If you’re currently looking for a grad job, the New Year is a great time to review how you’re going about it.
A lot has changed in the last year-and-a-bit, and while it can feel overwhelming at times, it's important to keep an eye out for your next big opportunity. Here are 5 tips to help you be a better job hunter this year.
1. Vow never to send out a generic CV or cover letter again.
Three well thought-out applications that you spent time on and thoroughly researched are far better than six applications you threw together in the same amount of time. It can feel like the more CVs you have out there with hiring managers, the greater your chances of success – but if you’re not putting everything you have into each application and really conveying to the company why you want to work there specifically, you’re going to be selling yourself short.
2. Set yourself daily goals.
It's important to set and stick to goals when job hunting. Without them, your days can feel very open-ended and as though there’s no obvious place to start looking. If you set yourself a clear agenda each day, you can be more strategic and effective in your search. Plus, being able to tick off things you accomplished each day provides regular motivation boosts.
3. Focus on making social media work for you, not against you.
It’s easy to click away from an online application form for a quick break and find, hours later, you automatically opened Facebook and are still sifting through your uni friend’s travelling photos. We’ve all been there. But try to use some of this social media time effectively by signing up for LinkedIn and building a network, as well as following people and making useful contacts via Twitter. It’ll be better for your career and for your mood than stalking past acquaintances and wondering why you didn’t save up for that post-uni gap year.
4. Avoid CV gaps by keeping busy.
Look into getting a part-time retail job, volunteering, or, if applicable to your desired career, putting a portfolio of your work online to get some freelance opportunities while you look for a grad job. Gaps in your CV can set off alarm bells with potential employers and it really helps at interview to be able to talk about what you’re doing at the moment beyond job hunting. By developing your interests, hobbies, skills or giving something back to the community, you’ll be a much more interesting candidate than someone who’s spent the past few months exclusively looking at job boards. You can make an easy start to this now by picking up a non-fiction book relevant to the industry you want to work in: it will hopefully inspire you with ideas to bring to interviews and may even re-shape or refine your career aspirations.
5. Challenge yourself to be braver.
You could try asking for feedback if you don’t get a job you’re really interested in: a simple email thanking the hiring manager for their time and politely asking why you weren’t successful takes guts, but is likely to be beneficial to you going forward. You never know, there might be an easily corrected flaw in your CV or interview technique you wouldn’t otherwise have noticed.
Push yourself to never leave another interview without asking the interviewer some questions - here's a link to some good questions that will get you noticed. It can feel awkward, but it shows you’re really interested in the company and engaging with the hiring manager you just met. Also, if you don't ever hear back about an application - call the hiring manager. Chasing up every application is not something all candidates do, so is a quick way to stand out and potentially get some critical feedback.
And finally, if you’ve ever looked at a job listing and thought, “I would absolutely love to do that, I would be so capable of doing that,” and chosen not to apply because you didn’t have all the experience necessary, make 2017 the year you give it a shot anyway. If you can convey in your cover letter and at interview that you have a lot of passion to work hard at the job, you just might land it regardless.