Graduates Guide to Finding a New Job

There’s something about graduating that makes you feel like this is it: you’re officially an adult, and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. So how do you make that first step? That’s an oddly hard question to answer to most graduates. Finding a new job changes from industry to industry and evolves through time. For example, there are plenty of young workers laughing at their mum when they suggest going around the shopping centre with printed CVs in the internet age.

But if that’s not the way to do it, what is? We break down how you can land your first post-graduation job.

Ask yourself what you want

Finding a new job starts with determining what you are looking for, and it’s often not as straightforward as you’d think.

You’ve gained your degree in business management, that means you should be managing a business, right? The problem is that a lot of job descriptions don’t title their jobs with “business management opportunity”. Plus, you’ll have more issues to think about within that vague description. What business are you managing? Your own? What industry is it in?

Before you really start looking, ask yourself three questions:

  1. What do I want to do for a career?
  2. What do I want from a job?
  3. What do I have to offer an employer?

You have to think long term and short term, which covers the first two questions. But to get there, you’ll need something you can offer employers. That can be a lot of things, but the most commonly asked for asset is experience.

Gain some experience

The ongoing joke of finding a new job is that you will find a lot of graduate job descriptions that ask for years of experience. It’s an unrealistic goal that most employers should rethink but having some extra experience will be a great asset when it comes to finding a new job.

Look into internships in your industry. They have become so common they are practically a prerequisite and just about every industry offers it in some form or another. The harsh reality, however, is that most are unpaid. An annoying addition is that they are stereotyped as putting you in the role of all-important coffee maker. For a couple of months’ work, it can be valuable if you let it be. Shadow someone, befriend others, and syphon any information you can find. And there’s always the chance that finding your new job will be as simple as impressing with your charm, close proximity, and what little demonstrations of your skills you can offer. Although, you shouldn’t rely on it.

You can also look into volunteering, which is another unpaid role, but it can be very valuable and a good choice if you have no experience in the industry.

If you find some unpaid work, ask them if you can work around a second job to pay the bills.

Widen your options

As mentioned above, finding a new job post-graduation should be straightforward. You have a degree for an industry, you’re going into that industry, right?

Sometimes you have more options than you think. A straightforward journalism degree sounds very narrow initially. You’re going to be writing the news. Not often the case. There are a lot of applications where you might not have thought about. A journalism degree can be taken into marketing, public relations, politics, and a lot more. 

Boil your degree down to the skillset it gave you and you can apply them across various industries. Maybe you left university and decided you’d never read a newspaper again. It happens. This will give you a lot more options to pursue.

Start networking

Networking isn’t just for the bigwigs in CEO positions to get together for a party featuring a pinata made of banknotes. In fact, it can be a powerful asset to a graduate in finding their new job.

First, since we’re in a world that is constantly migrating online, even when finding a new job, upgrade your social media. You don’t need to get rid of your profile of late-night university memories, but perhaps create a new one for the purposes of finding a job. Show that you are an upstanding citizen and with every post enforce any skills you can depict in content. The obvious answer here is anything in art or entertainment, but you can use social media as a portfolio for just about any purpose. And an obvious point to make here is to update your LinkedIn, and actually use it.

Attend any industry events and career fairs in your area or virtually. In-person would be better so that you can introduce yourself naturally to peers and employers, whereas online you might have to send a formal invitation for a one-on-one call. There’s no shortage of graduate fairs to take advantage of, and they can offer everything from jobs to apprenticeships to industry advice.

Don’t worry about being shy either. Employers, especially at graduate fairs, know you’re finding your new job and are there to help. Maybe practice your superhero pose for a booster if you need it.

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