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4 Tips for Landing Your First Job

Published 5 months ago by Heba El-Husseini

Some say that the most difficult job a grad can do is finding a job in the first place, we don’t think it has to be that morose though! We get it, it can feel a bit like everything’s hanging in the balance on what you decide to do next, but you’ve got to admit, embarking on the adventures of the working world is exciting. As a graduate, you have a clean slate on which to build your brand new career.

As recruiters, we come across these grads quite often, and alas, we do see the same application mistakes too. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some great tips from our recruitment experts on landing your first graduate job:

1. Narrow it down

Nobody expects you to have it 100% figured out by the time you leave university, but you should have an idea of what you’d like to do at least. The main error we come across in graduate job applications is ambiguity.

Employers get put off by applicants who don’t know what they’re applying for, or what they want to get out of the job. Unfortunately it’s not the employer’s role to tell you what you’re good at, so go in there with a clear idea of where you want to be in a couple of years’ time. Choose just three job titles to apply for, and make those applications as specific as you can.

2. Tailor your application

There’s nothing worse than a blanket message! We know, it gets really laborious applying for so many jobs each day, but trust us when we say that your efforts will be halved if you spend more time on your first lot of applications in the first place.

If you try to please them all with a generic CV and cover letter, you could wind up diluting your skills too much and not standing out enough. Pull out just a few of your key skills and shout about them in your application.

Also, do your research on the company you’re applying for. It will give you an edge if you can name some of the work they’ve done or can reel off their company ethos in interview.

3. Put yourself out there

We know full well you’re no stranger to social media, so don’t be shy where LinkedIn is concerned. Us recruiters LOVE to spend time on LinkedIn scouting out the best candidates, take advantage of this by staying active online. Getting involved in industry groups, discussions and posting your own articles is a great way to get noticed.

You could also change your tag line to reflect your area of expertise. For example “recent Engineering graduate looking for exciting opportunities” would let us know at a quick glance that you’re available for work.

4. Keep it clean

Once an employer is interested in you, googling you is one of the first things they will do. Your Facebook and Twitter are probably the first things to pop up in a search, will they like what they see? If your Facebook is full of pictures of you necking shots, you really should lock down your privacy settings so only your friends can see them.

We’re not saying you need to pretend to be really uptight, but you don’t want to make it easy for those hiring managers to strike you off the list they’re desperately trying to whittle down. It’s always best to play it safe until you get a feel for the company once you’ve landed the job.

The best and seemingly most obvious piece of advice we can give is this: put yourself in their shoes. Hiring managers have to narrow it down from hundreds of people to just a handful of interviewees. When you’ve got hundreds of applicants to sift through, what would grab your attention? 

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