Graduate Time! What’s Next?

For many students who completed their studies in May, but who perhaps haven’t worn their cap and gown at their graduation ceremony, they’re in a weird place. Are they a student, graduate, or unemployed person? For those who are working full time hours at their previous part time job that they had whilst studying this is a time that can feel quite uncertain. I went from folding jeans part time in Topman, to folding jeans full time  in Topman. Only now I had debts and a degree!

Having a degree feels like everything should slot into place – the graduate employers will come knocking and the perfect job will fall into your lap. It’s a bit of a rude awakening for some as they realise that the work is just beginning career wise.

Now that you have the qualification it’s time to put it to use to secure a role in the sector of your choice. For most graduate level jobs these five basic rules will help move you closer to your career objectives.

So at 1: Network – this isn’t really step 1 it’s step 0 and is something we should be doing all the time, whether we’re at university, graduated or already in the world of work. Use all possible opportunities to network and think of it as a full task in itself. Engage with employers as often as you can, and think about what you want from them, being specific in your requests. Networking successfully can hep you get noticed by your chosen employer way ahead of the competition.

2. Always be developing – a riff on “Always be closing!” from the film Wall Street, it is essential that you are always honing your skills. There are key employability skills that employers look for: communication, analytical, problem solving and team work amongst others – that apply to almost every job. Develop your skills at every opportunity. Get as much work experience as you possibly can as you’ll learn things that are necessary for the assessment process and the job once you get it. Think widely – running a sports club or society or volunteering can give you great real world experience.

3. Pay attention to detail on your written applications. Speling erors like this are rarely overlooked by employers. They may believe that you don’t care about your work from the lack of care on the application form. Get someone to double check your application form or CV before submitting.

4. Research the company, so that your application form and interview refers to their values and business activities. Demonstrating your knowledge of key areas of their business in your interview will make you stand out – it’s surprising how many people forget specific research in their preparation for selection processes. You doing it automatically puts you ahead of the herd. Show your enthusiasm for the job by showing that you have researched what the company stands for and tell them that you want to be a part of it. This will take you further than you think.

5. The interview doesn’t start when you walk in the room. Every aspect of your application for a role is leading up to the interview and assessment centre. Think ahead and prepare. Don’t leave anything to chance, from your outfit, hair, shoes and journey. Have detailed notes with you and be ready for any curve balls that the employer may throw your way to see how you’ll cope. Be the best version of your job seeking self and ace it!

Good luck!

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