Is the search for a graduate job wearing you down?
Securing a graduate job is a stressful process at the best of times, but with the current job market being so uncertain and the competition for roles tough, it can feel like a losing battle.
If you've been left feeling deflated about the lack of roles out there or had your confidence knocked after rejection from employers, here's some advice for keeping up the momentum and staying positive during your graduate job hunt.
1. Consider what's not working in your job search
Of course some roles just don't work out, but if you're continually being rejected for jobs you know you're capable of doing, take a moment to ask yourself why. When you're bogged down in the job hunt it's easy to shoot off the same CV or apply the same interview technique for every job without honestly assessing whether it's actually any good.
- Have you read the job description for each role thoroughly and tailored your CV to suit the requirements? (for tips on tailoring your CV, check out this free eBook)
- Do you take the time to create a bespoke cover letter for each role?
- Are you providing examples of where and how you've gained your skills and experience?
- Do you actually have the right skill-set for the jobs you're applying for?
- Do you come prepared to an interview with knowledge of the company, its people and the role you're applying for?
- Are you making sure to ask questions that show you're genuinely interested in the role?
You've probably heard it before, but the quality of your applications is much more important than the quantity. Sending out mediocre CVs or attending interviews unprepared will only waste your time.
2. Be open minded about the opportunities available to you
Don't write off opportunities because they're not what you visioned yourself doing or aren't your dream job. Some industries won't bounce back from the pandemic as fast as others so you might have to be adaptable and open-minded in your search. If that means picking up some part-time work that pays the bills whilst you look for your next opportunity, or taking on volunteer roles or internships, that's ok. Remember that you'll gain valuable skills in every new role, and this experience will put you in an even better position for when you do secure your dream job.
3. Use your initiative
Don't wait around for roles you come to you, seek them out. Is a company you're interested in not hiring graduates at the moment? Send over a speculative CV or message them on LinkedIn to show your interest. Have you shortly missed the deadline for a grad job you like the sound of? Find the hiring manager's email address and send them your CV and cover letter directly. There's no such thing as being too keen - do everything you can to stand out to employers and get yourself noticed.
Remember to utilise all the tools available to you too. Job boards like GradTouch, LinkedIn, university careers services, Instagram, Twitter, you name it - these are all place you can find new jobs.
4. Don't be so hard on yourself
This is one of the hardest times in history to find a graduate job, so give yourself a break. The job search is likely going to take longer for you than it has for graduates in the past and these circumstances are out of your control. What you can control, is your outlook.
Stay hopeful and positive (you won't be unemployed forever, even if it feels like you will) and if it all gets too much, don't feel bad for taking a step back. Having a day off to prioritise your mental health is a good way to gain some perspective - the jobs will still be there in the morning.
5. Don't let rejection halt your search
Let's get this over with...you will be rejected. But take comfort in knowing that everyone's been rejected at some point and there are plenty of candidates in the same boat as you. The graduate job market is very competitive at the moment and employers will have no choice but to reject very talented candidates. So if rejection does comes your way, try to remember that it doesn't necessarily reflect on you and remind yourself of all your skills and accomplishments.
What's important is that you don't fall into the mindset of thinking there's no point in putting the effort into more applications because you'll only get rejected again. With a negative attitude, you probably will.