Finding a job after graduation can be an uphill struggle for some students. After facing years of hard work, piles of coursework and days of revision for exams, graduation is the culmination of your education efforts and the start of a new chapter in your life.
But what is not so appealing, is the prospect of the job hunt that you will have to take to find that elusive ‘dream job’.
You know it won’t be easy, especially with a job market that is a tough place for everyone at the moment. But before you dive into the job hunt, or if you’re struggling to think up ways to get that perfect job, why not try something different? Here are some top tips for alternate post-graduation activities that will keep you afloat as you continue job seeking.
Work experience is a must
Most students take part in some form of work experience while they’re in University. But it’s usually a course requirement, which can affect the places that students choose for work experience. This mandatory arrangement often means that the choice can be rushed, and you’re unlikely to get the best experience from this situation.
Use graduation as a time to look for work experience, placements and internships that you would choose rather than what you think your university tutor would prefer.
This is because you need to demonstrate enthusiasm for your work experience when it comes to interview situations, where questions will be asked about your past work. If you can show that you spent time and effort (and that you enjoyed the experience) to employers, they will know that you’re not just trying to bolster your resume, you’ll be showing that you have a genuine interest and passion about your career.
So when it comes to experience, make sure your list of placements is varied and that you can back up your claims as to why you chose them.
Part-time work: Why it’s an option
Very few graduates are lucky enough to walk straight into employment after work. If you’re lucky enough to be a graduate who walks straight into employment, count your blessings. Its takes time and dedication to find a job and it’s always a difficult situation even for the best candidates.
So consider part-time and flexible work as a support tool when you graduate.
A question that often pops up in interview situations is: “Since you graduated, what have you been involved in?” If you’ve just been job seeking rather than being pro-active, it’s not going to look as good as being able to demonstrate how you’re dedicating time in support of your job search by saving money (from part-time work) so that you can fund your travel to interviews and support yourself (it’s even better if you can list work experience that you’ve been doing too).
Flexible and part-time work allows you to relax about how you’re funding your job seeking and gives you the opportunity to still attend work experience and interviews should the opportunity arise.
Competition is fierce in the job market, and you’re going to need something that defines you as a candidate and raises your profile in the eyes of your employers.
You need to think about the special qualities that can achieve this.
Practical method of doing this include:
• Writing a blog about your industry (this is especially relevant for those interested in careers within Journalism and Media).
• Creating a portfolio or using your skills to design examples of your work (Useful for fashion and design students, or an industry where evidence of your work could be shown to employers).
• Or, think outside of the box and create something that markets your talents and expertise. Look at what students have done in the past.
You’ve spent the last couple of years working towards the goal of getting that perfect career. Don’t let your ambitions slip by worrying about whether you will get a job after graduating.
Using your talents and applying yourself to work experience, extra work and creating new ways to boost your profile in the eyes of employers are sure-fire ways to get a foot in the door.
Apply for every job that you can, and don’t limit yourself by thinking that a particular job is not right for you, if you fill even a small number of requirements there’s always the chance that employers will still think you’re the right candidate. So maximise your options by applying for a range of jobs.
Remember that it does take time, but patience and perseverance will be important factors in your search. Giving up is the only thing stopping you from achieving a job after graduation.
This guest post was written by Tom Chandler, is a Journalism graduate who now writes on behalf of ASOS Marketplace. He writes about a range of career topics and has a keen interest in education, student issues and current events in the recruitment sector.