It’s that time of year again – exam time. And if you’re about to do your finals and graduation is beckoning it can be a pretty scary time too. The thought of leaving the comfort zone that was your college or university can be a daunting one. With the media still filled with doom and gloom stories of a bleak economy and a challenging jobs market, it’s easy to see why some graduate jobseekers may feel negative before they’ve even started. However, like with everything else that you do in life, a job search can be made a little easier, provided you get the basics right. Here are some basic Jobseeking Tips for new Graduates that should help.
You may have worked harder than ever before for your degree and quite rightly you will almost certainly have high hopes about what it will do for you and your career. The thing is however that we all have to start somewhere. Having a degree does not automatically mean that you are suitable for the higher level jobs or that you should simply dismiss some entry level roles out of hand. When applying for a job, compare your skills, qualifications and experience to the criteria outlined by the employer. If it is essential that you have 5 years’ people management or project management experience and you don’t have this, you’re very unlikely to be shortlisted. Be realistic when applying for roles and your chances of getting interviews and ultimately getting hired will be much greater too.
Size doesn’t matter
Many graduates make the mistake of only applying to the large organisations – the corporations, the big names as it were. There are however lots of other organisations where they not only should apply but where the experience that they gain could be so much more worthwhile. Consider applying to SMEs and startups as well as the big guys. Many smaller organisations will be able to provide training and experience that it may take years to acquire in a larger company. You may get the opportunity to try out working in various departments in a variety of functions and thereby greatly strengthen your experience and ultimately enhance your employability.
Tailor your CV
You may have spent time in the last year getting your CV just right and plan to send it out to all and sundry in the hope of getting a job. Employers however don’t want to see a generic CV that has effectively been ‘mass-produced’. Instead they want to see a CV that looks like it has been sent to just them. Always tailor your CV to suit the job you have applied for. Consider what criteria the employer is looking for and then highlight in your CV how you match that. Also, don’t simply send a generic cover letter – tailor and customise it too. This might seem like a minor or irrelevant detail, however it’s not – it can have a real impact on your job search success.
Never underestimate the importance of networking. During your time at college or university, you will have no doubt connected and engaged with the same group of people pretty much. Now when you are jobseeking, it’s essential to widen your horizons a little. Start connecting with people who can influence or enhance your job search – that might mean attending networking events organised by your local Chamber of Commerce or joining professional social networks like LinkedIn. Whichever you decide to do, your aim should be to link up and interact with people who are relevant and could be influential for your jobseeking activities.
Just because the days of assignments and projects are over, it doesn’t mean that time spent doing research stops. It just changes somewhat. Every jobseeker, graduate or not, should spend some time undertaking research before they ever start jobseeking properly. Create a proper jobseeking strategy, research what companies are recruiting in your sector and in your town or city. Identify what types of roles they are recruiting for and how they generally recruit. Spend some time researching the methods you will use to find a job – from networking to using a jobs board. The effort that you put in at this point will certainly pay off in the long run.
If graduation is just around the corner, we hope that these tips serve you well. Got any others that you’d like to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.