It’s the new year and you’re starting to get clammy hands, a dryness in your mouth, and you’re feeling just a tad jittery. Why, you ask yourself? Love at first sight? An overly indulgent kebab coming back to haunt you? Or perhaps you're about to feel like Will did in that fateful Inbetweeners episode? No way José. You’ve got that sinking feeling because it’s 6 months till you graduate and then you have to get a job in the real world. Don’t despair just yet, because we’ve got some handy tips below to help you on the road to landing a job.
1. Update your CV
It’s a no brainer but it must be said: the first step is to make sure your CV is up to date. Spellchecking, using correct grammar and punctuation (take out that semi-colon, it ain’t impressing anyone) and ensuring you’re showcasing your skills and experience in the best light possible are all crucial to making a good first impression. Just imagine Claude Littner from The Apprentice is about to read your CV, so make sure you do your best to stay in the good books. Get your uni career advisor to read it, take out that Comic Sans font and avoid clichés like you set out ‘SMART’ objectives.
2. Be aware of application deadlines
Notoriously competitive due to sweet starting salaries, training and benefits, a lot of graduate schemes have already closed. But there are plenty of attractive firms that have later deadlines. L’Oreal and Tesco have deadlines at the end of January, whilst Shell, Santander, and Pinsent Masons all close their applications in March. These schemes tend to ask you to fill out a lengthy online application, where they will often ask competency questions alongside requesting a CV, so make sure you set out enough time to do yourself justice. Stay on top of the deadlines for these schemes by checking them out here.
3. Considering going old school on your job hunt
The majority of companies in the UK are SMEs or ‘Small to medium sized enterprises’, and often these businesses don’t often do their recruiting through formal grad schemes or mainstream job boards. Getting in touch with smaller companies and startups, either emailing or phoning them directly, just short of harassing them, can be shrewd strategy in landing a job if done right. There’s often less competition, you could negotiate the nature of your role, and often there’s less red tape and hierarchy in these places so career development can happen at a faster pace. Find out what opportunities there could be for you in startups here.
4. Think about internships and work placements
Not completely sure you have your heart set on something? Doing an internship or a work placement is an ideal way to get a feel of what it would be like to work there, without the pressure of being fully committed. However, be aware that not all internships are made equal and some will get you useful exposure and valuable connections, whilst the less desirable ones will have you making morning lattés for Phil from I.T. Keep one eye on the latest internship opportunities here.
5. use your connections to your advantage
Get talking to your family and friends about job roles and career advice. Obviously things have changed a lot in the job market these days, but good ol' Uncle Barry might pull out a zinger and get you in touch with someone in an industry you're interested in. Sceptical of this approach? Don't write off your family and friends just yet. Just because your dad doesn't have extensive mafia like connections like The Godfather doesn't mean he might not have useful contacts that could give you a quick boost onto the job ladder.
So make the most of your time this January. Set aside plenty of time to do your research and preparation so you’ll be like Will Smith in the first picture of this article, and hopefully not the following image come graduation. Good luck!