By Mel Lynch
With 2016/17 delivering a total of 757,300 Higher Education UK graduates into the world of work, the prospect of graduate employment or even beginning your job search can be daunting to say the least. University in many ways is a bubble of security from adult life, but as your degrees end is on the horizon it’s time to take your employment prospects by the horns and prepare for getting that all important grad job.
Whilst we’ve been conditioned to fear the end of University with brash statistics of student unemployment, increasing rent prices and the ever looming threat of Brexit plastered everywhere, there are definitely ways to tackle your job search both practically and efficiently.
After getting in contact with Cardiff University careers advisor Helen Mcnally, one of her top tips for beginning a graduate job search is starting early. Even if unsure about which career path you are keen to pursue, there are countless careers fairs taking place across the year within the University. These fairs provide invaluable opportunity to speak to employers, making vital future contacts and finding out the different types of jobs and internships available. Often these same employers are also present at panels and skills workshops to aid you with your future applications (all details can be accessed via Your Careers Account on the Student Intranet).
Helen also tells me that checking the Careers and Employability Jobs Board (via your Careers Account) can be vital to succeeding in your grad job search. Here houses 100’s of employers who are specifically looking for Cardiff University graduates and current students. In my personal experience, I have found the careers account to be a great aid for work experience and internships in my second year, which helped me in finding a crucial summer internship. Another way to start your search is to get online, signing up to the mailing lists of recruitment agencies TargetJobs, Prospects, Grad Jobs and Milkround, enables them to send you regular vacancies that are relevant to the sectors you desire.
Additionally, Helen suggests to not limit yourself to solely looking at traditional employer recruitment sites. More and more organisations are taking to social media sites to recruit future workers. Sprucing up your Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter profiles can make you a desirable candidate and opens you up to more digitally advertised opportunities by following the companies that interest you.
Lastly, perhaps the most important piece of advice to give is to be proactive, update your CV/ cover letter and spend a bit of time this week considering what your aspirational career might be and develop a plan of action. As the cliché goes, sometimes it’s not what you know. It’s who you know. Speak to those who you think could help your search, attend networking events and taster days, once you make that first step that’s often the hardest part over.