The prospects facing new graduates today are arguably the toughest to be confronted by any cohort since higher education became widely available. These days earning a degree is no guarantee that you’ll be able to break into your desired line of work. To make a real impression on prospective employers, you’ll need to go the extra mile (and then some).
Here’s a look at some basic ways you can set about giving yourself the competitive edge before heading out into the job market;
At some point in your hunt for a graduate job it’s likely you’ll overstretch yourself, apply for a role you aren’t yet qualified for and get knocked back for lacking the required experience. This can be very disheartening. After all, how can you be expected to attain the experience you need if nobody is willing to let you get your foot in the door in the first place?
The key here is to make sure you’re doing the things you would be doing in your dream job as part of your student life, thereby ensuring that you have a strong body of experience you can call on. For instance, if you want to get into marketing, make sure you’re taking on opportunities to practice the craft, even if it’s as simple as drawing up a promotional plan for a student drama production or something similar. Not only will this allow you to hone the specific skills you’ll want to call on in your future career, it’ll demonstrate desirable personal attributes such as drive and initiative. Don’t wait to be given a chance, take one.
Forget the Beach
Of course you need to relax sometimes, but idling away your summer just isn’t an option. It can be tough for some students to accept, but those days are gone. Ideally, you’ll use every vacation in your course of study to seek out internships and work experience programmes that’ll help you build up an impressive CV.
Aside from simply adding some bulk to your resume, getting an insight into the lines of work that interest you will be invaluable in helping you make an informed decision on the type of thing you want to do. Graduate jobs aren’t easy to get at the best of times, if you’re not even really sure what it is you want from your career it makes the matter substantially more difficult.
Think of Yourself as a Professional
Just as we suggest you don’t wait until you’ve landed a job to start operating in your chosen line of work, it’s also vital that you don’t wait until you’ve obtained a spot on somebody’s payroll before you start thinking of yourself as a professional.
Maintaining this mentality should inform all aspects of your life, especially the way you interact with people and present yourself to the world. Whoever you’re talking to, whatever the context, if you want to get ahead it pays to always have your professional head at least partially on. You never know when an opportunity or useful contact might come your way.
Importantly, this attitude should also apply to your online presence. This doesn’t merely mean editing your social media profiles to hide any evidence of your youthful misdemeanours. Use tools such as your Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to proactively demonstrate your passion for what it is you want to do, learn from experts and network with insiders.