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10 tips for postgraduates looking for a job

  • Posted: 23/01/2020
10 tips for postgraduates looking for a job

So, you’ve graduated, fantastic! Congratulations! But now what?

You’ve dedicated the last few years of your young adult life studying for a degree and now you might be feeling a bit lost, demotivated and stuck in the unknown.

Worry not! These 10 tips for fresh graduates are here to help put you on the right track and give you a better perspective on your bright future.

1.Don’t panic!

Easier said than done, right? Well it’s true, there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t panic.

Firstly, you’re young and time is on your side. You don’t have to go rushing into a graduate role straight out of university, take your time if needs be to figure out what you truly want to do.

We know how tough it is for graduates coming out of university, not knowing what the future holds, regardless of whether you have an idea of what you want to do or not. Either way you have a valid qualification, something a lot of employers will be looking for, and that sets you apart from any non-graduate.

Fun fact, Half of UK graduates don’t work in their field of study, so don’t worry if you’ve had a change of heart about what you want to do. Many of our graduate recruitment consultants studied in a completely different field before joining our team, and now they work in an environment where organic growth is encouraged, and equal opportunities are given with only internal promotions.

What’s key is that you’re not alone, and thousands of students who have just graduated are in the same boat as you. So, keep paddling along and you’ll arrive at your destination sooner than you think.


2.Seek and you shall find

Perhaps this is blatantly obvious, but opportunities won’t just fall into your lap or appear out of thin air unless you look for them yourself.

Make use of the free resources at your disposal. There are many free job sites out there ready and waiting for you to upload your CV. At the same time, have a look at graduate recruitment sites like g2 Recruitment Solutions and Vivid Resourcing, where expert consultants will commit their time to help match you with your desired role.

It would be a good idea (if you haven’t already) to create a LinkedIn profile and upload your CV there. Employers will be searching for candidates on this platform and your CV might just come to their attention[NR1] .

At G2V, we have numerous examples of graduate recruiters who came out of university with a degree, perhaps feeling unsure about their future, and have found themselves working alongside likeminded, ambitious and social individuals in an energetic and social environment.


3.Tidy up your CV

Employers will spend less than 10 seconds looking at your CV, so it better be good!

It might have been a while since you last looked at your CV, perhaps it’s been sitting untouched in your documents picking up dust for some time now. Well now is the time to brush off those cobwebs and get your CV in tip-top shape and ready for those employers. Check out these valuable CV tips.

  • Keep your CV clear and concise, no more than two pages long
  • Use a simple template
  • Make sure to add a cover letter to get your personality across
  • Include keywords relating to the job description that the employer will be looking for
  • Tailor your CV to the specific job you’re applying for and don’t just send one generic CV to every employer
  • Include your experiences, skills and qualifications that relate to the role
  • Don’t lie – you’ll get caught out!


4.Be interview ready

When the day finally comes around and you land that interview you’ve patiently been waiting for, it’s crucial that you prepare yourself well in advance. Take note of these useful interview tips.


  • Research the company and job role
  • Revise your CV, cover letter and job description
  • Dress up smart
  • Plan your journey – Don’t wait until the day to figure out where you need to go
  • Arrive at least 10-15 minutes beforehand (unless told otherwise)
  • Practice a mock interview with a friend or relative


It may seem like a lot of effort, but you’ll thank us once you smash that next interview and land that job you wanted.


5.Consider relocating

Now this may seem out of the realms of possibility and a tad bit daunting, but have you considered relocating for a graduate job? Whether you answered yes or no to this question, relocating could be the fresh start you need.

Still not convinced? Here’s some food for thought.

A study by CV-Library revealed that Glasgow and London presented the highest graduate salaries at £26,195 and £25,909 so moving to these cities could set you up nicely.

However, some of our graduate recruiter consultants are earning around £40k OTE, in their first year of work. With our uncapped commission structure and earning potential being a huge incentive, graduates find themselves based in major cities across the UK and overseas.

If it’s the living costs you’re worried about, the same study by CV-Library revealed living up north in cities like Sheffield and Newcastle turned out to be the cheapest for graduates.


If you enjoyed the social side of university, then you will be able to continue this by relocating to a major city, where clubs, pubs and restaurants are on every corner. The social aspect of relocating to a city is a big part of our own graduate recruiters’ decision in joining our business.

Change is a good thing and relocating will enable you to be yourself and meet new people who have no preconceived opinions of you. Plus, living away from home gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (within reason).

We’re by no means telling you that you should relocate for a graduate job, but maybe it’s something worth thinking about.


6.Brush up your social media

There’s a pretty good chance that employers and recruiters will have a browse at your social media accounts when considering you for a role. No matter how amazing your CV is or how great you are in person, if your social media has a few skeletons in its closet then your chances of employment could be #outthewindow.

If you have a few unflattering photos on your Instagram account or a few silly tweets that you posted on a drunken night out, then consider making some changes.

You don’t necessarily have to delete these pictures or posts, although it’s a quick and easy solution, but you could reconsider the privacy settings on your accounts.

Alternatively, you could create separate accounts and dedicate one to your social life (maybe keep this private) and one for work and networking which your employers can see.

Ultimately if you stay professional and sensible on social media, you’ll be sure to make the right impression.


7.Keep yourself busy

Now you’ve graduated you may be finding that you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and maybe you don’t know what to do with yourself. Well instead of sitting their twiddling your thumbs and waiting for Netflix to upload the latest (insert your favourite series here) it’s important that you keep yourself busy to avoid feeling down and demotivated.

Why not try a few of these tips.

  • Look for some work experience in the field you’re hoping to get into. This may be unpaid, but at least you’ll get an idea of what your industry is like and more importantly if you enjoy it. Plus, it looks great on your CV!
  • Get a hobby! Whether you start a blog, pick-up a sport or decide to join your Nan’s local knitting class, a hobby is something that will keep you occupied and take your mind off any stresses when it comes to search for a job after graduation
  • Finding a job is a job in itself, so dedicate a portion of your free time searching for a career, tidying up your CV and brushing up your social media
  • Take up any freelance work that comes your way, this will not only keep you busy but it’s something you can add to your portfolio


8.Focus on you

It’s easy to feel the pressure when you see your university mates secure jobs before you and it’s understandable to feel like everyone is moving on without you. If you feel like this, take a step back, breathe and focus on you.

Interestingly, 19 out of 20 graduates have switched careers by the age of 24. So, realise that the career you dreamed of getting might not be the right one for you and that’s okay. You will eventually find your feet, taking aspects of your previous jobs and experiences, in a career that suites you.

Aimlessly applying for any old job out of desperation is not the best way to go about things. You should only apply for jobs that truly interest you or roles that you see yourself doing – even if it doesn’t relate to your degree.

Go at your own pace, start searching for a career and commit yourself when you and only you are ready. Even though it’s hard, don’t cave into the pressure of what everyone else is doing or telling you to do, don’t rush into anything just for the sake of it.


9. Know when to apply

Keeping up with the various graduate jobs, graduate schemes, internships and work placements is tricky, because there are so many out there. However, knowing when to apply for these various opportunities is simple, just look at the typical timeframes below.

  • Graduate Jobs - all year round, with seasonal peaks usually between May - July and September - November
  • Graduate Schemes - September the year prior
  • Internships - September the year prior
  • Work Experience – All year round


10. Stay positive!

Again, this is easier said than done, slightly self-explanatory and a little bit cliché, but it’s crucial to success.

Keep a positive mindset and tell yourself (literally tell yourself) that you will get something. That something may not be your dream graduate role or maybe it will, regardless it will be an opportunity for you to kick-start your postgraduate life.

It might not be an easy journey and it may take some time, but you’ll guarantee to succeed if you stay positive!

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