5 Tips for Getting a Job After Uni

April 18, 2017

get a job after uni

April is a hugely busy time for everyone in university. Whether you're completing first year, are a second year choosing your final modules, or a third year finally handing in your dissertation - you'll probably be stressing about something.

Most likely, you're also thinking about how the choices you make now could influence your job search in the future. Handing in my dissertation last April was one of the most scary but relieving things ever. Only to be followed by the anxiety of getting a job. My second year brought the realisation that this is my last summer and the feeling I'd be unlikely to get work experience if I don't do it now. My first year just passed me by and made me anxious and aware that time was going way too quickly.

I guess you could say that I understand the struggle. Juggling uni work, reading, your part-time job, socialising, seeing family, seeing your partner, applying for jobs and trying to keep your head above the water is mentally shattering. So I wanted to impart some tips I learnt along the way and some things I wish I had known.

1. Try and get some work experience

Everyone says it. Everyone tells you that you should do it. But if you're anything like me, you'll spend the summer drinking, eating and sleeping. As I started my final year, I realised I didn't really have any experience in what I wanted to do after uni. I started working with The University Paper, a national student newspaper and I'm so glad I did. I took on more responsibility but if you're a writer you can just pick and choose whether to write an article that month based on how much time you have. Stuff like this is great because it means you get put it on your CV without it taking up loads of time.  All of the job interviews I went to asked me about my time here. I was interviewing for copywriting positions so all editing, writing and proofreading experience was obviously of interest.

Try your best to get a little work relevant to what you want to do after uni (if you know!). Even blogging is worth putting on your CV! While I knew I wanted to write, I had no idea what job I wanted to do. Employers are generally favourable to those who have had any previous experience or are involved in societies etc. so get yourself out there and build that CV!

2. Network, meet people, don't be afraid to talk

This is something I wish I had done more of. I did very little, if any, networking while I was at uni. It felt too grown up and I didn't feel experienced enough to speak to people in the ~business world~. Although meeting new people is now part of my job, the thought of going to events on my own, be it blogging, business or social, still terrifies me.

However, apart from the job I'm in now, I got all my previous jobs because I know someone connected to the workplace. I hate to admit it but knowing someone in a particular workplace is definitely going to better your chances of getting an interview. Even if you just start building up your LinkedIn profile, a good network of people is a great way to kick-start your career and get your foot in the door. Don't forget, those intimidating business folk are humans too and more often than not, they're more than happy to help you out.

3. Apply for as many relevant jobs as you can, even if you think you don't have the experience

We've all seen those graduate roles that require you to have five years experience, two degrees and an internship under your belt before you've even graduated! For weeks I scrolled past all the job ads that asked for multiple 'essential requirements' thinking 'oh.. I'll never get that because I haven't done X'. But I know first hand that employers will often bend the rules for the right enthusiastic candidate.

Apply for the roles you want to do, not the ones you only think you have a chance at. You have nothing to lose. Put some effort into your application, emphasise when you're passionate about something, call them if you need to. If you're willing to learn on the job and put the effort in, most employers will recognise this and are prepared to sacrifice a little experience for someone who actually cares about the role.

4. Don't get demotivated by rejection

It's all good and well me telling you to apply for as many jobs as you can but this also means you'll be racking up those rejection emails in no time. It's all too easy to take these to heart and get so down by it all. Sure, it's not nice being told that you're not good enough. But there are thousands of graduates in the same position as you, all applying for the same jobs, all hoping they don't get yet another rejection.

Your time will come. You will eventually be that person who leaves other graduates disappointed. You will be that one person who finally gets the job they want to do. It might take weeks; it might take months. But keep trying, keep chatting and keep on keeping on. You will get there.

5. Don't settle for something you know you don't want to do

So you've been applying for two months with no luck. You decide to broaden your job search and apply for any and every graduate job going. You land yourself a job offer and you snatch it up. You waste two years in a miserable job that does nothing for your CV or help you towards your future careers goals.

Don't apply for jobs you definitely don't want to do. It took one of my friends until September, working part-time in a bar and living with her mum, to finally get a job role she wanted. Now she flits between London and Amsterdam working with some of the biggest brands in the world. If you know you want to be in Marketing, don't apply for a recruitment role. If you want to be a teacher, don't apply for sales roles. It sounds like common sense but the more desperate you get, the wider your job search will become. If you truly have a passion for something, you will get a job in that field sooner. Stay focused.

It really is pot luck out there and even if you do all the work experience possible, get a first in your degree and know people in the industry, there's still no guarantee you'll get an interview. It is competitive and these things take time. Everyone is in the same boat though and you'll get there eventually. Don't forget if you have particular skills, you can always try freelancing! Something as simple as writing, editing videos or graphic design can you get you some money along the way. Don't tie yourself to an office job if it's not happening for you! There's so many things out there. Stay positive.

Good luck!

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