Things to consider when searching for a graduate job

Theresa Lungumbu Headshot

Life after university can be rather daunting. Suddenly, after years of education and the structure it provides, you are tasked with finding a job and navigating the world of work. It can sometimes be a little tricky, so here is a list of my top tips, tricks, and things to consider when job hunting as a new graduate. 

Have a positive attitude and approach

Job hunting doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. See it as a stepping stone to a new chapter in your life. Whilst this will likely come with more responsibilities it’ll also allow for more personal growth and fun!

Remember, you are not alone!

You may feel all alone while searching for a graduate job, but there are thousands of other graduates in the same situation. Networking with others may help you discover new opportunities. 

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed.

Job hunting can be stressful, so reach out to friends and family to let them know how you are doing, but also make time to do the things you enjoy.

Don’t compare yourself to friends or coursemates

Everyone’s path to a graduate job will be different, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you a little longer to get on the career ladder. It’s your journey so remember to focus on yourself!

Create a routine and set realistic goals

Set aside a few hours a day to look for a job and apply for it. It’s impossible to apply for every job so try not to overwhelm yourself. It is important to focus on quality over quantity.

Don’t take rejection personally

During your job hunt, it is likely you will face rejection but don’t let it define you. Although it can be upsetting, you should use the feedback you receive to improve your next application or interview.

Don’t be so fast to settle

If your first job isn’t your dream job that’s okay, use it as an opportunity to develop your skills and experience to strengthen your future career.

Make sure the job you accept is right for you.

There are many factors to consider when job hunting but it’s important to choose a role that aligns with your values and interests otherwise you may not enjoy your work.

Along with these tips, it’s useful to understand how to boost your employability, so that you stand out from the crowd!

To improve your employability while you are job searching, consider the following :

  1. Volunteering (With support from the Student’s Union, it’s never been easier to find local volunteering opportunities)
  2. Doing some work experience (I highly recommend the Forage, a virtual work experience platform)
  3. Asking others to help you with your CV, LinkedIn profile and interview skills
  4. Taking free and relevant online courses to help you upskill (I recommend Skills 365 and FutureLearn)
  5. Networking (You can do this by using social media, talking to other graduates, university staff, and attending talks, career fairs, and workshops)

When approaching the job search, it’s important to narrow down what industry or sector you want to work in. You can do this by considering:

  1. What roles interest and excite you?
  2. Your current skill set, passions, and experience.
  3. The type of working environment would you like to be in.
  4. Which modules and tasks you enjoyed during your degree?

Once you have done this, you can make a list of factors to consider when applying for a job, some that are important to me are:

  • Salary– What do I expect to be earning in my first graduate job?
  • Employee benefits – Will I be taken care of?
  • Company culture– Is there a friendly atmosphere to work in?
  • Company reputation & values– What does the company care about?
  • Career development – what are the opportunities for training and promotion?
  • Work/life balance – Will I have time to do the things I enjoy outside of work?
  • Location – Will I have to commute, or will there be the option to work from home?

Now that you’ve thought about the factors to consider and you’re in the right mindset, you should figure out the best ways to actively find your dream career, to do this I recommend:

  • Using CareerLinc and the Careers & Employability website to help you find graduate jobs, this should be your first point of call as there’s a specialist team there ready to support you!
  • Other job search platforms can give you a good starting point (e.g., Reed and Indeed)
  • Searching directly for vacancies on company websites (not all businesses advertise on job search platforms so if there’s a company you’re really interested in, check their own careers page!)
  • Using networking and industry contacts to keep up to date with opportunities!
  • Sending speculative applications (sometimes if a company isn’t hiring, sending a speculative application to show your interest and enthusiasm is a great way to get recognised.)

One final tip:

Make a log of all the applications and responses received

Keeping track of what you’re doing will help you to be organised and remember important dates, such as application deadlines and interviews.

I hope this advice helps and gives you something to consider when searching for your dream career. Good luck!

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