If you read my first blog about my experience in finding a job after university, you will know it was not an easy task. Finding your first job can be overwhelming and even more so in today’s environment, but do not give up and let the pressure get you. Your friends will be finding jobs, and have it all worked out, but don’t let that dishearten you.
Whether you know what you want to do after University or School, or haven’t yet got it planned out, head over to your university careers advice team, who will help you with your CV, give you interview techniques, talk you through different grad schemes and more.
If you also follow these steps, you will surely be in the run in for your job after university/school.
Get your CV right
Many people have always said, keep your CV to two pages. However how can someone keep their CV to two pages if you have so much experience you want to share. Just between you and me, my CV is four pages long. Two to three pages is the norm, however if you don’t have much experience, then a one-page CV is fine. It’s all about getting the relevant information down onto your CV, including your responsibilities and your achievements.
You don’t need to share all your work experience. Keep it simple and uncluttered. Think about the role you are applying for and only share the experience that relates to that role, but don’t leave big gaps in your work experience. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, include your recent experiences and work back from there. I include all my roles in marketing but make my previous two roles more extensive than my first two roles. Plus, I don’t include any of my temp/short-term roles as they don’t apply to my career now. Some experiences will not always be relevant, so think about whether you want to include it.
Check your contact details are all correct, include a professional email address and your telephone number and ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. There are many things you don’t need to include, including references, extensive academic information, salary information, reasons for leaving past jobs, unnecessary personal information and any jargon. Once you get this right, you will be on the right path.
Writing a Cover Letter
Many people think, do I need a cover letter. I always say yes. It makes your CV stand out from the crowd. Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs, so ensure your CV stands out with a well written cover letter. The cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself, get your personality across and showcase your achievements. Make sure you keep the cover letter relevant to the role that you are applying for and link your work experiences to the role. Remember this is the first thing the recruiter will see, so make sure your grammar and spelling is on point.
Research the Role you are Applying for
A huge mistake people make when applying for jobs is not researching the company enough. Make sure you look over the company website, their mission statement, their social media channels and then tailor your application to the role. Make sure you put across why and how you would fit into the role and show your passion for the role in your cover letter. If you do this from the outset you will be much more prepared than other candidates when you get invited to the interview stage, especially if you are applying for numerous roles.
Your Work Experience
You’ve just finished university/school and don’t have any work experience. You must be thinking; how can I get a job in this competitive market. Well don’t worry. Think about what you can do to gain experience. There are several internships or apprenticeships you can apply for, although they might be unpaid, they will provide you with relevant experience to then find a paid job. Some internships turn to permanent paid roles, so definitely think about it.
If you are still at university, make sure you take the time to find work or internships during the term breaks, or even think about a gap year. This will put you on the right path for when you graduate from university. If you are at school, think about what you want to do after you finish school. If you are not going to university, then start to look at apprenticeships that might put you on the right path. Your university/school also have careers advisors that can help, so speak to them and see what might be available.
Network and Connect
This is one of the best ways to get your name out in the market. As I mentioned in my social post, get yourself on LinkedIn, join up to groups and follow people that influence you. Throughout the groups you will find people promoting networking events that will benefit you, so look for ones that would be of interest to your career. Search for networking events in your desired industry and you will find a list of websites providing free events that you can sign up to. Eventbrite is perfect for finding events near you.
Don’t Give Up
You might have to go through hundreds of applications and rejections before you find the right role, but don’t give up. Finding a job after university/school is very competitive and tough as there will be many people applying for the same role. Ensure you touch base with the recruiter to get feedback on your interviews. This will help you amend your approach for when you apply and interview for other roles. Don’t let the interview process get you down. Keep your head up and keep applying. You will learn so much from the process and build your confidence on the way.