It took me almost a year to find my first graduate job, and in that time I made a lot of mistakes that kept me from getting a job sooner.
So to help any grad out there who is struggling to find employment I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 biggest mistakes and what I did differently to finally land a great graduate job.
Please note: I will be launching a blog at the end of this month www.graduatejobinaweek.co.uk please check it out and subscribe now for lots more in depth info, step by step instructions and tips on how to get a graduate job fast.
Mistake no 1) Sticking To The Same Old Methods
What I was doing wrong: Registering my CV on job websites like Monster, Jobsite, Fish4Jobs, only responding to job adverts online etc etc
The Problem: There were two problems here:
i) that’s what everybody does – so more competition and
ii) it has the lowest success rate out of any job search method – only 5% of all job offers are gained through job websites.
What I did instead: Ditch the job websites and Go Direct.
I got my first graduate job by contacting the employer directly, not surprising as going direct has the highest success rate out of any job search method – 70% of all job offers come from those who contacted the employer directly vs 5% via registering on job websites
You can do this too by either emailing, calling them or contacting them via social media [I will have an in-depth instructional article on this on my blog soon]
Mistake no 2) Relying On Recruitment Agencies
What I was doing wrong: Relying far too much on recruitment consultants: I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been let down by them – and I used to be one!
Why is it a problem: lots of reasons but the main one is this: success rates are fairly low for recruiters: only 14% of all job offers are a result from using recruitment agencies.
What I did instead: for graduate and entry level positions, recruiters are just not necessary, I discarded them just like job websites – and started contacting employers directly instead:
Mistake no 3) Being Way too Passive About Opportunities
What I was doing wrong: I’ll be honest, when I started my job search for a graduate career I did very little, I was waiting for job ads to show up and if I liked the sound of a job (which wasn’t very often) I’d send a CV and then wait for someone to call me back. Which almost no one did.
Why is it a problem: 80% of jobs aren’t advertised. By waiting for opportunities to show up you miss out on the majority, and often the best jobs out there.
What I did instead: Rather than waiting for an opportunity – I set out to create one.
I stopped waiting for the perfect job advert to show up. Instead, would call or email lots and lots of companies I was interested in and anticipate a job coming up.
And it worked - the graduate job I ended up getting wasn’t even advertised…if I just kept waiting for someone to call me back I would have missed it completely. Be pro-active, not reactive.
Mistake no 4) Letting All The Rejections Get To Me
What I was doing wrong: When you face rejection after rejection and are constantly told ‘no’ its tough to keep going. As it took me almost a year to get a job, it was difficult not to take rejection personally and to start thinking that there was something wrong with me rather than my approach
Why is it a problem: If you’re feeling discouraged that starts to seep into your jobsearch attempts and your interviews, which has a knock on effect. No confidence = no job offer as employers typically look for confident graduates.
What I did instead:
I began to look at failure as feedback. Rather than thinking it was ‘me’ that the employers were rejecting it was actually my approach.
So I got a pen and paper, sat down and looked at what I was struggling with (which were the way I answered interview questions and my lack of confidence) and set about changing those areas. Always ask yourself what you can do differently and keep persisting.
Mistake no 5) Not Preparing For Interviews
What I was doing wrong: Another huge mistake I kept making was that I treated interviews the same way as exams at university– I would only start preparing the night before.
Why is it a problem:
You might be able to half-ass exams, but you can’t half-ass interviews.
Although I couldn’t be bothered preparing for interviews, there were plenty of other ambitious, hungry grads out there who had done their research and walked away with a job offer instead of me.
What I did instead: When I understood that this was one of my main problems I started to practice accordingly, by doing my research and by pre-preparing my answers which resulted in the actual interviews being a lot smoother and ultimately more successful.
Those are the main things I corrected (which eventually helped me find a grad job after a long, long time)