10 Top Tips For Job Hunting Graduates

Written by Becca Davis - 17 September 2018

A group of male and female students

For 3-4 years you've worked your socks off (or coasted your way through lectures and deadlines), to the very moment you start to see money coming into your account and you can actually afford to eat food other than beans on toast. But before you can start earning (and stop living off your student loan), you've got one last hurdle… finding a job.

So where to start?...

  1. Set Aside Time To Apply

    When I first started applying, firstly it felt like all my friends already had jobs (realistically only a handful did) and secondly, I thought you could get away with just sending a few applications off. Unfortunately, looking for a job is a job in itself! Once I got into the swing of it I set aside a couple of days each week to research and apply solidly which paid off. Don't think the jobs will come to you!

  2. Update Your CV

    It sounds obvious but update your CV and more importantly, check it for typos! You'd be surprised how many people submit CVs with grammatical mistakes. Once you've checked it, get your mum, dad, or a friend to check it too.

  3. Cover Letters Are Key

    Another rookie error I made early on in my post-university job hunting spree was thinking my CV was enough. No such luck. Every application needs a cover letter and every cover letter must be tailored to the job you're applying for. Make sure your CV and cover letter reflect everything the employer is looking for in their ideal candidate. Top tip – use the key words they use in the job description in your application!

  4. Research The Company You're Applying To

    It's a bit of an arduous task (especially when you're apply for 4-5 jobs a day), but it pays off. Companies want to see that you've researched what they do and it helps in the long run as you'll always get asked what you know about the company in interviews.

  5. Don't Be Put Off By Rejection

    I think the majority of us are naïve about the level of rejection we'll encounter when we begin job hunting. Trust me, it takes a number of applications (and hours of applying) before you'll even so much as receive a response. That said, 90% of the time companies aren't even courteous enough to let you know they aren't interested. Not so much as an automated email. Don't be put off when you don't hear back. And definitely don't hold off applying for other roles while you hang on desperately to the hope you'll get an interview for the dream job you applied for. Perseverance is key.

  6. Update Your Linkedin Profile

    Increasingly employers are taking to LinkedIn to research candidates. So what's the best way to use LinkedIn for job hunting? Making sure your LinkedIn page is up to date is a good way of personal branding and to showcase in detail what skills you have. Not to mention this is a channel recruiters often use now. Another social media savvy tip….make sure your social media channels reflect the image you want to portray to your employer. That photo of you lying in the middle of the road after a few bottles of prosecco? Probably about time you deleted it!

  7. Get Yourself Out There – Network, Network Network!

    Networking is invaluable. The majority of my work experience placements were through people I knew. When you get into the workplace you'll be encouraged to network, whether it's at events or building up your contacts via email or on the phone – after all, it's not what you know, it's who you know! If you're a CMI member, start building your peer-to-peer network by joining our Future Leaders Facebook Community

  8. Experience, Experience, Experience!

    As we saw in recent CMI research, 85% of employers look for graduates with work experience, with 79% of the students who have done a placement or internship saying it's improved their employability.

  9. Go Through A Recruiter

    I would go as far as to say the majority of companies these days use recruiters when hiring talent. Three out of the four jobs I've had I went through a recruitment agency and would highly recommend it. Often it's not even obvious that you're applying through a recruiter. Recruiters are typically specific to industries so do some research and find the top recruiters for your chosen industry. There's no charge for you and it's often a far quicker turnaround. It's a win-win!

  10. Don't Be Put Off If You Don't Have All The Skills In The Job Description

    Don't be put off from applying for a job just because you haven't got all the skills they've outlined in the job description. Often these skills are desirables rather than essential and as a graduate you're unlikely to be able to tick off every box. Go for it and sell the skills you do have and show how they apply to what they want!

Are you a student taking a CMI-backed qualification? If so then you can take advantage of our CV checking service on Management Direct.

For more information on what skills employers want, read CMI's latest research or join our Future Leaders community for advice.


Becca Davis

25 years young. PR Manager at CMI. 2013 graduate from Oxford Brookes. Gym bunny. Lover of all things sweet, prosecco, and naps.

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