With the Christmas festivities behind us, a new year can present an array of new opportunities and resolutions. Diving into the graduate job search at the start of a new year is an opportune time as businesses start to build momentum again as they make plans for the year ahead.
Wading through the graduate job search to no avail can be discouraging - but with a new year comes a new plan of action, so here are 12 tips to shake up your graduate job search in 2017.
Plan, plan, plan
Drawing up a plan will not only keep you on track, but put you in good stead for tackling a new year of new graduate job openings. Compiling a to-do list for the month, whether that involves editing your CV, researching interview tips, or noting down any thoughts or questions will help keep your head clear and focused.
You might already be web-savvy, but for those of you who haven’t set up a LinkedIn account, do so now! LinkedIn is an employment-oriented social networking site which enables its users to showcase their work experience, skills and connections. After setting up an account, you might receive notifications of various people viewing your profile – this often happens during the job application process as employers and recruiters will want to look you up. Naturally, if this happens you will want to impress, so make sure your work experience and achievements are up-to-date – you wouldn’t submit an out of date CV and the same applies here.
The graduate job hunt can be long and frustrating, especially if you’re not sure where to begin and can’t figure out why you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Taking a step back to assess your current situation is crucial; what do you want to develop? What can you improve on? Establishing this will stop you from veering off course and put you in the right direction.
Clean up social media profiles
Social media makes it easier to discover more about people than ever before, especially employers and recruiters who may decide to vet social media accounts before getting in touch with graduates. Take some time to clean up your online presence - how you’re represented across your social media channels can play a pivotal part in your progress. Additionally, if you’ve declared yourself to be a social media marvel on your CV, but haven’t shared or posted much on Facebook and Twitter for a while, this might indicate to the employer that you’re not as passionate about it as stated.
Develop your skill set
Need an introduction to SEO, or want to brush up on your PhotoShop skills? There are plenty of courses to choose from if you’re looking to bulk up your experience, but if you’re on a tighter budget, keep an eye out for a selection at discounted prices. Get a date penned in the diary and fill your CV and boots with new valuable and knowledge.
Edit your CV
Whilst you don’t want to overdo it, if you haven’t been receiving as many responses as you thought you would, now might be the time to freshen up your CV. Tailor your graduate CV to every application by making sure key parts of the job description are reflected in your experience – is everything relevant? If there isn’t a direct link, use this opportunity to showcase any transferrable skills you picked up along the way.
Refresh your cover letter
The graduate cover letter can be a bit of an enigma – not sure what to include, what not to include and if employers even read them, but the truth is – they do. Nailing your graduate cover letter is crucial, as it is the first impression an employer has of you, and will probably stay with them whilst reviewing your application or graduate CV. Taking the time to ensure you haven’t made those common graduate cover letter mistakes is also a must, as you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle of the graduate job hunt.
Broaden your search
If you’re targeting larger businesses, you might be faced with a higher amount of competition. Looking out for graduate job vacancies within start-ups and smaller businesses could be just as beneficial, if not more so. Broadening your graduate job search can also involve looking for graduate jobs in different places e.g. visiting the job centre website or checking out classified ads in industry specific magazines. Shaking up your approach will open your eyes to more opportunities, rather than trawling through the same jobs boards everyday getting nowhere.
Attend networking events
The new year will welcome a new wave of networking events – both professional and personal. Seize this opportunity and introduce yourself. Even though you won’t be in a typical graduate job interview setting, you will want to leave a lasting impression with who you speak to e.g. creating and handing out business cards (including a URL of your LinkedIn profile), finding out who will be attending the event and learning their names beforehand. Interacting with a range of people will help build your confidence, which is never a bad thing!
Quality rather than quantity
Putting more time into completing graduate job applications will ensure you’re reading the job description carefully and will allow you to gain a better understanding of what the graduate job entails. It’s much better to do a couple of higher quality graduate job applications (picking the graduate jobs you’re sure you want), rather than a bunch of generic ones.
Look the part
How you present yourself in an interview also indicates to the interviewer how serious you are about the role and that you’ve acknowledged the office dress code. Treat yourself to a few smart selections of clothing – if you’re called in for a graduate job interview with only 24 hours’ notice, you will want to eliminate any additional stress and have an interview outfit prepared. Happy shopping!
Try something new
After a while, the graduate job search can become disheartening and you may find yourself losing motivation. Whilst it is important to sit back and reflect, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and expanding your horizons can help. This might involve venturing into a new sector or applying for a graduate job you would have not normally thought-about. You could take something valuable away from the experience; whether it's confirming your disinterest in a particular sector/role, developing your skill set, or sparking a newfound interest in a career you had not considered previously. Trying something new could help you tailor your graduate job search in 2017.