How to find a graduate job

By Rachel measures, masters in PR.

It’s that time. You’ve left university and now you have to get an actual full time adult job… eek. I’m in exactly that position myself with my masters finishing soon and my current job on a temporary contract. It’s slightly scary but here are a few tips to try and break down the process.

Apply, apply and apply again

It may seem super obvious but a job is not going to be handed to you on the way out of graduation. Ensure that you take your time to search for jobs and write your applications. Sometimes people get a job straight away – they apply for a job, get an interview and boom, get employed. But do not be disheartened if this doesn’t happen straight away for you. It sometimes takes a few applications for one to come back with an interview. Just keep sending applications until you get a job offer. Persevere and be determined – it will happen.

Get some work experience

Not only does getting work experience help you build your CV and skills which will help you have more to put on your applications and more to say in your interviews. Sometimes it can also be the key to getting your foot in the door of a company.

I did work experience at a theatre during the summer between my second and third year. I worked one morning a week and I stopped when the semester started again. By Christmas, a new paid position came up in their office and they contacted me first to offer me the job, no application necessary.

This opportunity would never have happened for me if I hadn’t put aside time for work experience.

Visit the careers team

Careers Connect at the university is here to help you for up to five years after you finish your course. If you are struggling to find a job, it may be worth going to them for some advice or maybe to practise your application and interviewing skills.

I once booked an appointment with a careers adviser to go through an application I had written for a job I really wanted. It was an hour long session, and I left with some really good advice which made my application read that bit better.

Have a job to find a job

This tip might seem a bit confusing, as the reason you are looking for a job is probably because you do not have one, however, my mum always reminds me that it easier to get a job once you already have one and its simply because it looks better to employers.

If you already have a part-time job at university: For instance, you work part-time at a coffee shop or in an office, but you’re applying for a job relevant to your course. Having a job shows that you are determined, willing to work, and have a range of transferable skills and therefore employers will favour your application.

If you don’t have a job and you’re aiming for a job related to your field: Sometimes getting a job related to your field, your course, or your dream profession straight after university can be difficult. A few of my friends left third year and didn’t have a job for a little while. Sometimes the reality of life after university is that it takes time.

But this is not a reason to be disheartened. You will find those jobs that you want, but while you’re applying for ‘the job’, it can be worth applying for other jobs in the meantime such as a retail, restaurant or bar jobs (especially in summer when the movement of students opens up extra opportunities). Doing this allows you to show future employers that you’re a hard worker while ensuring that you’re earning while you’re still looking for that career-focused job.

For example, one of my friends wanted to be a journalist but was struggling to get through the interview stage for jobs. She decided to apply for a retail job in her local OneStop which gave her something to do and earnt her some money while she continued to apply for other journalist jobs and go for interviews. She then managed to get a job offer for a role in London and a month later moved and all was sorted.