If you have just left university, there are some simple steps you can take to make it easier to take that first step on the career ladder, says Mark Looker from RedSprout.
Consider looking for a part-time job first
It might seem like an odd place to start, but beginning your career can often be a stressful and lengthy process, so having an income during your job searching can prove a big help in the long run. It also means that you’ll have some extra work experience for your CV, which tends to look a lot better to employers than a big unexplained gap in your work history.
Make use of the valuable free time
Leaving university might feel hugely liberating at first, seeing as you’re now free of all those tedious lectures and looming deadlines. However, as much as you may have hated them, they did provide a form of structure to your daily life that will likely need substituting if you plan on remaining productive. A few good suggestions would be learning a new language, taking up a new sport, or maybe doing some volunteering. Any of these options will sound a lot better to your future employer than saying you’re all caught up with your favourite TV shows.
Write up a new CV
This might have been something you’ve been putting off during your studies, but if your old CV is in need of a polish then now is the time to do it. The obvious first step would be to add your new qualification, but it might also be worth researching templates and examples of CV’s in the sector that you’re trying to break into, just to ensure that you are not missing anything obvious that employers might be expecting to see.
Get yourself online
Another easy early step to employment is to start putting your name out their online, so that employers and recruiters have an easier time finding you. LinkedIn is a good place to start, but depending on your line of work, you may want to start a professional website for yourself, or perhaps an online portfolio. All of this should lend you a great deal of credibility, not to mention free promotion of what you can offer as an employee.
Make yourself appear as professional as possible
If you’re a graduate these days then chances are you still have an embarrassing email handle from your youth, or some forgotten social media page that comes to the top of the search results when you look up your name on the internet. It’s for that reason that we strongly recommend an online spring clean, so that you’re all set to spruce up your other accounts in line with your job searching.
Do your research beforehand
You might be a little sick of research after all those university assignments, but getting a job usually requires a fair bit of it in order for you to succeed. For instance, it’s probably worth researching what your dream jobs entail, where they are typically located and how much they pay. Without this knowledge, you’ll basically be job hunting blind, plus the more you know the more prepared you’ll be for the interview stage to come.
Focus your job search
You might be tempted at first to apply to any old job that sounds remotely close to the career you’re after, but usually this is a waste of energy. You’re probably be much better off using that time to thoroughly research what suitable jobs are actually out there, so that you can focus your time and effort on them instead.
Join a recruitment company
As a recruitment company ourselves, we are not oblivious to the bad reputation that some recruiters have. However, if you use the right ones you’ll usually find that it’s worth it, as most recruiters only get paid once you get a job, so they’ve got all the incentive in the world to make that happen. They also typically have access to a range of vacancy that you may not, so it certainly won’t damage your chances of finding that dream job.
Consider further education
If you’ve read this far and nodded through each of the tips, but are still finding it impossible to get work, then it might be worth considering further studies. Having more than one degree often diversifies you as an employee, which in turn could open up new employment opportunities for you, plus there has not been a better time to become a post-graduate in the UK, now that the government has started offering loans to fund them in the same way as undergraduate degrees.
Never stop being proactive
Overall, the best and possibly most cliché piece of advice we can offer is not to give up. Looking for a job often takes far longer than you expect and that quickly takes its toll when you’re not getting the results you’re hoping for. However, it’s important to remember that none of this represented defeat until you stop trying and give up, so don’t.