Graduate Blog

Graduate Job Hunting


In June 2010 I was one of many graduates who were faced with the sudden daunting task of job hunting when the final year exams were over. Having made no real plans for life after university I decided to move in with family, find any job that would allow me to save a reasonable sum of money until I stumbled across my dream job. The moving day arrived fast and I was left feeling overwhelmed with the mammoth task I had ahead of me as I racked my brains wondering what career path I wanted to take.

The next month I spent the days scouring the internet for any job that I could apply for, relevant to my degree or not. I didn’t receive many replies and any that I did get, simply stated that I was unsuccessful. I seemed to be either under or over qualified for any position for which I applied, so I devised a daily schedule in my desperation. I allowed myself an hour free in the morning and spent until the evening job hunting, stopping only for lunch. During this time I was applying for approximately 10 jobs a day and within a matter of weeks the hard work had paid off and I secured my first interview. Fortunately I was successful in this interview and within a week I was safe in the knowledge that I would soon be earning an income. Currently I am seeking new employment, having been in my current position for three and a half years and wanting to progress. Job hunting feels much less daunting now than it did immediately after I graduated. In this article I will share some of the tips that I have picked up over the past few years.

My first piece of advice for any student in their final year would be to start job hunting early. I came across a job advert the other day that stated that ‘current students could register interest with the company now’ and there are still 4-5 months left until final year students graduate. I appreciate that concentrating on anything other than revision at this stage is incredibly challenging and leaving university most likely seems far off, but believe me, that day will creep up on you fast. Registering interest with a company early will mean you will face less competition than if you wait until after graduation.

A well written, grammatically correct CV (use a spell checker!) is paramount to securing a decent job. There are a number of websites that provide free advice on CV writing for your chosen career path and if in doubt, get a family member or friend to check it for you. Personally, I used the career section of my university website and have gradually tailored this over the years to suit my particular needs.

When applying for a vacancy always include a covering letter! In my opinion not including a cover letter appears lazy and this is your chance to demonstrate any required or desirable skills that are not obvious from your CV. If the job advert instructs you to send your CV and covering letter to a particular person make sure you address the covering letter to that person. Attention to detail is an important factor for many positions.

Don’t just apply for advertised positions. If there is a company for which you would love to work then look up their contact details and send over your CV with a polite covering letter. A close friend of mine actually secured employment this way, having called a company on the day that an employee had handed in their notice. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Social media can be beneficial for seeking employment when used correctly. A Linkedin profile will allow recruiters to find you before they have even posted an advertisement for a vacancy. Complete as many sections of your profile and include as much (relevant) information as possible. Again, there are many websites which provide free advice for using Linkedin for job hunting and these are what I have used to create my own profile.

If you are lucky enough to get an interview then ensure you have put some effort in researching the company. Most companies will include their core visions and values on their website and more often than not, a question relating to these will arise during the interview. I have had interviews in the past where I wasn’t sure on the meaning of one of the company’s core values and unfortunately this was the value that I was questioned about. If necessary, revise any technical requirements of the vacancy. These should be highlighted in the job advert so simply refreshing your memory will ensure well-organised and accurate answers to any questioning.

Most importantly, don’t lose hope. The job seeking process can be lengthy and at times, disheartening, but eventually you will secure employment. Good luck and happy job hunting!

About the Author

Mike Skinner Mike Skinner

My name is Mike. I graduated from the University of Kent in 2010 with a forensic science BSc (Hons) and have been working for a contract research organisation (CRO) since September 2010, as an analytical chemist. I have a passion for writing and due to this I am trying my hand at freelance writing.

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