Tips for finding a grad job after university

Finding a grad job after university can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Here are our top tips to get you started!
Date: 2 May 2017

You know the score; you’re in your final year worrying about dissertations, exams and all that jazz, when it finally dawns on you: "What on Earth am I going to do after this?!"

Well, worry no more. Our student blog has got you covered. Here are our top tips for finding your dream grad job…

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool – I cannot stress this enough. If you haven’t already set up a profile, then I suggest you do so right away. Not only can you scour through hundreds of brilliant grad job and internship advertisements, but quite often, employers will end up messaging you! I know a few graduates who have been contacted via LinkedIn and are now working in jobs they love.

Get to know the right people in your chosen industry

Following on from LinkedIn, networking is arguably the quickest and simplest way of finding a grad job. Join a site like Meetup and start connecting with the right people in your chosen industry. Meetup advertises bootcamps and talks, full of like-minded individuals and professionals working in a vast range of sectors – and, who knows, you may just find someone who can put you in touch with some very important people!

Networking is especially important for roles in the media industry. With competitive industries like this, it’s more a case of who you know, not what you know.

Post your CV on job sites

This may sound like an obvious one, but putting your CV out there can have great benefits and could possibly land you your dream job. It’s also a pretty easy way of finding work and it doesn’t require much effort on your behalf – meaning that you have more time to attend interviews and meetups.

Just simply post your CV on a jobsite - CV Library, Monster and Indeed are the most popular ones - and then let the job offers come rolling in!

Tailor your CV

Don’t use the same CV for every job you apply for – employers will be able to tell and you will look like you haven’t made an effort. Instead, look closely at the job’s desired skills and requirements and tailor your CV to make yourself look like the perfect fit for the role. It may take a little longer than mass sending out your CV, but this technique is much more likely to get you interviews!

Check out recruitment agencies

There are now a vast range of recruitment companies operating across the UK, and many specialise in graduate recruitment.

Many recruitment companies have access to jobs that aren’t advertised elsewhere, as many businesses now use recruitment agents as their sole way of finding new employees – which is great! However, be warned, recruitment agents have a rather questionable reputation and it may be that they are just trying to fix you up with any position available so that they can get some commission – so make sure that you fully check out their job offers and take some time to think about whether they’re right for you, rather than accepting on a whim.

Open up your job search

Many people will come out of university with their dream job in mind, but if you don’t succeed with major corporations like Google or the Bank of England, then have a think about working for a start-up. London is one of the most innovative cities in the world, and Shoreditch has a great tech start-up scene.

Working for a start-up may not be what you expected after graduating, but it can provide you with great skills and lucrative opportunities.

To check out some awesome London start-up jobs, click here.

You may wish to stay in London after finishing your studies, but If you’re not really too fussed about leaving the big smoke, then it may be worth thinking about doing a nationwide job search, which will provide you with more options.

Think of freelancing until you get a job

If you studied IT, any design subject, creative writing or journalism, then chances are you can nab yourself some freelance work online. This will help you to build up your portfolio and client base, while making some cash. With freelancing, you also have the opportunity to work wherever you want – be it in your bed or in Starbucks!

Great freelancing websites include Upwork, Freelancer and Peopleperhour. Be warned, many of these websites will take a cut of your earnings for helping to match you up with freelance work, so it makes sense to work out the takings beforehand (luckily Upwork already does this for you!)

Tip: Never accept freelance work from someone who states that they will pay you outside of the website – they could end up taking your work and running off with it, without even paying you!

Use your spare time to do online courses

If you find yourself lying in bed and binge watching House of Cards, chances are that you have quite a bit of spare time on your hands. I suggest that you use this time to brush up on skills related to your chosen industry. Nowadays, you can find many free or inexpensive courses online, which will look great on your CV, and prove your dedication to any potential employers. Check out edX and Lynda.com – they have a wide range of courses in many subject areas.

Consider postgraduate study

If you’ve tried and tested the methods above and still haven’t had any luck, then it might be time to think about doing a master’s degree.

Although the fees can be quite high, employers often look favourably upon those who have completed a postgraduate course, and you are likely end up in a more senior role than those who only have a bachelor’s degree.    

The government has recently introduced loans for postgraduate courses, and if you really want to work while studying or participate in internships related to your field, then part-time courses are always an option.

You can check out London Met’s list of postgraduate courses here.

London Met is also home to a great Careers and Employability service, which can advise you on jobs available, help you to hone your interview skills, and to create successful CVs and application forms.

This service is available to all students and graduates (up to three years after graduating), and is definitely worth making the most of!