Looking beyond the end of your final year can be both an exciting and challenging time. The Careers Team at Bath Spa University want students to get the most out of their degree and are always on hand to offer help and advice. Graduate Opportunities Officer Jenna has come up with 5 top tips to help with your graduate job search.
1. Searching for opportunities
Unearthing the relevant opportunity can often prove the first hurdle for graduating students, but you can do more than simply scouring job sites. It’s estimated that only 30% of graduate role are publicly advertised – so if you have a specific role in mind, it may be appropriate to speculatively contact an employer to ask about potential openings, at the least they may add you to their files for future openings.
However, you may wish to try using more words in your online search, search for exact phrases in quotation marks, or search alternative networking sites i.e. linkedin.com or hiive.co.uk (for creative jobs). Alternatively, you could choose to use a recruitment agency. Above all, make sure you are proactive in your job search!
2. All about experience
Having relevant voluntary or work experience will really help you to stand out in the graduate employment market. Employers are increasingly stressing the importance of prior experience, as it can demonstrate transferable and interpersonal skills, which other candidates may not be able to demonstrate as clearly. It also demonstrates initiative and, shows that you have a basic understanding (if relevant to the sector). Furthermore, it will let employers know that you are already accustomed to a working environment, all-in-all giving you a head-start on other candidates in an often saturated market. Oh, and do you know that Bath Spa Careers offer paid, graduate placements?
3. Get your cover letter ready
The majority of employers require a CV and cover letter to consider whether applicants are suited to specific roles, so it’s really important that you create the right impression with your words – always keep it positive! Use the job description to help match your experience to the role and emphasise a demonstration of any relevant skills or projects. Show your enthusiasm for the role, briefly stating why this particular company and position stands out. Remember to always do your research and spell-check twice for errors!
For the majority of jobs your letter shouldn’t run more than a page in length and you should always try to obtain the name of the appropriate person to address it too.
4. Practice makes perfect
Acknowledging that you’re nervous before an interview is good, as it’s a natural instinct and is common for the majority of students. Despite your anxieties, always try to keep a positive outlook and takes the necessary steps to ensure you are as prepared as possible. Research the sector and organisation so you have background information to refer to. Read over the job description again or any documents sent, to give yourself a point of reference upon interview.
It’s also useful to consider the questions that may be asked, and think about a question you may have for the employer – it’s recommended you provide at least one. Practise your answers aloud or with friends and plan your potential journey and what you might wear. Most importantly, try to relax the night and morning before, as last minute preparation may increase anxiety and stress.
5. Dress for success
Having verbally prepared for your interview, you need to consider how you will physically present yourself to your potential employer. Most of it is common sense, but just ensure; you know how to get to your interview and have worked out the journey time. It’s generally considered good practice to carry your interview letter/email with you, along with a copy of your CV or application. Always dress appropriate, some employers are more relaxed than others, but if you’re uncertain play it safe with a suit, dress or skirt. Make sure that personal grooming is adhered and if you have a disability, you may wish to mention any reasonable adjustments you’d like the employer to make pre-interview.
For further assistance or advice on your graduate job search, visit Career Hub (BSU student log-in required) or contact the Careers Team on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also drop by the Careers reception in Steward’s Lodge, opposite the Newton Park library bus stop.