Welcome to March 2021! It is exciting to be closer to the summer for a multitude of reasons: longer days, warmer weather, time off. However, for those in their final years, it is also rather daunting. Not only have you got your thesis and final exams to think about, there is the added pressure of finding a graduate job. Some of the lucky few will have secured offers following internships from the summer before, some will have successfully completed interviews during the year. For those that have done neither, there is absolutely no need to fret! Many students will have no idea what they are going to be doing after graduation at this stage of the year and many more will not find jobs until after graduation. So if you are still looking for that first job out of college, we have put together this guide to help you with your search. You will find it is broken down into three sections; maximising your resources, preparing for your interview and time management. These areas broadly cover the process and should give you enough of a foundation to feel confident in your job search.
The prospect of embarking on your graduate job search can seem daunting because we forget to take into account the resources we have readily at our disposal. Thanks to technology you can find a job without ever leaving your house. When I wanted to find a job in London while living in Dublin I had to heavily rely on technology to secure my offers. And then I had to do it again when I wanted to switch roles in the middle of national lockdown. It is possible and you can do it too. This guide is a compilation of all the learnings I had in this process so I hope you find it useful!
Maximising Your Resources
Before you can learn how to make the most of your resources, it is important to take stock of the ones at your disposal. Do you have friends working at companies looking to hire graduates? Do you have access to career fairs and talks at your university? What does your public facing professional profile look like i.e. are you a member of LinkedIn and have you submitted your CV to graduate recruitment websites?
Some of the resources that were important securing my offers were the following:
1. Sophisticated document editing software: You will need to make your CV look slick and while you can get away with using free software, it is only going to work in your favour to use something like Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop.
2. LinkedIn: I cannot stress enough how valuable a well-built profile on LinkedIn is. Most recruiters currently depend on LinkedIn for 90% of their leads and will expect to see your username on the CVs you submit directly to company websites. Take some time to fill yours out and connect with people you know.
3. College societies/careers office: Around this time of the year many societies and career guidance departments will start hosting career fairs (virtually or in-person). Attend these events if you can, talk to recruiters, get contact information, follow up. I secured an interview just by emailing and saying I spoke to someone at one of these events.
4. Graduate recruitment websites: There is a myriad of websites online that are specifically tailored to graduate jobs. Apply to enough of them and tick enough boxes that let them pass around your information, you will start receiving calls from recruitment agencies you had never heard of saying they came across your resume and wanted to talk to you about some of the roles they are looking to fill.
5. Glassdoor: This is a fantastic resource for looking up past interview questions and company reviews. People on this website are very open about their experience and this can be really helpful for you to better understand the company. Do not over-rely on the interview information as there is no guarantee it is 100% accurate but do use it to get a general idea of what they ask and look for in a candidate.
6. Resume templating and personalisation: No one knows how to make their CV look professional without building it off a template. Ask people who have secured jobs to look at their resumes or, better yet, ask them to send you the template they used. Make sure the template you use suits your industry; finance, law, tech and marketing will all have very different resume standards. Make sure you know what yours needs to look like and what it needs to say. Leverage job descriptions to highlight skills and experience they look for.
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