Graduate job hunting

Well, you’re in your final year now and unless you want to take a gap year, further your studies, or already have a job waiting for you, chances are, you’re going to be looking for a job. Graduate job vacancies start popping up as early as September the year before you’re expected to start – which is basically the moment you start your final year, really. Also, many (but note: not all!) deadlines for the applications are around November-December time; usually the same time as your coursework deadlines. It is really quite a stressful time, but worry not (too much), there is help about!

To be completely honest with you, I think the first step to applying starts as soon as you start university in first year- gaining skills, and proof of it. Get involved in things: join sports teams, societies, become a student representative, volunteer! You will be so grateful come the time to write applications. Not only do your activities and roles fill up your CV, they give you something to talk about when you’re asked about competencies. If this ‘competency’ thing confuses you, don’t worry. I didn’t quite get it at first either. But the Internet is your friend! Just a quick search will get you answers to questions you didn’t know you had. Also, the university has a fantastic careers service to help you out. They can give you feedback on your CV (repeatedly, if you wish!), and sometimes organise mock interviews to give you a feel of what to expect.

Employers often come to the university to give presentations on their companies and advertise their vacancies. They’re often listed in the ‘What’s On’ weekly emails sent out to students by the Careers Service. These events are a great opportunity to talk to the company representatives to introduce yourself, find out about what they offer, how the working environment is like, what qualities they look for in a graduate etc. If you can, it would also be good to get their name, and possibly keep in contact with them. Leave a good impression; you’ll never know when it may come in handy.

These company presentations aren’t the only times they come to university though. You might have heard about the job fairs the university puts on from time to time. These feature way more employers, and they will all be in one place – usually the Octagon. The fairs are an excellent chance for you to see what companies are out there, and which suit your ambitions. It’s often a good idea to have a look at all of them, and choose a few to learn more about. There will be company representatives there, more often than not with booklets and/or brochures for you to take away. Nabbing some of those can serve as a reminder to apply to them, or look further into it.

I have so much more to say about the job hunting process, but I’m afraid this post is getting a bit too long so I’ll stop here for now. If you’re looking for jobs or placements, I wish you all the best! And if you’re not, I advise that you don’t let it sit on back burner for too long, because you’ll eventually need to do this too!

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