TO ALL UNIVERSITY GRADUATES OUT THERE:
DON’T MISS THESE TIPS FOR A GOOD CAREER START

Six tips for your first career steps

As a fresh graduate looking for your first job, you are likely to follow all the usual academic job search advice. However, there are a few other valuable tips you may have missed so far. Which ones? Just read on.

Common tips include updating your CV, talking to a career advisor, shaping your online profiles in career networks and searching job portals for suitable positions. However, you may not have read the following advice yet. These tips can play a significant role in finding your first job as a university graduate – a job that could prove to be a stepping stone for your career.

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  2. 1. Don’t limit your search too much

    At the moment, you may be doing what many other graduates do in your position – focusing your job search on roles which clearly reflect your degree course or previous work experience; because you think these are most relevant to you and your skills.

    The truth is, you don’t need to be pigeon holed by your degree. For instance, just because you have a degree in psychology, that doesn’t mean you should apply only for psychology jobs. You could instead consider roles where elements of this degree could be useful, for instance human resources or teaching. In actual fact, you most likely have a wider range of hidden skills, which deem you suitable for roles you hadn’t considered before.

    So, think about positive feedback you were given at school, university, in part time jobs, and even by your friends. Take online aptitude tests to help reveal your best qualities. Write down what you believe your key strengths to be, add these to your CV, and use these as key words when you search on job sites, as well as when you speak to your career advisor or recruiter.

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  4. 2. Also consider temporary positions

    Temporary employment is currently developing into a "new normality". It offers numerous advantages for university graduates:

    • You obtain useful experiences for your CV: Thanks to the short-term nature of temp roles, you will have clear objectives which will need to be met over a short period of time. Meet these objectives, and you have some quick wins to add to your CV, whilst developing your own skill-set.
    • You discover your professional passions: By temping, you can get a feel for what you do and don’t like doing, steering you closer towards what you want from a permanent role.
    • You build your professional network: If you make the most of your temp assignment, you can expand your network, forming long lasting, valuable connections.
    • You strengthen your self-confidence: A temporary assignment will get you out of your comfort zone and each success will lift your confidence.

    In short, don’t consider only permanent roles. Open up your mind to temp work – as this can really kick start a graduate’s career. Temp roles can help equip you for the world of work, providing you with some valuable experience, skills and connections, all of which will set you apart from the competition.

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  6. 3. Don't limit yourself to renowned companies only

    Big brand names can look great on a CV, and many will offer brilliant entry level graduate positions. Don’t, however, dismiss smaller, lesser known companies when job searching.

    Companies which are smaller in size are often less bureaucratic. Here, you can often act more independently than you can at larger companies and have more opportunities to develop within your position. By starting your career in a smaller business, you will also have more accessibility to senior management, giving you the opportunity to build some key relationships which may work in your favour later down the line.
    In short, working for a smaller business can really give your career the boost it needs during its infancy. So, don’t just focus your graduate job search on big brands.

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  8. 4. Take full advantage of all possibilities

    Of course, as a graduate job seeker, you will be spending a large portion of your day looking and applying for jobs, but there are also other things you should be doing to help you find the right graduate job fast:

    • Improve your qualifications: As a recent graduate who has spent several years in university, your CV may be lacking in professional expertise. As much as many hiring managers will understand this, there’s no harm in giving yourself a competitive edge by taking the initiative to increase your skill-set. Apply for internships, volunteer at charities, take some online courses, or start your own blog. Whatever you choose to take on, make sure you are constantly finding ways to add value to your CV.
    • Develop your professional relations: Meeting with a recruiter is a great way to build your network. However, you should also use your online professional profiles to reach out to others; from getting involved in industry discussions, to sharing news and blogs with your network. You should also attend relevant networking events and seminars to get some more face-to-face interaction with potential connections. If you can, get hold of the attendee list ahead of the event, and ask the host to make introductions.
    • Prepare yourself for job interviews: Again, having spent several years in university, you may be slightly unfamiliar or at the very least, rusty, when it comes to job interviews. Hopefully it won’t be long until you get a phone call inviting you in for an interview, so use this in-between period to brush up on the latest interview techniques, from answering competency-based questions, to how to tackle those trickier ones, such as “tell me about a time you failed.” Practise answering interview questions with friends, family, or your recruiter, so that you feel poised and confident when the time comes.

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  10. 5. Search in a structured way and keep your motivation high

    Periods of unemployment can take their toll on anybody’s well-being, especially a recent graduate going through the transition of student to job seeker.

    It is therefore important that you maintain a routine so you stay upbeat and motivated. Get up early and fill your days with productive activity such as job searching, upskilling and networking. Having said that, make sure you take regular breaks to do what you enjoy doing, from seeing friends, to pursuing hobbies and interests. Exercise is also a great way of relieving the stress of finding your first graduate job.

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  12. 6. Don’t compare your situation with others

    Lastly, don’t compare yourself to your peers, especially if they have already found work. In such situations, just have faith that you are doing the best you can, you simply haven’t found the right opportunity for you yet, but that’s no need to give up or lose hope.

    Be sure to do your utmost by following the above advice. Before you know it, you will have found the perfect position to start your professional career.

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