For many people, the time between university and real life can feel like a terrifying, dark chasm. After a long time of being told exactly what to do, comfortingly shepherded from classroom to lecture hall, the sudden feeling of alone-ness is remarkable. Finding work can feel like an insurmountable task, and knowing where to begin seems impossible. But it’s important to remember that while job-searching is difficult, it can (and will – see point five) also be super rewarding. Here are six top tips to get you off the starting block.
If you’ve still got your toes in the metaphorical university swimming pool, use what you have! Email a favourite tutor and ask for them to review your CV, or check if they’d be happy to act as a reference for potential employers to contact. Try to get in touch with your uni’s careers service for more immediate, practical advice. Utilise a parent or friendly adult – after all, they will have done all this before. Even asking a friend if they’d like to swap CVs can be mega helpful. A fresh pair of eyes can do wonders if things are stagnating, plus you get to be a great mate.
Rather than sticking firmly to job sites, try to contact companies you admire. Approach people with ideas, rather than a standard introductory email. If you have a career crush, send them an email asking for tips. If you never ask, you’ll never know.
This is so important. Instead of half-arsing a few non-specific CVs off once every couple of weeks, you need to get your head in the game. Apply for email alerts – tons of job sites do them. Personalise your cover letters according to job specifications. Dedicate time to it. Employers can totally recognise when you’ve made an effort, and it makes you look eminently employable.
Equally, it’s essential to not get too blinkered in your search for your future career. Apply for things that are slightly outside your ideal, it’s all good practice. And don’t be so single-minded on you specific ideal of a “dream job” that what is actually a “really great job” passes you by. You might think you know what you want, but until you try something you can’t actually be sure.
Getting down in the dumps won’t help anything. Job hunting is well known to be really difficult and supremely confidence-knocking. Try to keep your chin up, and know that plenty of great opportunities exist; it’s just all about tracking them down. Plus, people can absolutely tell if you’re carrying around a chip on your shoulder, and it doesn’t make you an attractive employee.
Nerves leading to anxiety leading to full blown panic can seem the natural course of action during the post-uni job search. The best advice here is to avoid at all costs. Not only will it ultimately make your job search less productive, it’ll also make the rest of your life worse, too. Take some deep breaths and slow down. Just because you haven’t got to you career pinnacle just yet does not mean you never will. Everyone moves at their own pace, so avoid comparing yourself to others and just work towards your dream slowly but surely.
Annie Doyle writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from marketing internships to graduate jobs Manchester, click here.
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