Graduate Guide to the Job Market
Going into the job market after finishing university can be tough, especially if you’re doing it in a pandemic when there is more competition for jobs than ever. So, here’s a guide on how to approach this.
- Talk to the Talent Team at Coventry University
If you don’t know where to start, register with the Talent Team. Bring a few job applications if you want, they will guide you on how to tailor your CV, how to write a cover letter, help you prepare for interviews and just provide support! They are professionals so while you’re still a final year student, use the opportunity to make your CV outstanding and get some practice in writing cover letters and going to interviews!
- CV and Cover Letter
Here are a few essential tips:
- ALWAYS tailor your CV to the job application required skills (e.g., if they’re asking for a specific skill, e.g., teamwork or self-management, and you have it but just didn’t think to include it in your CV, do it!). Also, make sure that the experience you include in your CV is the most relevant to the job role.
- Cover letters are often not mandatory when applying for graduate jobs however they are the ones that will make you stand out. By writing a cover letter, you can show that you’re the perfect candidate for the role and that you are passionate about the company. If your cover letter reflects that, it might increase your chance of getting the job against the competition.
- Job websites
There are a lot of job websites out there and it can get slightly overwhelming. Look through the ones you know, see which websites have more opportunities for your degree. I found most of the jobs relevant to my degree on LinkedIn Jobs platform, but you might find more of yours on Prospects or Milkround. The good thing about using prospects or milkround is that they’re graduate job websites. They tend to look for recent graduates and don’t ask for that much experience, so although you still have competition, you may have more chances of getting those jobs!
- Personal Branding and Connections
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get it now! Once you start building up connections (have you volunteered while at uni? Have you worked for someone? Connect with your colleagues, friends, course mates, managers!), the opportunities will start to come up. Not all of them will be relevant, not all of them will be even where you want to work, but some of the most amazing opportunities can come from the connections. I once posted about searching for a part-time job (during lockdown, when I struggled to get even a restaurant job), and one of my lecturers reached out to me and got me an interview. Make sure you use those connections because you never know where they may lead.
- Be realistic and don’t be afraid of rejections
Be realistic when applying for roles. Make sure that you tick their requirements and don’t apply for jobs that are asking for a lot more than you have to offer. This will only waste your time and won’t lead anywhere. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to reach for more than you think you can get. For example, they may be looking for someone with experience in a specific software, but if that’s the only thing you’re missing, just be passionate and show in your cover letter that you’re a quick learner and are committed to catch up.
Also, be prepared for rejections. Some of the companies won’t even reply to you, some will reject you. It’s part of the process and it’s hard but it gives you practice in applying and you will get a job eventually if you don’t give up.
- Build up your skills
If you can see a pattern of what the companies are looking for and what you need to have in your CV, maybe there’s a way for you to get experience or build up your skills? LinkedIn Learning has so many brilliant courses and once you complete them, you get a certificate that you can display on your profile. Also, ask your connections or look around your local area if you can get relevant volunteering experience. Lastly, if you haven’t had any work previously, maybe finding a temporary job in customer service would be a good place to start!
Graduate job market can be scary and there are so many things to think about, it is ok if you feel overwhelmed! Try to work with what you have: talk to the talent team, write out your cv, see what skills you’re missing, and go and get them! Once you build up your cv and get more and more experience, the process will get easier!
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