How to Find a Decent Graduate Job

Posted October 22, 2014 by
Melissa Burns

Melissa Burns

Hundreds of thousands of students graduate from colleges and join the workforce every year, and the vast majority of them have pretty vague ideas of what they are going to do next. Where to start, how to set about looking for the first serious job in their lives, how to do it, what to expect? No amount of theoretical training and advice can replace real experience. Yet we will try to give you a few tips that a lot of graduates and undergraduates may find quite useful.

1. Don’t Panic, Draw a Plan

The next time you read a headline like “There are 80 candidates after every job opening in the country”, don’t get too frightened. Journalists are prone to exaggerating, and believing every word they say won’t do you any good. No matter what your preferred field of activity is, there are jobs to be found in this sphere, and they won’t escape you if you approach the matter systematically.

Draw up a plan. Define what you can offer your employer, what experience you have, what your ambitions are. As a graduate, you are not forced to follow a pre-determined route – you have a fresh start. And whatever degree you have, there are a lot of applications for it – just keep looking.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Course

A lot of graduates think that their life was pre-ordained the moment they chose a college and a major. It is far from being true: firstly, there are a lot of connections between your degree and potential job openings in different fields, you should simply think out of the box. Secondly, a lot of people find success after drastically changing the course they were moving in, sometimes pretty late in life. If you feel that your education no longer corresponds to your desires, feel free to look somewhere else. Undergo medical coding training – it may open up a lot of opportunities for you even if previously you didn’t consider a medical career.

3. Ask People How They Got Their Jobs

If you know what job you would’ve liked to have eventually but it is too far-fetched a prospect to apply for it right now, don’t be shy – find somebody who already has a similar job and simply ask him how he got it. Don’t say that no high-ranking professional is going to talk to an unknown graduate. Have you ever actually tried asking? The idea that these people are unreachable and too busy to be concerned with such trivial matters comes from fear. Don’t be afraid. Contact them right now – whatever the outcome is, you will lose nothing. At worst, they won’t answer you. At best – who knows? Perhaps you will find a mentor who will help you in the future.

4. Create an Online Presence

Your potential employer is sure to check your online footprint. Google your name and think what your employer is going to think about you based on search results. Adjust privacy setting in social networks to make sure nothing untoward is presented to an outside viewer. Set up a LinkedIn profile, be careful to add all your skills, credentials and so on. In other words – create an impression of being a professional, no-nonsense individual.

5. Pay Attention to Smaller Companies

Don’t be obsessed with getting into a big graduate scheme. If it isn’t possible, look at smaller companies – there are a lot of job openings with them, and they are an excellent place to get more experience before heading to more privileged positions.

Getting your first job is always an unsettling experience, as it is your first step as a really independent person. But there is nothing to be afraid of – millions of people do it, and you will manage it, too.

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is graduating this year and is working on her own project Studday dedicated to deliver information about educational trends and opportunities to students all over the world.

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