5 Steps To Finding and Securing A Graduate Job

You've worn the gown and the mortarboard and received the evidence of your 4 years of hard work on a piece of rolled up card- now what?

This was exactly my thought the day after my graduation in July 2015. I was lucky in that I had secured a job in the April but that didn't stop me from feeling worried in that I no longer had a teacher or lecturer directing me through every step and decision.

In truth, I believed that after university I would be absolutely sure about what I wanted to do and know the exact steps I needed to take to get there. Fast forward 1 year and a bit and I'm sitting in my living room writing this on a cold, wet Sunday. Do we really ever understand what we want out of life? After all, we spend so much of our lives in employment we absolutely MUST enjoy it, for the most part!

I've thought about this often, so I have put together a few tips on how to find a job that you enjoy and WANT to do! 

1. What are you PASSIONATE about?

This is a question I always ask myself and it's one that I often thought too much into. It doesn't even involve too much thinking. When you are doing something, wether it's writing, doing sport, acting or designing, do you just get that feeling in your gut that this is what makes you truly happy? If you are an active person that is onto sport, you will not flourish in an office environment. If you are a natural 'outside of the box' thinker and you like to design things, a job that is limiting to you will kill your creativity. 

Make a list of the things that you are PASSIONATE about and a list of things that if you had to do them everyday, you'd run for the hills. 

It sounds simple, but I am 24 years old and have only thoroughly thought about this recently. It helps to de-mistify your thinking and it gives you something to work with at the very least. Honestly!

2. Take your PASSION and work on SELF-LEARNING

Now this isn't so easy. We, as new graduates, are used to being told what to do and when to do it. Throughout school and university or college you had homework set, deadlines to meet and exams to sit. Suddenly you have to stand on your own two feet and you feel somewhat Bambi-fied. A bit shaky, with a wobble here and there that results in a fall. The important thing is that you get up, brush yourself down, and start again.

The key here is self-motivation and self-discipline. If you can discipline yourself you will be unstoppable. 

For example - I did straight up business studies at University. Although I liked my course, I felt like I wasn't actually 'knowledgeable' in anything specific. A 'Jack of all trades' came to mind as I started to doubt myself and thought that I should have chosen a more specialised subject such as Digital Marketing, E-Commerce or Advertising. One year on I say this... after graduation, never ever let the thought that you did the wrong course cross your mind as you will just become deflated. FULL STOP.

Think of it this way, undertaking a course at University or College shows that you can listen attentively, learn new things quickly, work in teams, work independently and manage your time effectively. 

These skills alone are valuable to any employer. 

Allow your course to give you the steps you need to get where you need to be. I am interested in digital marketing - social media, content creation, blogging, online advertising etc etc etc... If I was to read one, just one article a week on one of these subjects it wouldn't take long until I knew a thing or two. I think the best place to find these articles is on LinkedIn although I do like a few other websites that I have 'pinned' to my browser. 

Remember, learn independently and do something to stand out from the crowd...


There is only one thing to be said here and that is LinkedIn.

If you aren't familiar, LinkedIn is a professional network where you can have your own profile of your job and employment history, skills set, awards, achievements and everything in between. It is more or less an online CV.

How do you feel about being headhunted? That is a possibility on LinkedIn. Ensure your profile reaches 'All-Star' status and make a point of spending 10/15 minutes each day writing your own updates, sharing others' updates, commenting in discussions and joining groups. Being active is highly important as some of your activities will be viewed on other's feed. Like I said previously, connect with those who you aspire to be like (I simply searched for 'Digital Marketing' or 'Social Media' Executives/Managers in my area and went on a 'friending' spree), connect with industry leaders and local business people. This is a networking site after all - use it to network!

If you do this you will start receiving messages. Now some of these will be from people in your network using LinkedIn as a promotional tool (and that's ok right? It's what LinkedIn is for after all) but you may gain the odd message from someone who is recruiting for a specific position and thinks you will be a good fit. You might agree or you might not, but sure you never know until you try!

(P.s. Again, how are you standing out on LinkedIn? My blog isn't my job but I have it listed as a job because then it can't be missed when someone visits my page. What is your USP?) 

4. Do another COURSE

Like I said previously, I don't regret doing my degree but I may (in the future!) do another more specialised course in something like digital marketing or SEO. This doesn't have to be extortionate in price, I might look to see what my local college has to offer. Even a one night a week part-time type of thing will be good...

If you look hard enough you might find some learning resources online for free. If you are into online marketing, the Google Digital Garage is a free training course offering tutorials for everything a marketer needs to know. The best part is this - you choose which topics are applicable to you and at the end of the course you will receive certification from Google. Who says you can get nothing fo' free these days?

5. Smash the INTERVIEW

Now if you aspire to to become an actor this will suit you down to the ground, get your script ready because you have a role to play! Be confident, know that you're capable and act like you have already secured the job. Take note of these tips...

A. Research the company AND the interviewer.

I once had an interview for a hotel and one of the questions was 'how many rooms do we have?' Well, talk about a curveball. I was ready to list my strengths and why I so suited to the job and I forgot one simple thing, I forgot to do my research! Do you know the interviewer's name? Search them on LinkedIn (aha!) and find out one piece of information about them. Mention an achievement or a skill. Impressive.

B. Don't rush

Trying to get your answer all out in one breath won't work. Take your time and think before speaking. This sounds easy but it's really not, especially when you are in 'fight or flight' mode.

C.  'Have you any questions?'

This is always asked at the end. Asking questions helps you determine not only if you are right for the job, but if the job is right for you. It also shows initiative an that you have actually took the time to think about finding out more information.

That's it! 5 steps to finding and securing a graduate job. Like this post? Tweet me @EmmaLouRose_ox

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