Applications / Job market

How to sell yourself in the graduate job market

It’s no secret that today’s job market is competitive, particularly for graduates. This means that securing your first role after university might feel like a challenge. The good news is, there are several things you can do to boost your chances of landing your dream job. To help you, we’ve pulled together a list of five ways you can stand out from the crowd and effectively sell yourself in today’s graduate job market.

Write a winning CV

The first step on your graduate job search is to write a winning CV that makes you stand out. There are several ways you can do this. Firstly, be sure to avoid generic and cliche phrases like ‘team player’ or ‘results-orientated’. Instead, give examples of how you’ve applied these skills in the past. Recruiters prefer to see real examples of how you’ve used your skills to make a difference.

Secondly, though your hobbies and interests section is optional, including these can be helpful if you have minimal experience. Especially if your hobbies are related to your chosen industry or if they demonstrate a great set of transferable skills. Finally, you absolutely must triple check your CV for spelling or grammatical mistakes before you submit it!

Structure your job search

When it comes to selling yourself in the graduate job market, you need to make sure that you’re structuring your job search in the most effective manner. This means perfecting your CV and making sure to tailor every application but it also means using the right tools to give you the best chance. Set up email alerts for relevant jobs and be sure to keep track of every job you’ve applied for so there’s no confusion. It also pays to keep networking during the job search so you can continue to get your name out there and open yourself up to new opportunities.

Do your research

Before you apply for any job, you need to make sure you’ve done your research. This can be the difference between submitting a killer application and having your CV ignored. Why? Because recruiters don’t want to see the same generic CVs. They want to see that you’re genuinely interested in their company and that specific role. So each time you plan to submit a CV and/or cover letter, you need to do thorough research beforehand. You can use the job description and company website to get to grips with who they are and what they’re looking for. This way, you can tailor your application to present your skills and experience in the most effective way.

Get a work placement

One of the key challenges that many graduates face is that they leave university with a degree but no real-world experience. With many employers requesting that you have some sort of work experience, this can leave you feeling at a disadvantage. To combat this, get yourself a work experience placement either during or after your studies. This can help to strengthen your skillset and give your CV the boost it needs. You can find work experience by approaching local companies, looking online or speaking to your university employment officer.

Be persistent

Lastly, you need to make sure that you’re being persistent in your search. This means continuing to apply for jobs even if other roles have been unsuccessful. It also means following up on applications if you haven’t heard back. This can be a great way to gain feedback but also shows your passion and perseverance. Finally, keep connecting and engaging with brands you like online. This way, if an opportunity arises your name will already be well associated with them.

Are you ready to land a graduate role?

Selling yourself in a competitive job market might feel challenging but there is plenty you can do to increase your chances of being hired. Using our tips above, you can effectively structure your graduate job search and create a winning application that helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV and careers advice websites StandOut CV and Job description library, as well as being a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider.

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