Congratulations if you are expecting to graduate this summer. Graduation is a big day and for those not continuing to study it marks the end the first phase of your life. You have probably been in full time education for as long as you can remember. Some of you will be excited about the job you will soon be starting but what if you haven’t got a job? Is this a problem? No. It isn’t!
What are your plans for the summer and beyond?
Some of you will be taking a gap year and will be planning to see the world. You probably intend to worry about jobs when you get back. The travel experiences may be life enhancing and really helpful in enabling you to answer competency based questions, but there are a couple of things to consider before you pack those bags.
Do you want a graduate job with defined application deadlines?
If you do, then work out when the deadlines are and consider how your travel plans will fit with the application process. How many stages will you have to go through? When do the interviews happen? Is it possible to do them by skype? It is quite difficult to glean this information from websites; if you have identified some target employers it would be best to pick up the phone to the graduate recruiters and ask them to talk you through the process. If your travel plans are incompatible with the recruitment path of your preferred employers, then you have a bit of thinking to do. You might not change your decisions, but at least you will be informed and you won’t be wasting time trying to write applications on the beach, when you won’t be around for the interviews.
How can you maximise the chance to enhance your employability?
“I bummed around for 6 months picking up a few jobs here and there to keep me going,”
is less likely to attract an employer than this alternative.
“I fulfilled a long term ambition to travel. I had saved hard from my (bar/shop) job before I went, planned the itinerary carefully and took the opportunity to work where I could, to fund my further travels. I enhanced my communication skills by doing some English teaching, improved my team-working skills working as one of a number of surfing instructors and honed my attention to detail by undertaking some book keeping for the beach bar. I personally challenged myself to overcome my fear of heights by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. As a result of my travels I am confident that I am now a more mature, confident and rounded person, well ready to embark on a graduate career.”
It’s a great idea to keep notes of what you do as you travel so that you can pull everything together into the best possible narrative when you get back. If you post things on social media, take care that you would be happy for an employer to look at anything not protected by careful application of security settings.
Been unsuccessful in your job hunting so far?
Don’t panic! You haven’t “missed out” on a future career. You are not the only person to have applied and to have been unsuccessful in finding a job yet. There is really good news on the number of graduate jobs available. The High Flyers Research survey, “Graduate market in 2015”, reported that last year the number of graduate vacancies increased by 7.9% and that leading graduate employers expected to advertise a further 8.1% additional vacancies this year. A staggering 700 jobs in top graduate employers went unfilled last year. So what does all this mean? There are still some graduate jobs in established schemes to be grabbed and there will be many opportunities still available in smaller organisations. I have blogged before about why your previous applications might have been unsuccessful, take a look at that, but it might also be worth revisiting your plans to make sure that you applied for the right thing for you last time round. Try these steps:
Ask yourself what jobs are about and think whether you might enjoy doing them and be qualified to do so. Be really proactive. Have a look at one of our previous posts with lots of links for you to explore to understand your own motivations and then visit some of the websites showcasing graduate jobs. If you’re a Warwick student, start with our own vacancy portal then try sites like Milkround, Prospects Planner, Target Jobs, Rate my Placement, Gradcracker, The Times and The Guardian. These are just a few of the many websites advertising graduate jobs – don’t restrict yourself to this list. Generally look more widely than you have done before and try to keep a really open mind. Consider coming to see a Careers Consultant. We can help you revisit your old thinking to see if it was right for you and assist you in developing new thoughts and ideas.
Once you have identified something which you think might interest you, start doing some planning as to how you might move towards this. Be organised, plan, think about time frames. Set aside time both to explore options and to make applications. If you are worrying about jobs, you may find that getting organised like this helps you to feel better about the immediate future.
Take steps to find out more about the job you’re pondering, consider trying to get internships or doing some work shadowing, use your personal network and LinkedIn to make contact with people working in your chosen area. Talk to them about what is entailed. Really get yourself informed. Warwick students can get further support through our e-mentoring initiative.
Have the confidence to make new applications. Learn from mistakes in the past, use the support available from Careers and from friends, parents and contacts. Don’t rule anything out without thinking about it. Believe in yourself, often that’s the first step towards persuading others to believe in you!