Those long years of study are finally coming to an end. It’s a great feeling, right? Well, it would be if you could find work after study.
It’s not that there isn’t any graduate employment. There really are opportunities.
The problem is that there are so many graduates, it makes it hard to find one that you can get. Don’t be put off by bad grades, if you have them – I had them and still managed to find work after university.
Here are some tips to help you find work after graduation and make your degree mean something.
Talk to Your University Job Centre
Most universities have a job centre. They offer help for students to find work during and after their studies.
Some universities even offer help to find various placements within specific areas. For example, Graduate Advantage helps people find work in the West Midlands and is run by Aston University – that is how I found my first graduate job.
They can also offer tips to make your CV perfect and get your cover letter ready to impress employers.
Use Your Sandwich Course Contacts
If you did a sandwich course then use those contacts. They are likely hiring graduates and, if you did a good job, they may hire you without an interview. Even if they want an interview, you can remind them of all the great work that you did while working for them for a year.
Those that aren’t currently hiring may be able to give you contacts of those that are offering work after study. You could also ask them for a reference, which will help you get your foot in the door.
Sandwich years are great – not just for getting graduate employment but for getting any type of employment. They show that you are capable of working for others and have the skills needed for employment.
Look Outside the Immediate Area
If you can, start looking outside of the immediate area. I made the choice to look at Coventry and Wolverhampton when I was living in Birmingham and I know plenty of others who did too.
Not all employers want to hire someone who has to commute as it causes other problems, but it does show your willingness for the job. It also increases your chances of getting work after study. This is especially beneficial if you live in a small area.
However, before you start applying, make sure you will be able to reach your work! Check train times if you need to or look at the distance you would be driving to and from your home address.
Another option is to start looking at moving your location entirely. If there is work in your area of study in another part of the country, consider moving there to get a job. You could apply for the job first and if you are offered it then start looking to move – there are always options for last minute moves if you really need to do it that way.
Network as Much as You Can
It’s not always what you know – sometimes just knowing the right person can get you a job. When I moved to Dundee, I couldn’t find work in the computer business. The game development companies were moving out to the States and there were people better than me for the software testing roles – I just hadn’t built up enough experience.
I found a job because of my mother-in-law.
Now, I constantly network. It’s good for me as a writer but it’s also great when you’re trying to find work after study. Take the time to talk to people you meet in bars and restaurants. Find out about the people on your current commute and go to networking events as much as possible.
Start Your Own Business Instead of Trying to Find Work After Study
Sometimes it is just best to start your own business. This does depend on your skills and degree but is a great opportunity.
I started freelancing when I was getting fed up with working for minimum wage in an area that really didn’t interest me. I loved writing and found that I could make a living from it. There are plenty of others who’ve started freelancing after graduating because it means they can do what they want and utilise their degree completely.
However, this requires a lot of marketing. You can’t just decide to start working for yourself and instantly earn a fortune. It all comes back to the networking – you need to know the right people (online and offline) to help get you started.
There is graduate employment out there. It may seem slim pickings but it depends where you are and the nature of your work.
Network and contact your university job centre. You may find getting work after study is a lot easier than you ever anticipated it being.