Waiting for those final essay marks was painful enough. But waiting for some good news during the hunt for a graduate job is a whole other level of painful at times.
With that being the case, here are a few tips to help keep you motivated - not to mention sane - in this turbulent time.
1. Remember that patience is a virtue.
Job searching is something that can often be a lengthy process. These things take time. You need to keep sending off those applications no matter how tedious it may seem. Being proactive is essential and the role you are seeking will eventually find its way to you.
2. Don’t be put off by rejection.
Easier said than done, I know, especially when some employers don't even bother getting back to you to tell you haven't been successful. However, don’t let this make you fall off track. Just remember, there are plenty of jobs out there, you just have to keep going.
3. Where possible, ask for feedback.
This can help you move forward in your job search, particularly after interviews as the insight from employers will allow you to see what areas need to be worked on.
4. Send out speculative applications.
Found an employer you like? Or are you interested in a particular industry but can’t seem to find the ideal role for you? Send off your CV and covering letter anyway, outlining your skills and the type of role you’re looking for. You could also give them a call or visit their office, as doing so shows your interest and demonstrates how proactive you are.
Even if nothing comes of it immediately, the company is sure to keep your details on file and contact you when something does come up.
5. Don’t undersell yourself.
You went to university to improve your prospects for your future, and along the way you will have acquired all kinds of transferable skills. These skills can be utilised in more than one industry so don’t feel the need to keep your options restricted. Companies will often employ individuals who perhaps studied a degree outside of their industry, as this helps to create a more diverse workplace.
6. Aim high.
Although it will help to at least have some experience under your belt, don’t be afraid to apply for a job you like but that seems a little out of reach. You have nothing to lose. Even if it means starting at the bottom, hit that send button and see what happens.
7. Remind yourself that consistency is key.
There’s no denying that sticking to a habit takes time and effort, and job searching is no exception. Keep regularly checking online job sites and the websites of employers you are interested in. Follow their social media sites and contact recruiters. You never know where or when your ideal job will crop up.
8. Try to stand out from the crowd.
When filling out job applications and attending interviews, remember to let your personality shine through. Employers want to see the real you. So smile, be confident and show them why you’re unique.
9. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.
When it comes to preparing for interviews, it is absolutely essential that you do your research. Look up information about the company you are applying for, practice common interview questions and ensure you have plenty of examples to give when asked questions.
10. Consider temporary positions, internships and work experience.
If you have passion for an industry but no experience, then this is definitely something to think about. Some internships or work experience may be unpaid, but the experience you will gain will be invaluable.
11. Keep your options open.
Don’t just apply for a certain job title or industry. The skills you have picked up throughout university as well as through any employment experience will prove to be transferable to all kinds of careers. Applying for multiple roles across different industries increases your chances of getting a new job and progressing your career.
12. Tailor your CV and covering letter to each employer or position.
Don’t just send out generic CVs and covering letters to employers, as they will often be ignored. Show the effort you have put into your application and the interviews will begin to roll in.
13. When it comes to interviews, dress to impress.
Always dress smartly and if possible try to get an idea of the dress code of the company you are applying for. This will show the interviewer that you’ve made an effort. Perhaps leave the Tuxedo at home though!
14. Show your commitment to personal development.
Always show your desire to progress within a business when writing covering letters and attending interviews. Do this by showing how you want to build upon your skills and experiences, and if it suits your requirements, show your interest in progressing within the hierarchy of the business.
15. Set up a LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is essentially a professional social media network, where you can set up your own online CV and connect with employers. You can also show your interest in a company by following their LinkedIn page. This is not a place to share your personal life, so keep the drunken selfies at bay!
16. Utilise your university’s careers service.
Your university careers centre is there for a reason. They will offer you advice, help out with sprucing up your CV and assist with applications. You can often use their help up to three years after graduating, so make full use of this- particularly if you need a kickstart in getting your job search into full throttle.
17. It’s cliché, but follow your dreams.
You’ve graduated and know exactly what you’re looking for. Do whatever it takes to achieve your dream job, this might mean working your way up from the bottom, or perhaps working in a different industry for a while. But being proactive, consistent and positive about your future will eventually be worthwhile in the long run.
18. Give yourself a break every now and then.
Job-hunting can be tedious and tiring. Don’t forget to use this time off from university to enjoy yourself, as well as to apply for graduate jobs. Take the pressure off yourself and find the right balance between making the most of the present and looking out for the future.
19. And don’t worry if you’re not completely sure what to do yet.
You are certainly not alone if you’ve graduated and still don’t know what to do with your life. Just stay consistent, positive and use your experience from past interviews and positions to recognise where you can improve or where you want to go.