If you thought trying to find a uni house was stressful, wait until you try and find a grad job. I’m not here to make you stress, I promise. In fact, this article is packed with businesses, services and advice hopefully to make the process somewhat less overwhelming, and inspire you to start looking for that grad role to get you on the career path to your dream job.
I’m starting with my least favourite fact – the more experience you have on your CV, the better it looks. And yes, that does mean working. Whether you get a part-time job waiting tables, working behind a bar, on a shop floor, or somewhere on campus just to get a bit of extra cash, that experience will help you in an interview. It also shows that you’re not idle because you are working and trying to get real-life experience. Even if it’s just in the holidays your future employer will be pleased to see that you didn’t waste your summers lying by a pool. That’s what weekends are for!
If you can, try and get a job, internship or even work experience in an area that you think you would like to get into when you leave University. If you want to be a lawyer, try and get some experience in a law firm, or if you can, volunteer at the Citizens Advice Bureau. If you want to be a journalist, apart from (obviously!) writing for Her Campus, you can try and get writing experience by writing for local newspapers, or magazines. There are lots of copy-editing jobs, or free-lance proofreading jobs online too. They don’t always pay that well, but I promise the experience is worth more than the cash. Just putting your name out there can work too, and after sending off what feels like a billion cover letters and your CV to different businesses and companies I’m sure someone will see your potential and invite you for an interview. Even if they don’t have a job to offer you, make an impression and they will remember you and invite you back when they do.
In terms of building your skill set there are lots of courses and companies out there that help with transferable skills that will help you in the world of business. The Business Writing Academy (BWA) is an online, self-learning platform for people who want to improve the way they write and communicate with others. You can purchase individual modules or buy a complete suite to help grow your skills. There is a ‘Lite’ version without feedback and the full version with personalised feedback and marking by actual humans (no Chat GPT here). You will see your writing improve dramatically very quickly as you go through the modules which are yours to keep for ever. BWA is already an essential part of the MBA course at Kingston University, proving that these skills are necessary for anyone looking to make their transition to the working world easier. With courses on how to write press releases (perfect for anyone wanting to go into PR or Marketing), or how to do a great presentation (literally necessary for everyone who works) BWA has a great range… and there are bundle discounts.
Another great way to get help is by heading to our very own Careers Zone on Campus. Situated right behind SID in the forum, the Career Zone is here to help you with all things work-place related and can even help you write a CV if you haven’t got one. They also host lots of events that you can attend if you want help with something specific, like interview practice. Basically, if you have any questions about how to get a job, how to write a CV or cover letter, go to the Career Zone. You might even see our lovely editor, India, on the front desk! You can check out her articles about the Career Zone here and here!
The final thing that you should probably do before applying for jobs is set up a LinkedIn profile. Before you say it, let me stop you. It’s nothing like Facebook. This is a professional platform that is used for networking. There is no one posting “look at my cute dog dressed in a Halloween costume” or “out for drinks with the girls” – all posts are to do with businesses, being in a profession, and job opportunities. Your personal profile also acts as a CV in a way as you can document all your experiences, school information, any languages, prizes and skills you have that make you stand out. If you take one thing from this article, set up a LinkedIn account. You don’t have to post on LinkedIn, and in fact I would only recommend posting if you have something significant to post, like getting a new job, posting your degree results or an article you’ve written for Her Campus which you are particularly proud of. All potential employers will look you up on LinkedIn.
Trying to get a job once you leave university is hard work, and there will be times when you are faced with rejection. But that’s not always a bad thing. You will end up where you are meant to, and even if your first job isn’t your dream job (it is unlikely to be), you will get to where you are meant to with time, commitment, and perseverance. Trust me, it will all be fine.