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Finding your first job as a University Graduate

  • Publish Date: Posted over 4 years ago
  • Author:by Julie Mordue

There’s a lot of decisions to be made after graduating, or that’s certainly what it feels like after hanging up your cap and gown and finding the world of employment waiting on the other side. There’s either too many options, not enough, or no obvious path to landing your dream job.

To help you make your first steps as a university graduate, we’ve put together some useful insights for entering the world of work.

Success doesn’t happen overnight, or in a straight line

There’s a lot of pressure straight out of university to secure your dream job, and there can be a real sense of failure when the first round of applications fall short.

Manage your own expectations post-graduation and consider jobs and companies outside of your desired industry as more than just a contingency plan - they can still be valuable to your career progression.

Career success is no longer defined by longevity in a role. Staying with the same company or in the same industry for your entire career doesn’t guarantee the best chance of promotion or development opportunities.

If your ideal job isn’t obtainable straightaway, have other preferences lined up to ensure higher rates of application success.

Worry less about landing a ‘forever’ job and seek out the potential in other industries and other roles, recognising the valuable skills to be gained in order to aid future employment.

Not only does this open a wealth of options post-graduation and inspire you to look further afield, it might also cause you to reevaluate your goals. Everything looks different on the other side of experience, and at the very least it’s worth knowing the aspects of a job you like and dislike.

Do you like an office environment? Do you like being in a position of responsibility? How important is it that there’s a support system in place? Whatever the working environment, it will give you a sense of what is important to you as an employee.

There are many paths to be taken towards the role you really want and all experience is valuable, especially if the skills you’re building are transferable.

You’re a millennial – use it to your advantage

Navigating social media has become second nature to many, and is one of the best ways for graduates to find job opportunities - whether that’s searching for worthwhile networking events and local career’s fairs, or finding job vacancies through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Being able to filter information to your specific search requirements is just one of the ways to benefit from social media in your job search, especially when following bespoke recruitment hashtags and signing up for vacancy alerts. Increasing amounts of companies are turning to social platforms in order to advertise roles and source viable candidates. For graduates, this is a useful place to start scoping out the job market.

Professional Profiles

Social media also presents a great way for you to make yourself stand out as a candidate. Research suggests that 91% of employers screen candidates through social media*, which is why creating a professional persona online ought to be one of the first things you do after graduating. LinkedIn is the most popular professional social platform with 303 million active users per month and should be your first port of call for building a professional profile.

Personal social media profiles should be treated with caution and set to private in case recruiters find content that could have a negative impact on your job applications.

Small goals, big picture

Rather than fall victim to the notion of a 5-year or 10-year plan, try planning just 6-months to a year in advance when you graduate.

It can add unnecessary pressure to fixate on a long timeline.

Instead, find the value that smaller timeframes offer: more flexibility, less pressure, and more room to grow in the face of unexpected opportunities. This includes scope for volunteering, events and training courses – opportunities that could be integral to your career.

There are a lot of ways to measure success, including personal achievements that could contribute to career progression, particularly when it comes to skills development.

Managing your own expectations and not putting as much pressure on yourself to land your dream job straight out of university will make job hunting feel much more manageable and achievable.

An industry dedicated to helping job seekers

By talking about your experience, skillset, and goals with a specialist, it provides a third-party perspective that can be incredibly useful when evaluating your next steps.

Recruitment companies like NRG can present you with options you might never have otherwise considered, or could make it possible to take a step-up in the industry you’re already in. For graduates, this avenue can be pivotal in securing your first role, whether that’s within your desired industry or simply providing opportunities for valuable experience.