Home > Andi, Graduation, Job Seeking > Why graduation is the worst time to look for a job

Why graduation is the worst time to look for a job

If you are as unlucky as the most of us, you will know exactly how stressful looking for work can be. Especially with such a dismal economic climate. Holding off the job search until after graduation is a sure way to go grey prematurely, and get yourself extremely wound up.

With regards to the job search, you should be on top of your game at all times. Looking for work doesn’t have to feel like you’re pushing a car up a hill! The best advice I can give is draw up your job search strategy as early as possible, especially if you have recently begun, or you will soon be embarking on a degree course. There are an innumerable pool of resources to help you, but following the guidelines below will set you well on your way.

1. Create a LinkedIn profile – If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, Google it. Basically, it is Facebook for professionals, and an extremely powerful tool for any job hunter or networker. Whenever the opportunity arises in the applications you are completing, find ways to insert your LinkedIn public profile URL. I usually put it in the closing paragraph of a cover letter, referring the recruiter to browse my LinkedIn profile for further details on my background and my recommendations. There is also the option of customising your URL, which puts you closer to the top of search results. You can find more details on how to do this here. It should look something like this http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andithompson.

2. Manage your online brand – Being internet savvy is one of the most critical skills in today’s professional world. I guarantee that the majority of people will Google you once they have your name. What sort of impression will they get from your Facebook pictures, your Twitter rants, your  blog? Even if you don’t use these sites, maybe Google yourself and see what comes up. Put yourself in the recruiters shoes. What would you want to see online from potential employees?

3. Decide on your USP – Why would anyone want to employ you? What makes you stand out from the crowd? How do you describe yourself? Enthusiastic, a team plater, motivated, proactive, customer focused, tenacious? There’s hundreds of different adjectives and phrases to choose from, and it might be worth getting a little creative. A little ‘out of the box’ thinking might just get you that call-back.

4. Practice your elevator pitch – Opportunities can arise anywhere. Imagine discovering mid-conversation that you are talking to the head of recruitment from one of the big four consultancies (if consultancy interests you). You may not get another opportunity to sell yourself, so make sure you have a think about what makes you a prime piece of employable meat. Your personal elevator pitch should be short, and make sure its interesting enough to form a firm impression on the individual you are speaking with.

5. Narrow your career focus – It’s no good applying for every job under the sun. Think about what interests you, and try to identify the sorts of industries and companies you would enjoy working for. Be strategic, and research the companies and industries you are looking into.

6. Phone when you can – Always pick up the phone when the option is available. This is extremely important when it comes down to applying for a position. Apart from slight differences in your application from another, making yourself known to a recruiter before applying gives you an opportunity to get your foot in the door before it’s even unlocked. If you have not been able to identify a named individual from the organisation who processes applications, call the company up and ask. Be curious and ask questions.

7. Ensure you follow-up – After meeting someone you want to keep in touch with, reinforce that first meeting as soon as possible. If you happen to get talking to a speaker at an event for example, go up and speak to them after the talk. Send them an email later that day affirming how well you thought the presentation went, and recover a few points you thought important. The point here is always be proactive, and don’t let any opportunity pass you by. Reinforce your interest in the individual and their content, and establish a firm foundation to what should hopefully turn out to be a mutually beneficial relationship. The same goes for after a you have submitted a job application.

8. Keep on trucking – The job search can be a demoralising process, and requires strategy. The more people you interact with the better. You may hit set backs and rejections, but in the end things tend to work out, most often than not, through sheer luck. Keep smiling. Keep optimistic. And remember to take a break every now and again.

Please comment and share your job seeking experience. The comment button is at the top of the post or you can press here

Categories: Andi, Graduation, Job Seeking
  1. Alexey Mitko
    October 27, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Yay! Our first post :’)

    I know that some of our readers either got their jobs recently or are in the process of doing so. I would be very interested to hear their experiences.

  2. Alexey Mitko
    October 29, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Personally I also found quite helpful visiting student career services. I know these people get blamed a lot for not being helpful, but I think it is the result of heightened expectations. It never hurts to visit them and have them look at your resume. In my case, after two-three trips I managed to create a quite presentable two-page resume from the one-page mess I had (I just realised that I had a mess by looking at the older version).

    Also regarding the career fairs, I think the first time I went I was expecting to receive an internship, but the reply I always got was “Apply at our website”. Eventually I realised that career fairs are not actually there so that you can get a job, but they allow you to practice your elevator pitch and USPs, building up your confidence for the actual interview.

    Also quite important is to get to know your campus recruiters for the company you want to apply for. You can use their names in the application! There is nothing better then recruiter scanning your application, noticing their name and remembering talking to you. It’s like you already had your first interview!

  3. Johannes
    October 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I also find it helpful to have a working link to my personal Website in my LinkededIn profile 😉

    • November 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Hi Johannes, thanks for pointing that out. Now redone!! Cheers

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