How to get jobs after graduation in 7 simple steps
Updated 1 August 2023
Graduating from college or university is an exciting accomplishment for any professional. It allows you to transition to a more independent lifestyle and gain employment to start earning a full-time salary. Landing your first job may be challenging since you might have very little work experience, but with the right guidance, you may increase your hiring capabilities. In this article, we discuss how to get jobs after graduation in seven simple steps and provide useful tips for applying for jobs after graduation.
What are jobs after graduation?
Jobs after graduation refer to the first paying positions graduates get after completing their education. These jobs usually mark your entrance into your chosen career based on your interests, skills and qualifications. They comprise entry-level and junior roles that allow you to gain experience and advance faster in your career. Jobs after graduation are a great way to start earning an income to pay off your student loans and support yourself financially.
How to get jobs after graduation
Here's how to get jobs after graduation in seven steps:
1. Identify jobs you want to apply for
The first step to getting jobs after graduation is identifying the jobs you want to apply for. Determining the jobs you want to apply for helps narrow down your search so that you're not applying to every job that comes your way. This saves you time and money while ensuring you apply to positions that contribute to your career growth and advancement. When identifying jobs you want to apply for, take note of the following:
Your qualifications play a significant role in the types of jobs you might apply for. For example, if you have a degree in finance, there are many jobs to pursue in this field. Analyse what area you want to specialise in, which may include accounting, banking, bookkeeping or auditing. The same case applies to the health sector. If you have a nursing degree, you may work in a care facility or become a registered nurse.
Your career goals
Your career goals help you determine which jobs to pursue after graduation. For instance, if you wish to become an executive chef at a hotel, apply for jobs that help you achieve this goal. You may start an entry-level job as a cook or junior chef and work your way up to your career goal.
Your interests and skills
Your interests and skills also play a crucial role in the jobs you might apply for after graduation. For example, you may be a computer engineering graduate interested in software engineering rather than hardware engineering. This means you might apply for specific software engineering jobs to pursue your interests and skills.
2. Focus your job search
After identifying the jobs you want to apply for, focus your job search. Focusing your job search gives you a clear idea of what you want to do, ensuring your job search is more productive. Determine which jobs you qualify for based on your qualifications, interests, skills and training. Identify which criteria are essential to you in your job search. This includes location, industry, salary range, benefits and company culture. Create a list of the jobs that meet all your requirements, as this information helps you build a strong CV.
3. Develop a strong CV
Once you have your list of qualified jobs, write a strong CV highlighting your knowledge, skills and potential talent. Customising your CV to match each job description is advisable to make yourself a more attractive candidate. Instead of having one generic CV for all the jobs on your list, have several with minor edits to fit the position you're applying for. If you're applying for jobs within the same industry and sector, simply write one CV and adjust it accordingly to suit the various roles.
4. Create a professional online presence
Before sending any applications, create a professional online presence to make yourself a more attractive candidate. Remove any unprofessional photos or information from your social media platforms. If you don't want the hiring manager to access these profiles, update your privacy settings to ensure they don't see your personal posts. Type your name into search engines and see what comes up. The goal is to get good results highlighting you as a professional online brand with solid values.
5. Send your applications
After writing your CV and creating a professional online presence, send your applications. Employers usually have different requirements when it comes to job applications, making it crucial to follow their instructions carefully. For example, if there's an online application form to fill out, answer all the questions correctly and be honest. Triple-check all the information you provide to ensure there are no grammatical errors or typos. Send your application with any requested documents, such as your CV or cover letter.
6. Organise your applications
Since you're applying for several jobs at once, organise your applications to keep track of them. Organising all your applications is a great way to stay on top of your job search and know when to send follow-up emails. Use a spreadsheet to track the jobs you've applied for and those that interest you. Include various columns such as the application date, company name, position, location and recruiter contact information.
7. Prepare for interviews
After sending your applications, start preparing for interviews. This equips you with the correct responses highlighting your skills, knowledge and expertise for the job you're applying for. It also boosts your confidence, ensuring you make a good first impression. Here's how to prepare for your job interviews:
research the organisation's mission, vision and culture
practise answering commonly asked interview questions
prepare questions for the interviewer
decide what to wear
analyse the job description
Related: How to prepare for an interview
Useful tips for getting jobs after graduation
Here are some useful tips to help you get a job after graduation:
Search for graduate-specific vacancies
If you want to increase your chances of landing a job after graduation, only apply to graduate-specific vacancies. Graduate-specific positions hire professionals who have recently graduated, which makes you a qualified applicant. Simply add the term 'graduate' to your job search to access numerous jobs specifically tailored to professionals with a valid degree certificate. Most of these roles are entry-level or junior positions that allow you to gain work experience and develop your skills.
It may be tempting to take some time off after graduating before beginning your job hunt. While there's nothing necessarily wrong with this, starting your job search as early as possible is advisable. This way, you have ample time to create a well-written CV and are able to research positions that interest you. Starting your job search early also gives you time to analyse and plan what you want to do with your career.
Don't take rejection personally
Understanding that not all applications are successful saves you the stress and humiliation of being rejected. Some applications may go through to the interview stage, while others may not even receive a reply. View job hunting as a learning process you improve on with every application. Ask for feedback after any rejections to identify your mistakes and improve with your next application.
Ask for help from family and friends
If you have family or friends already working, ask them for help. They may be able to help you with anything, from writing your CV to helping you find a job. They may even help you practice answering commonly asked interview questions to build your confidence. Don't hesitate to ask a family member working for an organisation you wish to join for help. They might be able to put in a good word for you, increasing your chances of getting hired.
Spend time on your CV
Your CV plays a significant role in your job application. For instance, if your CV is out-of-date and doesn't include relevant information, you may lose out on a job opportunity. Spend time updating and developing your CV to maximise your chances of getting noticed.
After sending your first application, don't wait for a response. Keep the search going by looking and applying for other opportunities. This way, if your first, second or third choice doesn't work out, you still have plenty of options.
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