You’ve graduate from university. Give yourself a pat on the back and say well done. Graduating any course and completing three or four years’ worth of university is a great achievement. But now you’ve had the fun part, real life and growing up takes place, ‘the next step’.
The application process for jobs can often be gruelling and if you continue plugging away without too much success, it can certainly knock your confidence. But if you get your application right, you’ve got the best chance of making it through to an interview and potentially securing a great job for when you come out of uni.
Do your research first
Researching for your next job doesn’t ultimately mean just looking at the jobs. You’ve got to consider where you want to live. Do you want to live at home, with some friends or even a partner? Before you start the job hunt, considering where you want to go, will give you a location to look around and limit applying for any unnecessary jobs.
Once you’ve got your location lock downed, you can start looking for jobs. If you haven’t even thought about what you want to do yet, don’t panic, there are plenty of job boards where you can do an in-depth search using keywords and see what catches your eye.
If something catches your eye and you want to apply for it, make sure you have a look into the company first, take a look through their history and see what sort of worker reviews they have online.
Get your CV spot on
Your CV is the first thing any employer will look at and is effectively their first impression of you. If they spot any obvious errors or issues, no doubt they won’t even finish the first page! Yes employers can be ruthless. You can create a good CV and cover letter template, if the majority of your applying for are the same, but make sure you then tailor it and tweak it each time you apply to a new company and new job.
Be sure to show yourself off and showcase your skills, but avoid adding in every single thing you’ve done. Focus on the relevant work and study challenges you’ve accomplished and how you’ve overcome any difficulties. How did you overcome any problems you faced? Make sure you input your own personality as well, any travelling, community work, or volunteer work shows the employer what kind of a person you are. Finally, double check, triple check and then ask one of your friends or family to quadruple check!
Do a social media tidy up
With so many of our personal opinions, nights outs and adventures on social media these days, employers will often take a look through our personal profiles to try and get an insight into who you are. Even if a potential employer see’s one thing they don’t quite like the look of, it might totally put them off!
You can adjust your social media settings across all the platforms to have ‘friends only’, but if there’s anything too inappropriate on there, you should consider taking it down and saving it for rainy days.
What’s the usual process then?
The majority of graduate jobs have a very similar application process, but some of them might have their own differences thrown in.
- Online application – Almost all jobs are applied for online these days. Gone are the times of walking into a business handing over your CV and asking for an interview!
- Phone interview – Some companies will ask for a quick phone call first, just to get a flavour as to what you’re like and if they’ve got lots of applicants, it’s a way of reducing the herd.
- Sample work – After a phone interview, or instead of a phone interview, employers may ask to see some of your previous job or university work. This is just to get an idea of what you can do and if it matches up with your CV
- Interview/Group interview – With the majority of employers, you’ll have one interview first, or a group interview, before going through to the next stage.
- Final interview – If you successfully navigate your way through the initial job application process, most companies will have you in one last time for a final interview. They may ask you to do a presentation or something similar.
The previous steps can vary from company to company, but a lot of graduate employers follow a similar sort of pattern. When it comes to interviewing time, it’s perfectly natural to feel nervous. Talking to someone you’ve never met about your life achievements and goals is tough, particularly when you’re trying to impress someone.
Whether it’s the group phase of the process, or a one-on-one, as long as you speak with confidence and assurance, you’ll be off to a good start. Make sure you have done a full load of prep work on the company. If you’ve got info on a company, it shows that you have done research and that you’re committed.
Prep yourself for questions such as: Why do you want the job? Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you like about the company? Tell me about yourself? Having answers prepped in advance for these will allow you to go in with confidence and give you the best chance. Likewise it’s vital you get your own questions prepped for them, the more questions you ask the better.
Although following these tips won’t guarantee you a graduate job, even if you adapt some of them, you’ll be able to walk into any scenario with confidence.