Dispatches from the Job Hunt Frontline: 5 Survival Tips
So you’re looking for work. You’ve got your degree, or are graduating in a few months. In front of you is both an uncertainty like you’ve never experienced and a great expanse of endless opportunity. But you might not know where to start.
True, it’s a difficult and stressful time, but my friend, lots of people are going through the same thing. I was too. As I was wading through this river of uncertainty, I learned some things:
1) Get people on your side.
Indeed, this bit of advice could be used for virtually anything. Luckily, with job searching, there is no shortage of people to help you. Everyone who has ever gotten a job has been in your shoes. There is literally an entire industry built to help people find work.
But, of course, you should already know this, because you’re on the Inspiring Interns website. Here you can find someone to help you as you search for employment. Getting on Inspiring Interns’ video CV library can also massively increase your exposure as you become a person to employers, not just another CV on a stack of other CVs. As Inspiring Interns are selective with the people we represent and interview, there are substantially fewer people aiming for the same positions as you will find in job postings.
2) Be open for anything.
As the old saying goes: Good things come to those who wait. Getting a well-paid job can take a long time. Even if your application is successful, it can be weeks until you hear back, and often, if unsuccessful, you might never hear anything. This can be a problem when you need money immediately.
Accept that the first job you get after graduation may have nothing to do with the degree you just earned, and more to do with any prior work experience you have. If during university you were a bartender, consider applying for bartending jobs to tide you over until you can get a role in your dream industry. After all, there are many thousands of bars around the country and drinks will always need to be served. As such there is significantly less demand for a bartending position than there is, say for an editorial position in a magazine or publisher.
The bad news is a great many of UK university graduates find their first jobs after graduation are non-graduate positions. Be prepared to find yourself on a zero hour contract or minimum wage. Such odd jobs are sometimes necessary, however, to keep you afloat until that great job or internship you’re dreaming of appears.
3) Keep learning
I understand that you have left full-time education and you are no longer thinking about further study. However, there are thousands of great online courses (many of them free) that over time could greatly increase your employability and make your CV truly stand out.
For example, if a job you are looking at wants someone who can speak more than one language, then sites like Duolingo could help you learn it. Want a job that may involve computer programming and you don’t know your C++ from your Python? There are many online courses that could you how to program. After a few of these courses, you will have equipped yourself with a few extra valuable tools that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t study past your degree. There are so many online courses, that you could with time and money, get another degree.
After a few of these courses, you will have equipped yourself with a few extra valuable tools that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t study past your degree. There are so many online courses that you could, with time and money, get another degree.
4) CV Mastery
Employers on average spent less than ten seconds looking at a prospective employee’s CV. This is greatly disheartening, but means that you have to fill those few precious seconds as effectively as possible.
Luckily there are countless pages that tell you how to improve your CV, some even can re-write it for you (for a hefty price of course). The key is to maximise readability and provide the most useful information to the prospective reader in the most efficient way you can. This fundamentally comes down to layout. If there is a job you particularly want, then it may be an idea to tailor your CV around what they’re looking for, dropping or playing down things that are unrelated.
5) Market Yourself
The internet and social media have provided us all the most effective branding and advertising platforms ever known. What is great about this is that anyone can involve themselves, anyone can market anything. How does this help you? Well, as much as you can market products or websites online, you can also market yourself to potential employers by creating a personal brand. If you’re active enough (and lucky) you could be noticed by a company that you want to work for before you even apply.
The scale of it is completely up to you. Your personal marketing campaign could be as simple as maintaining a presence on Linkedin, or you could be extremely proactive and be present on any of your ideal employer’s social media pages. Knowledge of your own personal brand could even make your interviews easier as you would already have experience pitching yourself and your skills. I realise that this sounds intimidating, or infuriatingly businessy. But in the end, if you want to be a big player in the job market, you have to have something to market.
The above pieces of information, obvious as they may, or may not seem, are all things I wish I knew when I started out on the job hunt.
Arthur is a graduate from King’s College London. Since graduation he has turned his attention to writing. You can follow him on twitter.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.