It can seem like a long, very long while to go before you need to start applying for graduate jobs. And I genuinely think that the first two years of being a student should really be about learning, having fun and making the most of the student experience.
However, don’t be mistaken. It’s a very competitive market these days. The number of people graduating each year is more and more. So, it will pay off doing a few of the things below to just make you stand out and at the very minimum, secure an interview.
I graduated in 2013. It took me a very long time to secure my first graduate job. I had to work as an intern on £500 a month, living in London in a house that was basically an extension of a mosque. It was tough. I then worked in sales. And finally, offered my first proper graduate job. But this pain, whilst incredibly rewarding, is one that could be avoided if I had been more proactive at uni.
So here’s a few suggestions:
1. Start thinking about what you might want to do after you graduate
Believe me, the end goal is not getting a job. You want to do something as a career that you genuinely have an interest in. It doesn’t have to be the dream job. But, perhaps you could work in the same industry as your dream job. Perhaps you could begin as an intern or assistant. I can’t stress this enough. Whilst it may seem like all you want is £25k a year, from which you can buy your VW Scirocco, get married and begin your “life”, remember that you’re going to spend a lot of your time at work. So, it makes sense that you try and look for something that you think you’ll enjoy. So, get thinking!
Having a degree is just a way of getting you noticed. But, there’s a big wide world out there! You can do anything you want. Start paying attention to what you find interesting and start researching.
So you might have some ideas. Maybe do a bit of research. What sort of experience do you need? What sort of things do potential employers look for? Is there a chance of getting some work experience over the summer? What’s the recruitment process like?
3. Your CV
Let’s get your CV in draft mode. Start working on this hugely important document that you’ll absolutely need later on. It might not be perfect from day one, but at least make a start. You can make revisions as you go along. There’s tons of stuff available online that you can use. Even free templates. There should also be a recruitment team at your university who can review your CV for free and give you really useful advice.
4. Try taking some of the psychometric tests
These can be solid, unless you’re like Zainab who just aces everything… So take a few. Start getting a feel for what they’re like. A lot of employers require you to pass these, just to be considered for a job.
5. Get some work experience
Getting work experience can go a really long way. And it can also serve to give you a feel for what it’s like to work in the industry. It may be un-paid, but it’ll be worth it. The worst case scenario is that you figure out that the type of work doesn’t quite float your boat. And that’s cool! You’ve learned something.
All in all guys, I’m just saying don’t make assumption that getting a job after uni will be easy. It takes proactive action, preparation and hard work to make it happen.