Our graduate guide to job searching

Home Our graduate guide to job searching
12 Oct 2020
For job-seekers

We’ve been sharing a lot of advice and resources with recent graduates on the best way to approach their job hunt, so we thought it might be helpful to curate it all into a comprehensive guide for graduates. If you’re newly qualified and on the job market, or you know someone who is, then this is the blog for you… 

1. Get your CV right 

Yes, we know it’s boring and often graduates don’t have a lot of experience to include, but just the way you lay out a CV and describe your skills and qualifications will say a lot about you. This is the ultimate job seeking tool (despite what you may read or hear questioning their ongoing relevancy in the world of recruitment) – so you do need to get it right. Luckily for you, we have an infographic on nailing your CV right here. It’s also important to remember that your CV can evolve and shape-shift depending on the role and industry you’re applying for. It’s not a static, one-size-fits-all document; it’s a template for you to tweak and refine for each application.  

2. Register with recruitment agencies 

This is important for a number of reasons, but mostly because the more people you have in your corner the more likely you are to find that perfect first role. Think about the type of job you’re looking for and register with specialist agencies in those sectors; but also think about how far you’re prepared to travel and Google the agencies in those areas who will have their fingers in the local pies. If you’re not sure what to expect from working with an agency, here’s our handy rundown on how recruitment agencies work and our blog on the different types of contracts and opportunities out there. Our articles on how to get your job application noticed by an agency and how to apply for jobs above your experience level might be helpful too. 

3. Use LinkedIn (and other social media) 

The great thing about LinkedIn for graduate job searching is its reach. Here’s what we think you should do: 

  • Top up your skills with a certified training course, which you can then display on your profile (this will help to quantify and benchmark your skills, show your commitment to professional development in a particular field and demonstrate you’ve spent your time wisely since graduation). 
  • Research and apply for jobs being advertised directly by companies – LinkedIn is your hotline to potential employers, many of whom don’t work with agencies and many whose primary recruitment channel is through the platform. Set up job alerts so you get the latest vacancies sent straight to your phone. 
  • Make it clear in your profile that you are open to opportunities – you can tick a box that shows you’re willing to receive relevant roles from agencies, and you can use the #opentowork hashtag with your posts (and in your bio). 
  • Add your CV – yes, we know we said your CV is a template that you can tweak and edit depending on the opportunity, but it’s been proven that profiles with CVs get far more views from hiring companies and agencies so it’s worth creating a LinkedIn version for this purpose. (Just make sure your profile aligns with your CV.) 
  • Log in every day – things move fast and you need to be present and visible to leverage the best opportunities. 
  • Have a look at online internships. Lots of companies advertise these through LinkedIn and they’re a great way to get experience, make some connections and add more skills to your CV while you’re looking. 

Just bear in mind, anything you say on social media is in the public domain so make sure you’ve reviewed your privacy settings on any platforms you use. Have a look at our blog on using social media in your job search – it might make all the difference. 

4. Get on the job boards 

Job boards are search engines that display job openings. Organisations and recruitment agencies use job boards to post open positions and search CV databases. Job seekers use job boards to find new career opportunities and apply for jobs online. There are lots out there, but some of the main ones you’ve possibly heard of are Reed, Indeed, CV Library and Total Jobs. They can feel overwhelming at first, but they’re a great tool. We suggest you: 

  • Only apply for things that are relevant to you – there’s no point skimming the adverts and flinging off applications without in-depth exploration, or you’ll end up looking unprofessional and unprepared.  
  • Keep track of the roles you’re applying for – if you get a call from a company or recruitment agency, you’ll need to be able to immediately call to mind the details of the job they’re contacting you about! 
  • Tailor your CV to the job you want, rather than focus on what you have (or have not) achieved. By this we mean, use the language from the advert and person specification and highlight the content that best supports your application for this role. 
  • Log in daily – like LinkedIn, things move fast and being on your game will reap rewards. 
  • Keep your details up to date and relevant – if you’ve earned another qualification or certification, make sure you add it; if you’re changing the sector or type of role you’re looking for, tweak your search settings accordingly. Used well, job boards will bring the opportunities right to your door. Used without due care and consideration and they can do more damage to your search than good. 

5. Be clear on what you want 

Not everyone comes out of university knowing what they want to do or be (let’s be honest, most people don’t). If you don’t know how to narrow down your search yet, have a read of our blog on finding the right career for you. You might also find ‘How important is a degree to your career?’ helpful too. 

Good luck! 

Please let us know how we can best support your job search – we love being a graduate matchmaker! You can reach us on 01932 355000 or email hello@amber-employment.co.uk. 

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