If you’ve recently completed a degree, you may be wondering where to go to start your career. It’s an exciting time, but it can also make you nervous – however, remember that thousands of people are in the same situation every year. And while the news is usually full of gloomy stories about the economy and job market, the things you learned on your degree can be a major asset in setting you apart from the other candidates.
Your university should have a postgraduate career service that will offer you information and advice on where to go next. They may be able to put you in touch with companies they work with, particularly those that offer graduate training.
The first thing to do after graduating is to create a CV. Don’t just send the same CV to a big list of potential employers – it’s important to tweak it slightly to reflect the industry you’re applying for. For instance, if you did a journalism degree but you’re applying to a marketing company, mention how your course taught you to write persuasively and included modules on creating online content. This will give you a much better chance of getting noticed.
While it may seem tough at first to land interviews, be persistent. Although some firms may be unwilling to hire someone with little work experience, others actively search for new graduates. Don’t just settle for the first job you’re offered if you don’t like the sound of it – and remember, unpaid internships are illegal and should not be considered a good way to gain experience. That said, don’t expect a big salary from day one!
Many graduates head straight for the big employers, but competition for these roles can be fierce. It’s worth looking around for small, local businesses in the sector you want to work in – as well as being more approachable, they’re also often more interesting places to work for. Finally, remember to network – set up a profile on a site like LinkedIn and make it clear you’re looking for a job, and you might find the perfect role comes to you!
Top 5 tips for personal questions to ask the interviewer
1. Do you have any concerns about my ability to perform in the job? (if they answer yes, x, y, and z, you then have the opportunity to respond)
2. How can the new hire applicant add value to the company?
3. What does good look like for the successful candidate for this role?
4. What would you require a successful candidate to achieve in the initial days?
5. Which team would I be working in if I did succeed in getting the role?
Top 5 tips for questions about the company to ask the interviewer
1. What main challenges is the company facing at the moment?
2. What is the strategy for growth in (x) products are or (y) geographical area?
3. What is the companies’ social media strategy for engaging with customers?
4. How would you describe the workplace culture here?
5. Why do people usually leave the company?