. Write about something you are interested in, be that films, sports, or current affairs, rather than just a 'dear diary' idea.

Keep an eye on your online rep

Make sure your online presence shows only the most employable (let's say PG) version of you! Graduate employers won't be too impressed to find compromising Facebook photos of you from that crazy Zante '11 'Lads On Tour' holiday... For more pointers, read this.

Take time over your applications

A half-hearted application is worse than no application at all! If you are going to apply for a job, make sure your application is the best it can be. Submit a shoddy application and you won't get the job. Plus, you'll have wasted an hour or so which could have been spent enjoying yourself. Error.

Get more work experience

One of the best ways to perk yourself up during the job hunt is by improving your CV so you feel as if you are making progress. Get work experience so that you are more qualified for the jobs you're applying to.

Get into a routine

Treat the job-hunt like a job in itself. If you have the time, dedicate 8 hours a day to it (preferably 9-5), with one hour for lunch and a couple of breaks during the day. Yes, it does sound strict, but having a rigid structure to your day will keep you focused and productive.

Touch up your CV

Make sure your CV contains the best information, presented in the best way. We've written quite a few blogs about this subject, so you're spoilt for choice! Take a look at our Advice page for lots of tips, tricks and templates!


One of the positives of being unemployed is that you have plenty of time to research the different career paths and companies you are interested in. Spend time figuring out what you really want to do with your life. What skills do you want to use? What type of company do you want to work for? By reflecting on what it is that you really want to do, and why, you can focus your job hunt.

Keep in contact

Make the effort to keep in contact with all your friends, course mates and tutors from uni. Maintaining a wide network of contacts can be really helpful when it comes to looking for work; you never know who might pass an opportunity your way!

Fix up, look sharp

Keep yourself looking good. Rather than staying in your pyjamas all day, get up, have a shower and get dressed; you'll feel more proactive instantly.

Get part time work

If you can find part time work, take it. It doesn't matter what you are doing; having some paid work will not only support you financially while you look for a graduate job, it will keep you in a motivated mindset.

Keep up with current affairs 

Keeping abreast of what's going on in the world is a graduate job seeker essential; you'll often be asked questions about current affairs, either in applications or interviews.

Stay motivated

These motivational songs and quotes should help!

Get organised

The last thing you want to do is find out you've missed the deadline for a job you really wanted. Keep yourself on top of things by using our job-hunting calendar.

Speak to your references

You're going to need references on the route to graduate employment. Check that they don't mind being contacted first before you go giving out their number to every graduate employer you come across!

Enjoy your time off

Rather than panicking and giving in to the great graduate fear, try to enjoy your time off. You will find employment. (If you are doing everything on this list it's only a matter of time!) Once you're settled into your 9-5 you'll be very jealous of your pyjama wearing, day-time TV watching self - trust me!

Keep up your hobbies

Dedicate a few hours each week to doing things that you love.

Take up a new hobby

Learning new skills or taking up a new hobby, whether it's something which will directly help your career, or something completely unrelated, will boost your motivation levels.

Get on LinkedIn

Read this

Keep your brain stimulated

Keep your brain razor sharp by doing puzzles or reading regularly, so that when it comes to applications and interviews you are on fine form.

Be sociable

The grad job hunt can be a bit isolating. It's easy to while away the days huddled over a computer. Make sure you grant yourself some spare time to interact with the outside world; it'll help put everything in perspective.

Don’t compare yourself to others

There is no benefit from comparing yourself to others. Maybe your friend has a £30,000 job with one of the 'big four' and maybe another friend is doing a Phd. Don't let it stress you out! Concentrate on where you want to be and what you want to do, not what others are doing.

Seek feedback 

If you've applied for several jobs, and aren't getting anywhere, you need to find out what you are doing wrong. While there is no guarantee that recruiters will give you feedback, there is certainly no harm in asking! Here's how it's done.

Be contactable

Keep your phone with you, and check your emails regularly. That way, if an employer is trying to get in touch with you, you can reply quickly and make the most of any opportunities that come your way.

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Sure, this is a bit of a shameless plug on our behalf. Of course this had to be in here somewhere didn't it! Registering with GradTouch means you get access to the latest jobs, internships and advice, straight to your inbox. Sign up here.


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