You’re approaching the end of your time at university, the care-free clock is ticking away and you’re all too aware that very shortly it’s just you and the big wide world without education to fall back on.
Throughout our lives, we are told that having a degree makes you more employable, and it does, however, there are now so many people leaving university with degrees that the job market is pretty saturated. So what can you do to help yourself land a job straight out of uni?
Firstly you need to realise that this needs to be thought about before your exams finish. I know I know, revision comes first, I totally agree, but the job searching process is not a quick one, and before you know it you’ll put your pen down in your last exam with nothing to move onto. This might be what you wanted, some time for you, maybe you’ll go travelling or spend the summer crashed out on your parent’s sofa watching every episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. But the harsh truth is the world revolves around money, and unless you’ve saved up during your time at uni or have parents willing to bank roll you then you probably need to get a job.
So at least a few month before you finish your degree start the job search. Utilise your university job centre, sign yourself up to ‘Give a Grad a Go’ create a Linked In Profile and start getting a feel for what there is out there.
So you’ve got your profiles set up and your CV written, what next.
Break it Down
Now is the time to apply for a few positions, this takes so much more time than I previously anticipated, another reason to start early. Don’t be afraid of rejection, these people don’t know you, they only know your CV, so it isn’t personal. Although it can be a little disheartening to keep receiving ‘apllication unsuccessful’ emails, stay positive, there are plenty more jobs out there, and you’re waiting to find the right one. Try setting yourself a target of applying for 5 jobs each week, break it down to maybe one every week day, and suddenly it seems more doable.
You may be set to come out with a top grade from a good university but that doesn’t mean that you have the skills or experience for the executive manager job you just looked at. Tone it down, you’re a graduate, try searching for graduate entry level jobs, at least you won’t immediately be disregarded for your lack of experience.
Speaking of experience do you have any? Have you worked at all during your degree? If so was it at all relevant to your chosen career path? If you’re reading this in your first or second year then LISTEN UP. Having relevant work experience is invaluable to landing a job straight out of uni because it puts you above all those people, like me, who worked at Tesco for three years but actually want to be in marketing. If you can afford to take an unpaid internship, even just a few weeks relevant experience is infinitely more valuable than years of irrelevant experience.
So what can you do if you have no relevant experience and you’re months away from graduating? Firstly, try applying to positions without the relevant experience, highlight your key qualities, your passion for learning etc and try your luck. If it so happens that you land a position then perfect! But if a lack of experience is continuously being cited as a reason for not furthering your application then consider finding a paid internship opportunity.
A paid internship opportunity is like the middle ground. It’s paid, yay, but it isn’t permanent. However, if you make a good impression, try your hardest and show a passion for your role you just MAY be kept on in the company. At the very least you will leave with money in your pocket and the experience to finally apply for roles with confidence.
My top tip
If I were to give you one piece of advice then it would be to have internship experience when applying for jobs. If that means applying for one post university then so be it. Think of it this way, most internships last between 6-8 weeks, so you could have applied before your exams, go straight into the internship and potentially be offered a job before your friends have had their summer of sofa time. If your internship keeps you on then you’ve landed a job straight out of uni! If they don’t you’re still way ahead of those that haven’t even started their job search.
So give it a go. I’d highly recommend checking out your universities job and internship opportunity pages as these people have specifically come to your university for graduates. Good luck!