Our Guide to Getting Your First Job after Graduation

College graduate students

For thousands of students across the UK university life has officially ended and it is now time to start preparing for life in the big world of employment. But as we are all more than aware, with unemployment often in the news, getting that first job after university isn’t always that easy.

But don’t panic, it’s not impossible! Below is our quick guide on what you can do to increase your chances of getting a job after university.

Take some time to think about what you want

When looking for a job you need to have some focus. Have you actually taken the time to sit down and think about what career you want to go into? Remember, just because you have a degree in Law/Economics/Psychology doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start a career as a Lawyer/Banker/Psychologist. Degrees provide you with transferable skills which can be useful in all sorts of different careers, so don’t think that your degree limits you to that one industry.

Be proactive and get researching

Don’t just sit there and wait for a great job to come along – it won’t. Make sure your CV is up to date and looking professional and get researching. Now that university is over you may think that doing research is a thing of that past. Wrong! You’re not going to get a good grade in an essay without doing any research, so why would you be offered a job without you knowing about the industry. Before applying for any jobs do some research on the industry and the possible careers choices and routes you could take to get there.

Get some experience

You can never get too much experience. So if it looks as if you are not going to be able to find a permanent job straight away, try to get yourself as much relevant experience as you can. The idea of working for no pay may not be quite what you were expecting when you left university but the benefits of internships and work experience far outweigh the lack of pay. Not only will this give you hands-on experience and add to your knowledge of the industry, it also shows potential employers that you are keen to learn instead of just sitting at home doing nothing. It will also give you more to talk about in interviews and help you gain some useful contacts for the future. On the other hand, your work experience may prove to you that this isn’t actually an industry or job that you would like to work in. Ok so you may have had to endure a week of hell to find this out, but it’s better than spending months applying for jobs and then when you finally get one, realising that actually this isn’t the industry for you.

Make sure people know you are looking for a job

Make sure that your friends, family and relatives are aware that you are looking for a job. You never know who they may know! They may have a friend in your potential industry who could offer you some useful advice, or if they happen to hear about any potential work experience or job opportunities they will know to tell you about it, or even recommend you.

Make use of social networking

Social networking is now an essential part of job seeking for several reasons. Firstly, you need to make sure your profiles are professional and also visible. Recruiters actively search for potential candidates on social networks so make sure you can be found, and once you are found, you need to make sure your profile makes a good impression. If you haven’t already done it, set up a LinkedIn account. (For more information on making your LinkedIn profile more visible and professional view our LinkedIn blog here). But don’t just wait to be found! Companies and recruitment agencies will often post their latest vacancies on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, so find some relevant companies and agencies, and follow them. Even better, interact with them, and make them aware of you.

Be realistic & flexible

It is unlikely you will walk out of university and into your dream job. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Be flexible with your goals, and don’t start turning down jobs because they aren’t exactly what you were planning to do. By having alternative plans and being flexible with your decisions may result in you getting a job that you love, even though it’s in an industry that you had never even considered before. At this stage in your career it is all about getting your foot in the door and gaining useful experience.

Don’t give up

Everyone experiences setbacks in their career, but the important part is what you take from it. Learn from the feedback you receive and then use it in future applications. Everyone finds interviews daunting but every interview is a learning experience, and if the first one went badly then think about why it went badly and learn from it.

No one said getting a job was easy but if you try hard and make the most of your opportunities then you will get there. If you have sales experience and are interested in starting a career in the recruitment industry we are currently looking for enthusiastic and motivated university leavers from any degree to fill several excellent trainee/graduate recruitment consultant positions. If you would like to find out more please read our “Starting a career in recruitment” blog, look at our current vacancies page or give us a call on 01992 501 515 to have a chat with us.