This issue touches pretty much every young person getting close to finishing their university degree. It’s one of the natural worries that is almost impossible to avoid. No matter how well you did in the class, and what a great mark you got on your dissertation – it can always be a little scary when entering the world of unknown. For a lot of people, coming out of university means looking for the first ever office job (read about what I experienced in my first office job here ), first ever full time job, and first ever ‘serious’ job.
After school, many of us automatically go to do a degree in a chosen subject, without thinking too much about what comes next, because we ‘still have time’. At the end of the day, University degree lasts 4 years or more in most countries, so we are focused on progressing from one year, to the next. But then, all of a sudden we hit last year – it comes faster than expected – and we start freaking out about the lack of any professional experience. Well, you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
Fair enough I personally am a bit too much of a planner. I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do, and I was consequently progressing to achieve it. Not everyone knows that straight away, which is perfectly natural. There is no excuse not to try different options though.
I wanted to share with you my 10 ways of getting a job after graduating. I don’t have one, gold solution for everyone, but I hear too much complaining from people who are not working where they want to, yet they don’t do anything (or very little) to try and change it. I hope my 10 ways will inspire some of you to come out of your comfort zone and try yourself out in new environments. You might get surprised with what you’re capable of!
- Make a list of potential jobs that you would like to doThis is a fun and exciting way of building up your potential job portfolio. The most important thing is to list positions that you would actually enjoy doing (but be sensible and don’t write that you like playing xbox, hoping that you can make a huge career out of it, unless you are planning on moving to Asia soon) or the companies that you would want to work for. If you’re good with children or with elderly, why don’t you list positions like care worker or nanny. If you just graduated with Business degree, why don’t you look for exciting positions for your favourite car brands? Then you can scan through the positions that are relevant to your education and skill set – the opportunities are endless!
- Start gathering experience from your very first year at university!During studies, you have plenty of spare time. You probably work part time and still want to have time for social life and studying. Well, try to sacrifice at least one day per week for volunteering opportunities that relate to your studies. Treat it as part of your course! From experience I can ensure you that only good stuff can come out of opportunities like that. Of course you build your experience on the practical basis of your industry, but you also build connections with people working in this field. And contacts are one of the most valuable thing when progressing in your career. Not because someone is your great pal and can sort you out with an amazing job, but because you meet new people on the professional level, you build trust in your skills and you strengthen your opportunities for someone to recommend you to your future ideal job. Excuse me the language, but – fuck all comes to those who wait. You have to stop waiting and start fighting for what you want.
- If there is no offer for a job in your dream organisation – create one!I am speaking from experience on this one as well. When I was looking to gain experience in the events sector, sometimes there was no offers available, even for voluntary roles. In this scenario, you just go and create one for yourself! My system was to approach companies, presenting my skills and dedication to developing my expertise in the industry, happy to work voluntarily in return. This system definitely benefits both parties! That way, I became events coordinator for Breast Cancer Care, creating and pitching my own fundraising fashion show project to the management. I have also been a stylist and marketing assistant for the independent designers shop or events planner for the Community Centre. All those voluntary roles led to my future employment with a small fashion company, through building my ‘events portfolio’ next to the CV.
- Become your own bossIf you are looking for a very specific role, why don’t you try freelance for a bit? You don’t have to get yourself involved in owning a huge company, but going freelance and building your work portfolio through different clients, is a great way of starting your career after graduating university. It also teaches you how to handle different people and situations.
- Apply, apply, apply!Seems like a no-brainer, but believe me, 5 job applications is nothing. Send 50! And if that doesn’t work, send another 100! We all know the story of Anna Wintour being sacked from Harper’s Bazaar before making it big in Vogue? First ‘Harry Potter’ by J.K.Rowling was also rejected before making billions. So persistence is the key!
- You probably won’t start off with your dream job – the main thing is to start!Don’t worry about not being invited to the Boardroom in the first months of your employment. Well, none of us go there at the beginning of our career’s journey. It would be boring if we did to be honest! Learning is a long process and you need a few mistakes on the way. No one would appreciate the high positions if it wasn’t for the hard work that is required to achieve it.
- Attend Career FairsGreat way to get yourself familiar with the companies in your sector is attending career fairs. You can have a chat about the organisation and potential employment opportunities in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
- Being outgoing and showing that you care helps at interviewsSaying that you’ve applied for hundreds of positions this month does not guarantee you a job, especially not at the interview. More important is to show that you care about the career you’ve chosen. You can achieve that through getting engaged with events in your field, staying up to date with the news in your sector and showing genuine interest in the subject.
- Nurture your personal hobbiesIt’s not as irrelevant as you might think. Your hobbies might have zero connection with the job that you want to do. You might be looking for a career in journalism, but you can’t wait to work on your sewing machine in the spare time. And that’s great! Our passions are something that makes us interesting. It’s important to be really into your work field, but work is not everything. You still have after work time, that you should use for something you simply enjoy doing – it can be watching great movies, building lego houses, working out, cooking, or anything that makes you feel special about yourself! Potential employers are looking not only for work robots, but for interesting personalities!
- Be confident and don’t give up!You might get a fixed term position that is not extended after the initial 6 months – who cares? Or maybe you are still persistently looking for your first position? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of opportunities out there so get up, head up, and after one job is complete – repeat! (The last bit was a bit cheesy, but let’s take things easy).