Hartley People

How to find a graduate job in 2020

How to find a graduate job in 2020

Looking for your first real job after graduation can be a challenge, but for the class of 2020 this may seem like a particularly difficult task.

But there is good reason to be positive. Many of our clients are still continuing with their graduate employment programmes and we are seeing renewed confidence in the job market as we look forward to 2021.

The hiring/recruitment process has changed due to the pandemic, in many ways for the better. It has become more streamlined and hiring is happening at a faster pace. And despite roles in some sectors being in decline, others such as biopharma and engineering are thriving.

Career Coach, Fiona Hartley has the following practical advice for graduates looking to find their way to their first job:

  • Critically evaluate yourself. What are your strengths? What is your USP (unique selling point), i.e. why should an employer hire you over other candidates. What are your transferrable skills? These are important from a CV development and interview preparation perspective. From a graduate’s point of view, transferrable skills are key as many don’t have huge amounts of relevant experience.
  • Spend time optimising your CV. A good CV should be:
    – Targeted. Your CV must focus on those characteristics that are of interest to the employer. Tailor your CV to emphasise those skills that are required for the position being applied for. Do not send the same CV in for every job. Tweak it to show how you match the employer’s requirements.
    – High Impact. Most employers skim read a CV so make sure your CV looks professional. Important information should stand out.
    – Achievement Based. Detail work related and personal achievements

You can get professional help with your CV or alternatively find some templates here.

  • Volunteer. There are a number of ways to do this. Do some pro bono work in the area you want to get work. Alternatively, help out with a charity or club. Do you want to work in finance? Perhaps offer to help the treasurer in your local club. If you are interested in being a teacher, offer to help out with coaching a local children’s team. Volunteer work always looks good on a CV. It boosts your experience, develops transferrable skills and is a way of expanding your network of contacts.
  • Do a course. Is there an online courses, or courses, that you could do while waiting to land your dream job. Pick one that is relevant to the career you want. Check out Qualifax.ie, fetchcourses.ie for a wide range of postgraduate courses.
  • Make connections. Many jobs are secured through word of mouth. Do you already know someone who may be able to help or introduce you to a key person in the industry you would like to work in. Join groups on social media and make sure to interact with members. As always with social media, ensure you are using appropriate language and are convey yourself in a professional matter at all times.
  • Less is more. Rather than applying for lots of jobs with minimum effort, put more effort into applying for fewer jobs. Consider the following:
    • A potential employer is much more likely to take a good look at your CV if they can put a voice / face to the job application. How do you do this?
      • Get as much information as possible about the role and try to get the “inside track”. Make contact with them (by phone if possible) and tell them you are interested in the role and find out more. NB Try and find out a name!
      • Once you have spoken to them, send an email telling them it was good to talk to them and that you will be sending in your CV shortly.
      • Target your CV for the role, prepare a cover letter and email it.
      • Connect with the relevant person on LinkedIn.
      • If you don’t hear from your contact in a while, don’t be afraid to follow-up with them by phone or email.

Remember while you are out of work, your job is to find work. Put in a concerted effort.

If you’re still unsure about any of the above or would like advice on your career or CV, get in touch with one of our team and they will be happy to advise.

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