Graduate job hunting is becoming more and more of a daunting prospect for soon-to-be-graduates. But Career Geek is here to help you, guide you and make sure you’re prepared for your job search before you graduate.
Today, I would like to share a few key things that I learnt while graduate job hunting. It took me a while, I was rejected numerous times, but I can finally say – it was all worth it because I finally got a job – doing what I always wanted to do, in the sector I am so passionate about.
The Graduate Job Hunting Journey
It was more than a year ago when I embarked on this journey. Having completed my dissertation, I started looking for jobs. It didn’t take long for me to realise how ill-prepared I was for the graduate job market. A few swift rejections to my applications and I knew my degree was not going to get me far in getting interviews that could potentially turn into job offers.
Throughout this past year I learnt a lot and the key points will be summarised below so you can apply them to your own situation.
Develop a Strategy for Your Graduate Job Hunting
The first thing to do when you start job searching is to get organised. Assess your situation, where you are, and where you’d like to be. Then, you’d know what you need to get there. If you’re lacking work experience, find out how you can get some as soon as possible. Research the industry you’d like to work in, and see what qualifications you’d need. Another point to consider is whether you’d like to apply for graduate schemes or entry-level jobs. Spend a few weeks doing that, and then start applying for the jobs that you’ve decided suit you.
A few months down the line, if you’re still unemployed, you might realise you need to change your strategy, but this is a natural process. A lot of graduates end up not knowing exactly what they’d like to do with their degrees, so naturally, it will take some time to figure out what sort of job will suit you.
Learn from Your Mistakes
This is related to the previous point. Once you realise your initial approach isn’t working, adapt and change your strategy, as necessary. Try to see yourself and your job search from a distance in order to assess it – what do your actions convey about you to a potential employer? Does your education, experience, qualifications present a favourable image of you? If there are any gaps, fill them and show you’re flexible and willing to learn – employers will appreciate your efforts.
Every time someone’s giving you feedback, listen carefully. I know how difficult accepting criticism is, but learning from it is essential in your progress. At the same time, don’t take everything people tell you at face value. Use your own judgement and take away the valuable information, leave everything else. Don’t let anyone patronise you and underestimate your abilities and potential.
Hard Work Pays off
At times during my graduate job hunt I was quite sceptical when I heard the above words. But if you are persistent, determined and work hard, sooner or later you’ll find your dream job. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself, people will be willing to help you with advice and moral support, but don’t fool yourself – you will have to do the work.
My family and friends were always by my side while I was going through the numerous difficulties over my job searching year, but even they were starting to doubt how long it would take me to reach success. Sometimes, I was faced with the nagging feeling that I wasn’t doing the right thing, and pursuing the wrong jobs. A lot of people tried to advise me to give up and do something else instead. And just when I was starting to believe them, the perfect opportunity came up.
No matter what you’re told, no matter how many rejections you receive, keep believing in yourself and do not give up your dreams. In the end, when it all works out for you, you’ll realise it’s all worth it and hard work does pay off!