These days, it’s fair to say that a degree alone is not enough to guarantee someone their dream job. In some cases, even a postgraduate degree or experience on graduate schemes isn’t enough. While some sectors and industries are crying out for people with particular skills, other jobs will attract numerous applications for candidates with postgraduate qualifications. Graduate recruitment is in a rough place, so check out our advice on how to gain a career after university!
- In June 2013 it was reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency that nearly one in 10 graduates were unemployed six months after graduation.
- However, there’s no guarantee that those who do find employment find a job that requires a degree.
- In fact, the number of graduates taking on menial jobs such as shelf stacking and rubbish collecting has almost doubled in six years, while six per cent of students that graduated in 2012 are employed in jobs that do not require degrees.
While it isn’t easy to land yourself an ideal job as a graduate or postgraduate, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances. None of these are guaranteed to find you employment, and they aren’t a replacement for having an impressive CV, but they are all things that certainly won’t hinder your job search and could prove to be the difference between you and the other graduates looking for jobs.
Make the most of your connections
While studying at university, you will have no doubt been taught by people that are leaders in their field, or even taken part in graduate schemes. Your lecturers and professors won’t have got to where they are now by themselves – they will have been helped along the way by many other influential people in their area of expertise, and likewise they will have helped many other people get where they are today.
- Even if you don’t want to get involved in academia or graduate programmes, using the relationships you nurture while at university to your advantage may open up opportunities that simply wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
- It’s best not to get to the academic year and simply start asking your lecturers how they can help you get a job or a place on graduate programmes – instead make it known throughout the year what you would like to do after your study.
- Remember that relationships work both ways – you shouldn’t expect something for nothing, and if there’s a way for you to help out your lecturers you should jump at the chance.
You should also try to cultivate relationships with your fellow students – you never know, they might have news about a potential job that could be just right for you, so it’s worth letting people know (without being pushy) what it is you hope to achieve as a postgraduate.
Consider an internship
After years of having to budget like a student, the last thing you’ll want to do when you finish your studies is work into a poorly paid, or perhaps even unpaid internship. However, if you’re able to find yourself an internship you’ll be in a much better position to get the job you’ve been working towards.
Many companies end up offering interns a permanent position amongst their staff if they can prove they’re of value; while even if you aren’t lucky enough to turn your internship into a paid position, the experience will do you the world of good when applying for other jobs. After all, as great as your grades may be, in graduate recruitment there’s no substitution for experience.
Don’t rely on advertised positions
One mistake many people make when they’re looking for jobs or graduate schemes, is only applying to positions that are advertised as vacant. By sending letters of interest to potential employers you can show them you have a pro-active approach that would be of great value to them.
While mentioning why you’re interested in working for their company is important, you should focus on explaining to them what you would be able to offer. While there’s no guarantee a company will have a position available for you if you are able to stand out they will let you know when there are any vacancies, and you will be marked out as a candidate to keep a close eye on.
Finding work is hardly easy
While it’s clear that the graduates of 2013 will have a harder time finding their ideal job than the graduates of a decade ago, there is still employment out there for most students leaving university if they look hard enough.
While there are horror stories of graduates unsuccessfully applying for hundreds of jobs, the good news is that most graduates will eventually be able to find employment as long as they are willing to persevere.