Have you recently graduated college or sitting your finals in the coming months? Although it can be competitive, the good news is the jobs market is looking positive and there are lots of opportunities for graduates. Here are some tips on how to get your first job as a graduate.
1. Decide What You Want To Do
Where do you see yourself five years? As a student, you may have spent hours daydreaming about what you wanted to do after college. Or you may have given your after-college life very little thought. Either way, it is worth thinking about where you see yourself in five year’s time. Do you visualize working for a large multinational company with the option to travel for work? Or maybe you see yourself working for a startup, helping to launch a new business. Are you aiming for management or self-employment? Whatever you envision, it can be a useful exercise in helping you set career goals and deciding which jobs to apply for.
2. Preparation Is Key
As a student, you were taught all the necessary skills to conduct in-depth research. Regardless of your field of study, you can put those skills to good use for your job search. Research jobs available through recruitment companies, jobs boards and LinkedIn. Use every available offline and online resource to gather information on employers, types of roles, available positions, salary and benefits and most desired skills. Get to know the industry you want to work in. Find out who the big employers are, research them on LinkedIn and get to know their recruitment processes.
3. Use The College Career Centre
Every college has a careers centre whose staff are happy to help students and graduates find work. Their services are broad-ranging and can help students and graduates discover their own interests, skills, values and career options. They will help you to put together a CV and give practical tips on how to write a cover letter. They will give advice and support throughout the recruitment process and act as a career coach if needed. Career centres also have relationships with employers who use the career centre for recruiting. They can put you in touch with prospective employers and put you forward for interviews if they feel you would be a good match.
4. Learn To Network
As a student, you were probably told about the benefits of networking and how useful it will be when you are looking for a job. However, you were probably never taught how to network. It can sound like a daunting task, however, there are simple ways to ease you into the idea. Firstly, look at your immediate informal network- friends, family, neighbours and the wider community. Often overlooked, this network can be highly valuable when looking for a job. Look to your peers in your class, as well as student societies or sports teams you were a member of. Join LinkedIn and start to build your profile.
5. Attend Career Events
Most colleges will hold graduate careers fairs at least once a year on campus. If not, look to see which other colleges do or if there are Make sure to attend as these present excellent opportunities to meet with prospective employers. Most large companies will be in attendance and have graduate training schemes in place. These can be a useful bridge between college and work. They offer graduates the opportunity to experience several different areas of the business before choosing a career path and usually last one or two years. The experience gained on these programmes can help launch your career either within the company or externally.
6. Get Your CV Ready
It’s never too early to start getting your CV ready. The graduate CV will have one disadvantage, that being the work history is sparse or non-existent. If this is the case, keep this section brief. However, include any volunteer work you may have completed and demonstrate any skills you have learned. For example, perhaps you were the auditor of a society or the captain of a sports team. You could mention you acquired financial management skills through your role or that you learned how to motivate others and practical people management skills. For other key tips on creating the perfect CV, have a look at our CV Advice section.