The Graduate Job Game
We've all been there. I've been there. You hand the dissertation in, spend the summer loving life & then cross your fingers, thumbs, eyes & legs that you'll land the job of your dreams as September approaches. Some of us will achieve this, high five to you all, some of you however will have to accept that your dreams may be a little further off than you'd hoped. Taking any job, doing anything you're offered or facing unemployment is sometimes what comes after university life, BUT it's not all doom and gloom. Ensuring that you're constantly adapting yourself for when your big opportunity comes, being constantly prepared and most importantly NEVER giving up is the way forward. Finding a job and establishing yourself in a good career after your degree is no picnic, but we believe by following a number of steps, you'll be on to a winner...
A Helping Hand
Before we start, we'd like to remind you all that unpaid internships are actually illegal. Under employment law, people who work set hours, do set tasks and contribute value to an organisation are “workers” and are entitled to the minimum wage, so please don't work for free (unless it's for a short period of time). Industries where unpaid interns were most common included design, media & PR, the competition is high and many feel under pressure to work for nothing, please don't, I secured my chosen career path without having to do this so continue to tell yourself it's completely possible! It is however, a good idea to offer a helping hand. Call businesses or companies and ask if there's anything you can do for a few hours a week, on a Saturday or even in the evening. Offer your services at events they may host or even blog or share their news on social media platforms. Anything that adds that little bit extra 'UMPH!' to you as an individual will not hurt anyone.
We've said it before and we'll say it again, the way you conduct yourself on these types of platforms is significantly important. We can all hold our hands up and say we've had a cheeky search on Facebook or Twitter for someone we know (or want to know more about) and employers on many occasions will do the same. Your name, job title, your photo albums & your status' should be kept professional or completely private, no one employer wants to see your Saturday night antics or the photographs from the hen do you went on a month ago.
Take A Job, Any Job
It might not be exactly what you want, but take it. Any job is better than no job and at the end of the day money pays the bills. It's very unlikely that in your early 20's you're going to be landing a job that you're in for the rest of your life, so don't sweat it, enjoy. A job offers you the chance to meet new people. Meeting new people means networking, and networking can essentially land you a job that pops you in the right direction. Your degree is significant and you've done a fantastic job of getting it, but sometimes in today's industries it's all about who you know as well as what you know. It's also good to remind yourself that small - medium size companies are where the bulk of graduate jobs lie so please don't let them be over shadowed by the big dogs. Remember to search high and low for jobs on the internet, the smaller businesses may not use the biggest advertisement spaces but this could potentially mean that there's less applicants, bingo!
Face To Face
It's never too soon to start looking and contacting companies. If you know what you want to do or the areas you're interested in, then do some research and find out what types of jobs are out there. Talk to everyone around you and learn from their experiences. Many of us sit on laptops, ipads and computers and apply for jobs like robots, but if you REALLY want that job then perhaps it's time you paid them a visit. Go in to the business and hand them the CV yourself, give them a call and ask what they have available, making yourself known gives the employers no choice but to remember you, don't let yourself be hidden under a pile of paper.
Think Outside The Box
Graduates obsess about crafting the perfect CV, but instead, use the extra time to check your online footprint. Google yourself. What comes up and what does it say about you?! Could you set up a blog to support your case? Are you showing your wonderful creative flair? Going that little extra mile could make you stand out from the crowd and gives you the chance to say 'Hey, look at me, look how I could help your company!'. It's all fine and dandy on paper, but having evidence to support your claims could differentiate you from another candidate that's after the same job.
You’ll need to work hard and never give up to get a good job after graduation. There are no guarantees, but most graduates ultimately make a fantastic career, and there’s no reason you can’t be one of them. I know it's difficult to pick yourself up when you're knocked down a few (too many) times, but hang in there, the finish line is in sight...