How To Apply For Graduate Jobs


Around this time last year I was weeks away from writing the final exams that would mark the end of my degree in Chemical Engineering. All I remember is constantly applying for jobs and receiving rejections or not receiving any feedback at all. As I mentioned before I currently work in the financial sector but I could have done things a lot differently when I first started applying. So for those of you soon to be graduates who are in the same situation that I was in last year, I have put together 5 fundamental ways to land you your first graduate job.

1.Apply For Graduate Schemes On Time!

This is something that I did not do. I was so busy with my final year project, assignments and exam preparation. Before I knew it graduation was 3 months away and a lot of the graduate scheme applications had closed.

You need to start applying within the first 3 months of final year, September to November. All major graduate schemes for major industries start closing as early as the January. J.P.Morgan, Barclays, Shell, TFL are just a few of many graduate schemes that you have to apply for on time. 

However there are a few graduate schemes that I know of that run throughout the year. Examples are FDM and Capgemini. Do your research early and apply on time to avoid disappointment.

2. Use Job Search Engines Correctly

A lot of people tend to use search engines incorrectly when applying for graduate jobs. The correct method is to type the word "graduate" before the particular profession i.e. Graduate Web Developer. 

It is better to apply for jobs that have the word "graduate" in front, because employers do not expect you to have experience, so you are more likely to get the job. If you apply for a normal advertised job, the advertisement will always state that the relevant experience is needed. You could be competing against people who have many years of experience, thus lowering the likeliness of job success. 

The most useful job searching sites are: job serve, graduate jobsindeed, target jobs, cw jobs and reed. Or simply search "graduate jobs" by using popular search engines such as google, yahoo or bing. 

3. Use Linkedln!

For those of you who don't know, Linkedln is a social media site for professionals. You can upload your CV, write about your work experience, your degree and even upload external certifications. Headhunters are on this site daily searching for new employees. Companies such as Missguided advertise all their vacancies via their Linkedln page daily.

Back in December a friend of mine who finished university had exhausted all his methods of applying for jobs. I don't know anyone who applied for more graduate schemes than him!. This guy had a 1st class in a highly respected degree, and 1 year of experience at the worlds largest IT company IBM

Now what I'm about to tell you happened all in 1 day.....One morning after months of frustration and disappointment my friend decided to revamp his Linedln. Linkedln has this feature which shows you what level your profile is at, ranging from poor to excellent. He looked at good examples of other excellent profiles on Linkedln and rewrote his CV to only 2 pages. (Your CV should never be more than 2 pages, employers tend to stop reading beyond 2 pages due to the fact that they have to look through many others. CV's first go through an electronic filter system, If you don't have key words in your CV then it will be thrown out straight away)

In a nut shell, that same day my friend got head hunted for a job at Total. Yes the oil and gas company Total, in 1 day! He now sits very high up, in a very nice office, on a very high salary and will soon be buying a very nice house all at the age of 22, straight out of uni lool. This story should motivate all of you out there to re-do your Linkedln profiles, look at examples of good profiles, take professional pictures, follow headhunters and apply to the jobs they advertise! 

4. Attend Careers Fairs

Every University/ College have events where employers come to advertise job opportunities. You need to identify before the event the specific companies that you are most interested in. The university usually publishes the list of employers attending before the careers fair. 

On the day take a note pad and pen, get as much information from the company representative as possible. Asks questions like:- What do they want to see in your CV? What is the length of the graduate scheme? What will make you stand out from other graduates? Research the companies ethics i.e. some companies do a lot of work within the community so are looking for someone who regularly volunteers and lives a balanced life.

Most importantly try to get a personal email address or personal contact details from someone within the company on that day. If you're not good at people skills or forming a good lasting impression then read the book titled "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Having someone who can guide you or put in a good word for you will have a serious positive effect on your job success. "It's not what you know it's who you know"

5. Don't Give Up!

I just want to encourage those of you who may have lost hope, success will come. I had such little knowledge when it came to job applications, I didn't really know what job role I wanted to be in after uni and I applied super late! If God helped someone like me then he can help anyone. Applying for graduate jobs can be a difficult task but don't give up, no matter how many rejections you get just keep trying! Once you get the first job getting other jobs will be a lot easier because you already have the skills and experience to talk your way through interviews.

With that being said I will say do your research. I knew that Engineering was a degree that gave me transferable skills to work in many industries such as the financial sector, they prefer Engineers and Mathematicians. I could alternatively move in to the oil and gas or even the IT sector. I knew the possibilities were endless with my degree. Your degree choice is a very important factor so if you need to take a gap year to decide then take that time out. There is nothing worse than spending 3+ years of your life doing a degree, then not being able to find a good job. 

Lastly if you are able to do a year in industry during your university course (known as a sandwich course) then do it! This is something I didn't do because I wanted to leave uni so badly lol, but all the people I know that did a year in industry ended up being retained by the same company or getting extremely good jobs straight out of uni. It really helps!

I was asked "do you think the type of university you go to counts", my personal answer to this question is yes. University is so much more than just getting a good degree, you aren't spending thousands of pounds to get a piece of paper. The connections and future job prospects that you can achieve at university is what really matters. 

What has taken someone 19 years to achieve, you can achieve in your first year as a graduate, I'm speaking from experience because I am that example. I am fortunate because I didn't go to an Ivy League / Russell Group university, neither was I the smartest person in my class. I am honestly just blessed, but I don't intend on going to anything less than an Ivy League school for my masters. Surveys carried out indicate that people who gain work experience before hand make better use of their master degrees, do your research. 

Education and experience is so important guys whether you want to own your own business, work in the worlds top companies earning the biggest salaries, or do both. Learn from the best and serve the best to become even better than the best!

 If you guys liked this post and want me to share more tips on career success such as CV writing please let me know in the comment section below. Thank you all for stopping by and I'll see you all soon.

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  1. Very nice write up, Please put up a post of how to write a proper cv.
    Thank you

  2. Very nice write I'm an American and would love to see more career advice.

  3. Would love to read some more career and Cv tips from you!

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