Looking for a ‘graduate’ job

Looking for a ‘graduate’ job

This guide is to help you develop the understanding, skills and confidence you will need to look for a job during this challenging time. Our topic-based ‘How to’ guides will give you more detailed information.

Securing a good ‘graduate’ job is often easier said than done, especially in this current climate. If you get a job you like quickly or have done a vocational degree which leads you straight into employment, great. For a lot of graduates, it’s not so easy and can take a while.

If you are an employer of graduates please take a look at our Employer page

Applying for jobs can be really tough. You may end up having to deal with disappointment and rejection, which is always hard. It is a common experience not even to get a response to a job you have applied for.

Male student working at table
It might take a longer than you thought to find the ‘right’ job

Try to be flexible and think creatively about what you could be doing-especially now all your original plans might have been scuppered due to Covid. Think about your transferrable skills. You might also come across jobs and opportunities you hadn’t previously considered. Approach these with an open mind. Many people end up in jobs they would never have thought of when they graduated.

Treat each new job application as if it was the only one

If you are not getting interviews, ask for feedback from other people on your job application. You might find that you are not making the most of yourself and what you have to offer. And don’t rule yourself out from applying for a job just because you don’t tick every box.

A lot of recruitment will be done digitally at this time

How do you feel about that? Will it make it harder or easier for you? It is worth thinking this all through beforehand.

Try to keep optimistic and motivated

Learning how to deal with disappointment and not take rejection personally will really help you through this time. Practising self-compassion and being kind to yourself is very helpful.

Talk to someone you trust

If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings, try talking them through with someone. It is easy to start feeling ashamed and thinking it is because there is something wrong with you when we keep getting rejected. Finding that this is a common experience can really help. If you find it is beginning to impact on your mental health, don’t leave it too long to get help.

Build up your confidence and self-esteem

Having confidence and good self-esteem are great assets in life. This is particularly so in job hunting. People sometimes rule themselves out from even applying for a job as they assume they do not have the right skill set or are not what the employer is looking for. Evidence shows that gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexuality and socio-economic background can all play a part in this. Often, it’s not that you don’t have the right skills - it's lack of self-belief that stops you.

When looking at a job spec do you tend to focus on what you haven’t got or can’t do, rather than what you have got and can do? Do self-limiting beliefs, destructive messages from the past or fear of failure get in the way?

Putting some time into addressing this will help you feel more confident about applying for jobs and attending interviews. It will also help when you start work.

Finally...be kind to yourself

So often you can make feeling bad about something worse by beating yourself up about it. Practising self-compassion helps you change that punitive and critical self-talk into something kinder and more forgiving. This calms down all the stress hormones which surge around when you are feeling bad and which you make worse by negative self-talk. You are then more able to deal with difficult situations and feelings.

This can be a tough time. It will get better but do what you need to do to look after yourself along the way. If you find that you are starting to struggle with your mental health, talk to someone. Get help.



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