Undergraduate to unemployed? Here's 6 steps to help you get that first role in industry.
Congratulations – exams and university are behind you, you did it! Now you’ve had a few weeks off, it’s time for the real hard work to begin.
Here are some top tips to ensure you’re ready for that first step in your career.
Keep it PG
Hide those inappropriate party pics: ensure that your online presence portrays you as a professional. As a general rule of thumb, only have pictures and information on public that you’d be happy for your Grandma to see.
Remember every tweet, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand.
Make it Discoverable
You want a potential employer to easily be able to find your profile so they know that you’re an all-round professional (yes, it is likely they will look for you on social media).
With 2 new members every second, a great platform to use is LinkedIn. As well as allowing you to network with others in your chosen industry, you can also follow businesses and affiliated organisations as well as industry leaders and you’ll get a feed of posts from those you connect with which give you opportunities to share, comment and get ideas for your own posts too.
Commenting on other people’s posts will start to get your name in front of the people who matter to you and will have a positive impact on getting you into the world of work. Make sure your profile is as fully populated as possible as this will get you included in search results from the best companies and recruiters too.
See our separate blog on Top tips to get graduates started on LinkedIn.
There are many opportunities out there for you to network that aren’t just online. Search for relevant industry events in your local area and try and attend as many of these as possible – whether they are careers fairs or more specific to your industry. These will give you a chance to discuss careers with specialists or just get a real feel for other people in work mode within your chosen sector.
In for the long game
Your online presence should be a constantly evolving project – not just while you’re in the market for your first job.
Promoting yourself professionally will encourage interest from potential employers and recruiters who specialise in the skills you have and the disciplines in which you wish to work. This promotion will also allow you to develop wider business-related networks that will assist you in your early career and beyond, so make sure you can clearly and succinctly demonstrate your strengths, skills, experience and attributes both verbally and in writing.
Be work ready
It’s no good building a professional online presence if you’re not ready to then attend interviews and meet, or at least talk in-depth about your career aspirations, with relevant industry-specific recruiters.
Research what kind of roles and salaries you can expect as this stage in your career – you have to make sure your expectations are achievable. It’s also important to ensure that the position you choose provides a means of climbing the career ladder to your dream role.
Also consider your location – is it feasible to just look in your local area? Where is the ‘place to be’ to do well in your chosen industry? Would you be comfortable moving to a new location, and if not, is a job really worth it if you will not be happy? Work-life balance and travel are both really important factors to consider when you begin to apply for positions.
Dress to impress: Make sure you invest in some suitable clothes – there’s no point portraying yourself as a professional online and then turning up to an interview in a track suit. A good suit will set you up well for the future.
Although it’s important to be aware of what you want from a position, at graduate level it’s also important that you are flexible. We would suggest prioritising one of these that is most important to you (location, salary, travel, position, work-life balance) just for the first year – after that you will have the experience to be able to have more power in the recruitment process.
The best place to start is your CV – we have lots of previous blogs further down the advice page on our website which can help you with this.
The key to successfully transitioning into the world of work is to be prepared and stay focused. Always be ready to engage with other individuals and anybody else who could be valuable in helping you spread the word about your skills.
So now it’s time to get work ready – good luck and remember that our team can assist you in your job search so give us a call!