Adios long university assignments, farewell to partying hard into the early hours and so long to struggling to keep your eyes open during long lectures. Ah, the nostalgic yearning for uni days fades fast as you’re suddenly thrust out into the working world – endless job applications, fierce competition, and hoping to secure that interview. With patience, determination and application, your dream job may not be far away.
Yet for many graduates, finding that elusive first job after uni is not an easy ride. Latest figures show that in the arts and entertainment sector, there were 19,000 vacancies and 50,340 university enrolments in 2017 – 160% more people than jobs advertised. So, if your degree is in the arts, then it’s smart to start early and get yourself ready to shine – made easy with our 10 tips for finding a job after university…
1. Polish that CV
Time to brush up on your CV. Even if you haven’t looked it for six months or more, take a look at some example CVs online for inspiration. And if you’re struggling to do it justice, there are a number of sites offering free CV reviews – try Reed’s service.
2. Practise interview techniques
With all those applications in the melting pot, you’ll need to be ready and primed, should that invite to interview arrive in your inbox. Every interview format varies slightly, but there are some common techniques that work well. Take a look on YouTube and check out Monster’s 10 most-common interview questions. Get practising and video yourself answering some questions. Make sure they address the role requirements and the values of the company you’re looking for. Practice makes perfect.
3. Join a professional social network
Building a network is vital in your early career. As well as a being a great way to stay in touch with your uni mates, you’ll also get to meet some new contacts who share your interests. Consider joining a professional social network like LinkedIn. Make sure your profile and photo give off a professional persona and be sure to include details of all the transferable skills you’ve developed from your study and any part time work, including teamwork and customer service skills.
4. Be adaptable and realistic
If you are struggling to find a job you want in a specific sector, consider other opportunities in new sectors where you can use your transferable skills. You might find an opportunity you hadn’t considered before. Also, be realistic – although a starting salary might not be as high as you’d hope for, there may be clear progression opportunities which lead to salary increases.
5. Friends and family
Everyone knows someone whose company are on the lookout for good people. Ask family and friends to keep you in mind if any entry-level jobs are advertised at their places of work. And if any of them are on LinkedIn, ask for a shout-out; add your own update to say you’re on the lookout for work. Include who you are, what you’ve studied, what you’re looking for and what skills you can bring. Then encourage them to share. They will – sharing is caring!
6. Referral schemes
Your uni buddies may secure a post-study job in a well-known company. Well, don’t forget that many companies offer employee referral schemes, where incentives are given in return for a current employee referring an external person to an open vacancy. This could be for a role that YOU successfully secure. This is a great way for you to get an opportunity to interview for a role in a company that values like-minded people. And you get to team up with your uni buddy again!
If you’re really struggling to find that first job post-university, consider volunteering for a local or national charity. Charities are always looking for good people to help them out and you may even secure a paid job. Helping out, even a few hours a week, could really help boost your chances of gaining the job you want by building new transferable skills – and making some fab friends at the same time.
8. Register on job boards
Be sure to register a profile with all the major job boards such as Monster, Reed and Indeed. Upload your CV and set your preferences to allow recruiters to contact you directly about possible roles.
9. Contact your uni
The good news is that many higher-education institutions like Robert Gordon University offer excellent support to help your job search; so be sure to enquire with your uni to find out what support is on offer. Many have great contacts with local businesses in your area.
10. Send a speculative CV
Use LinkedIn to shortlist several companies you feel match your education, skills and interests. Then email or post out a copy of your CV expressing your interest in future roles, with a covering letter summarising what you’d bring to the company.
By putting into place a few of these tips and applying a good measure of sheer determination and plenty of patience, you should find doors opening for you; ones leading to a fulfilling career pursuing your passions or exploring new interests you’d not considered. Good luck!