How to find a job after graduation

Well done you did it, you graduated!

Looking for entry level positions after graduating from university can be a daunting experience, but we’re here to help you find out where to start.

Graduating from university is an amazing feeling, However, now is the time to get started on working in the real world. Since everything is new and unseen territory, you’re probably wondering where to begin with finding a job.

So, let’s start with some tips and tricks to get you on the employment ladder.

University student graduating

1) CVs

Don’t be afraid to sell yourself!

The most essential part of applying for jobs is ensuring your Curriculum Vitae is well polished and regularly updated to suit any changes in address, employment, education, or any other areas.

For example, if you’ve moved back home with your parents from university and are applying for jobs in that area, your CV shouldn’t have the address of your student accommodation as your current address as this will just confuse things. This is because potential employers may think you’re going to be making a long commute to work each day.

Your CV acts as your professional resume and gives employers a summary of your career, qualifications, and education. It tends to be the first thing that employers look at to learn more about you and see if you’d be a good fit at their company.

Talking about yourself and thinking of your strengths can be hard, you don’t want to appear overly confident, but you need to hype yourself up! You should list all the capabilities that will make you a good employee, such as specific skills like good communication or ability to work with specific software. If you have many achievements, then mention them!

You should proofread your CV and get someone else to look at it before to ensure there aren’t any grammar or spelling mistakes or any other edits that need to be made. You don’t want to apply for a job application and find out you’ve submitted your CV with tons of words that are spelt wrong, it just won’t look great.

If you’re struggling to edit your CV, then search online for a CV builder to help make yours stand out. You can also use online templates which will help you with the layout and design of your resume to give it that smart feel.

Woman working on resume

 2) Online presence

How to ensure your online presence is helping your job search

You need to make sure your online presence is up to scratch by ensuring all the information is up to date and optimised for the web.

If you haven’t already created a LinkedIn profile, then make sure to create one to build your professional network and engage with employers, helping you find your dream graduate job. LinkedIn Profiles compliment your Curriculum Vitae nicely by showcasing your skills and experience. You can use your CV to be a base for your LinkedIn profile.

You can even use the job search option and add an “Open to work” option to your profile, to let employers know you’re looking for employment.

Employers use LinkedIn to search for prospective employees to find out more about them and whether they’re suitable to work for their company. Add a nice photograph of yourself to your profile, such as at your graduation ceremony or a recent professional picture to stand out.

Update your LinkedIn profile with the expertise you’ve gained from your studies, as well as your degree classification – you should be proud of your grade! Doing this will show your strengths as an individual and show potential employers that you are capable of success.

Expand your network on LinkedIn and connect with alumni from your university or those that work in industries similar to your ideal field. This way you will be able to find opportunities that are of interest to you.

LinkedIn is also useful if you’re not sure exactly what work or role you want to go into, so you can research different types of jobs and career paths.

Be wary of what your social media profiles look like too! Whilst having fun at university was a great experience, it can look unprofessional if all your photos online are of you drinking alcohol or behaving inappropriately.

So, edit your Facebook privacy settings and those on other social media sites. It’s fine to have a life outside of work, but to land your first professional role, you want to ensure there are not any red flags that might put your employer off hiring you.

LinkedIn image

3) Work freelance

Working freelance is a form of self-employment which can be a great way to get started before going into a professional role, if that’s what you want! You’re your own boss and you get to work on projects that interest you and have creative freedom, but it’s not without its difficulties.

You need to build a client base whilst you’re freelancing to find projects, which can be quite intimidating to get started with. You need to ensure your communication skills are good, as you are going to be pitching to clients about potential work you can collaborate on.

This line of work requires self-motivation and organisation as you need to be able to manage projects and meet deadlines set by clients, as well as manage your finances.

Building up a portfolio whilst working freelance can be great to show to employers in interviews, its shows you’ve been working hard whilst on the track to finding a job in your degree field.

Unfortunately, there are certain fields and industries where freelance work isn’t possible so this may not be an option for every graduate!

Freelancer working on projects

4) Be patient

“Why haven’t I got a graduate job yet, sigh!” 

Not everyone lands their first graduate job straight after graduating, so don’t worry you don’t need to have entered the world of work a month after graduating. Take some time for yourself if the job hunt is getting stressful and you feel you are not making progress, new opportunities arise every day!

If you have been to a few interviews and had no luck, then just keep trying and taking on board any feedback from the companies you’ve spoken to. What went wrong in the first interview, will have you more prepared for the next and so on.

Woman meditating

5) Available support

Make the most of the available support that is out there.

You can receive career support from your university for up to two years after you graduate. They can help you with tips on finding a new job and you can arrange meetings with career advisors.

To get in touch with your university revolving careers, go to your website and there should be a dedicated graduate section with options to get the support you need. Most universities now have a job section on their websites for you to apply to suitable jobs from full and part-time work, placements and internships to graduate schemes.

Your university may even offer a range of career events hosted by employers.

If you currently work in a part-time job that perhaps you already had whilst studying at university, you could consider going full-time for the time being to help your financial situation and will also keep you busy.

Financial help

Additionally, if you’re struggling for money and your financial situation is taking a hit whilst trying to get yourself on the job market, you may be able to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit, which can help provide you with some income for the meantime and take some of the pressure off.

You can also get career information on any job vacancies, advice, and guidance from a job centre advisor if you’re unemployed and looking for work.

People high fiving

5) Job applications

When applying for work, most people use Indeed as the first choice for job searchers, but there are other platforms available to find work online such as Reed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn Jobs, and TotalJobs.

Whilst there are pros and cons of all UK job sites, if you apply for different job listings on multiple sites, you’re more likely to open new career opportunities. In comparison, if you just used one site because you found it easiest to use, you might be missing out on jobs that are listed elsewhere – broaden your horizons!

Whilst applying for specific roles and positions, ensure you’re spending time to properly fill out the application form or online assessments, don’t rush them as you want to give yourself the best chance of success in this job opening.

Make sure you also have your email alerts turned on so you’re able to receive any communication from companies regarding your application.

You should also ensure you write a tailored cover letter for specific companies to really stand out and showcase your enthusiasm for the role. Your letter should feature why you want to work for the company you’re applying to and how you’d bring something new to the table with the skills and experience you possess.

If your job application doesn’t ask for a cover letter to be attached, you could send this over by getting in touch with the hiring manager – you can normally find their email on the job description.

Job application

6) Scoring interviews

It’s show time!

Hopefully, you will hear back from jobs you’ve applied to and score interviews. Whether it’s an in-person or virtual interview, remember to take a deep breath and try to keep any anxieties under wrap. It’s normal to be nervous for an interview, and it shows you’re passionate.

Make sure you carry out some preparation before an interview, such as learning about the history of the company you’re applying to show your genuine interest.

If you walk into a job interview not knowing very much about the company, it can show you’ve just been applying anywhere.

Job interview

Prepare for any possibilities

To help you prepare for the interview process, write some example questions out and get a family member or friend to do a mock interview. You can even use online interview question simulators so that you’re well-equipped on a variety of questions, not just the generic ones like “Tell me about yourself”.

There are also many types of interviews, so make sure to this information out prior to arrival. Such as, if you’ve prepared for an individual interview but you didn’t realise it’s a group interview, then it’s going to catch you by surprise and things might go wrong.

Always double-check all the information provided to you such as the address and plan how you’re going to get there in advance.

Group interview

Virtual interviews

Phone and video interviews have become frequently more common since the pandemic, whilst some might say they find it easier than sitting in front of a potential employer, it can prove difficult with some challenges arising. Some job roles may even ask you to prepare a presentation for the interview, make sure you spend time tailoring your presentation accordingly.

Stay organised when you have a virtual interview coming up, make sure you have all the necessary technical aspects sorted in advance. Such as a good Wi-Fi connection and signal strength, as well as a laptop with high-quality audio and video.

You may also want to get to grips with the software you’ll be using to conduct the interview, such as Zoom or Teams. If things start going wrong before you’ve even spoken to the hiring manager about the job, it will just stress you out! Plan everything first and have a test call to check everything is running smoothly.

Virtual interview call

Be enthusiastic about your dream job

If you really want a graduate job role, then make it known to the prospective employer when you’re being interviewed.

Make sure you ask questions when given the opportunity because it shows you’re interested and eager to learn more. After all, if this is somewhere you’re dying to work at, you should want to know all the information you can!

Every employer wants to hire enthusiastic people because it means they will be committed to filling out their job role and going above and beyond for the company whilst doing so.

Be yourself

Obviously, preparation like this is key to success, but so is being yourself and giving people a chance to understand your personality and what kind of person you are.

Many graduates don’t realise it, but industry professionals are just as eager to know more about your interests as they are about your work experience. Recruiters will determine if you’re the right person from both professional and personal attributes.

Employer smiling

We hope you’re now feeling at ease within your graduate job search, and we wish you all the best in your work journey!

If you enjoyed the topics we covered in this post, then add our blog on The Ultimate List Of The Best Summer Jobs For Students to your reading list.

Table of Contents