Once you graduate from uni, unless you decide to embark on postgraduate studies, you’ll be faced with the terrifying prospect of the job market. Getting a job after you’ve finished your degree can be straightforward, especially if you’ve taken a vocational course, but may also be stressful. We’ve previously explored the topic of employment opportunities for English graduates, but what about other graduates?

It’s often hard to know where to start when it comes to job searching. While many people work summer jobs, or have some previous work experience, these won’t necessarily be roles that will help you on your career path. Working in a cafe or shop will certainly help pad out your CV, but probably won’t be a useful stepping stone to a career as a lawyer, for example. Then there are all sorts of graduate schemes and internships to consider! 

Here at Pineapple Recruitment, we want to ensure you make the most of your career, and choose the best option for you. We’ve therefore gone through the main considerations for graduates, when they’re starting out their career journey. 

Graduate Schemes

Before we go any further, what is a graduate scheme? A graduate scheme is an entry level job where you’d also be provided with progression training. You should be exposed to various parts of the business, so that you can learn more about the company as a whole, and build up your experience. 

In terms of applying for a graduate scheme, obviously you’ll want to go into a field you’re interested in, but it’s also helpful to apply with larger companies. They should be able to offer the most comprehensive training, allowing you to progress quickly and hopefully earn a promotion before too long. 

Graduate Internships

Some people are hesitant to apply for an internship, as there is a good chance that you won’t get paid much, if at all. But within some sectors, internships are the accepted method of starting your career path, and you’d struggle to find a job without taking an internship first. 

It’s also good to remember that many organisations will offer you a paid position once you finish your internship. The trick is impressing the business enough for them to want to keep you on. For more advice on turning an internship into a job offer, you can read our handy guide

man graduating

Graduate Career Advice

You’ll have (hopefully) learned a lot at uni, but may be lacking in practical experience. This can make finding a job, graduate scheme or internship more difficult, but many others will be in the same boat! And if you’re not sure how to enter into the job market, we’ve provided a few tips to help you below:

Market Yourself

The first step is to sell yourself. While you may not have a lot of work experience, you can often relate your degree to the job requirements listed in the posting. For instance, many job descriptions will ask for candidates with strong analytical skills, or excellent time management. You could link these skills back to your university experience, such as research for essays and planning for your dissertation.

You should try to tailor both your CV and cover letter to match the job listing, demonstrating that you have the required skills for the role. You need to show that you’re the best person for the position, and that your education is what really sets you apart from other candidates.

Preparation is Key

If you’re able to market yourself effectively, and are offered an interview, the next step is to thoroughly prepare yourself! You’re probably used to research by now, so get stuck in - find out more about the company, the industry, and if possible, the person interviewing you. You may be able to find their LinkedIn profile, and get to know more about their career journey. 

It’s also important to go over the contents of your CV and cover letter a few times, as you’ll likely be asked questions about what you've written. That’s not to say you should memorise them, but the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel during the interview. Practice a few common interview questions too, and make sure you know what the dress code is before you show up on the day. 

Make an Impression

Once you’ve been offered a job or internship, you need to make a great impression! You essentially want to become an essential part of the business. To do this, you need to get to grips with the internal processes as quickly as possible, build strong relationships with your colleagues and simply be efficient in your role. Taking initiative can also impress your boss, as this shows that you know what you’re doing, and don’t need constant supervision!

It’s good to keep in mind though, that you don’t necessarily want to start offering suggestions as soon as you start your new job. While innovative ideas are almost always appreciated, you don’t want to come across as arrogant, or like you know better than seasoned staff. Although you may have been introduced to a fantastic new methodology at university, perhaps wait a few months before you bring it up. That way, you’ll have a chance to study the current practices used by the business, and be confident that your methods would be superior. If you’re able to provide any data or statistics, that would be useful too.

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