The UK job market is looking good for new graduates and the number of vacancies is steadily increasing, so make sure your efforts are rewarded by doing some preparation. Getting your first job can be a daunting task, so we’ve put together a helpful checklist of the things you should do to help you through the first steps. Remember, if you need any advice or support with your job search and applications, talk to our team at the University’s Careers and Employment service.
It’s worth having a top quality CV as it’s the first impression a potential employer has of you and gives you a much better chance of getting that vital face to face interview, so invest some time in rewriting yours into an up-to the minute cv style that doesn’t look dated.
Once you have this, you can tailor the CV – and your application - to each job you apply for, highlighting the relevant skills and experience that match the requirements of the job description, personal statement, or competency-based questions in the application.
Make sure to include lots of descriptive words that showcase your skills and experience and get you to the attention of the hiring manager, showing why you are the best candidate for the job. Don't be afraid to sell yourself.
Finding your job
Once you have a great looking CV, you are ready to start your job search. First check in with the University careers and Employment service who can help get you started with great advice, ideas and essential webinars to get your search started.
Make sure you go to several careers fairs with your CV and find out about who the companies are and what they do. But keep an open mind about who you would like to work for as it’s much better to have a job and be gaining valuable experience than be waiting for the perfect role to come up.
If you do have a great company in mind that you have always wanted to work for, then give the human resources team a quick call, it shows initiative and that your genuinely interested. They might have entry level or graduate positions that are not listed on the website yet, and speaking in person is by far the most effective approach as you can sell yourself and your skills much more effectively than in an email.
Registering in person with high street recruitment agencies like Hays, Reed, and Adecco and also online job boards like Indeed, are also really useful, as they have access to temporary and permanent roles and can get you work while you keep searching for a graduate role. They also have job alerts and smartphone apps to help you apply for roles as soon as they appear, and make sure you update your social media profiles as recruitment agencies often connect and post new roles on them eg. LinkedIn.
It’s also really useful to look through the traditional regional and national press job pages as they still carry entry level positions and are a really useful source of career information.
You gave a great application for the job and now they want to see you for an interview. Probably the best way to prepare is to have a good look through their website and social media and see what they are most proud of. Iif they have a new product or service about to launch and you know about it, it will show just how interested you are in the company.
Also look through the job description again and see how you answered the questions as they might crop up again in the interview, you can also research common interview questions to give you an idea of what they will ask. Be confident, friendly and sell yourself - answer their questions clearly and succinctly but don’t ramble on.
You gave it your best shot and…
Maybe you didn’t get the job. You may be feeling a bit rejected when you went out at the application stage or after interview – and this is totally natural and something everyone experiences when they are looking for a new job. You can turn this to your advantage by contacting the company and asking for feedback about how the interview went. Asking your interviewer what you did well at, and where you can improve can really help you approach the next job application with an increase in self-knowledge and confidence and will help you get the next job!
You gave it your best shot again and…
You’ve got the job! It’s a good feeling, and you should definitely go out and celebrate. Also make sure you fill out any paper work the company’s HR team send you and find out as much as you can about your first day of employment – where do you need to go, and who do you need to talk to. When you start on your first day, make sure you ask lots of questions, get to know your colleagues and enjoy the buzz of a new job!
Internal Communications Coordinator