One of our recent graduates asked us: The struggles of finding a graduate job is very disheartening.. any tips? So, here’s some tips from our team.

When you ask a question, others are probably thinking it too. In this series ‘any tips?’, I’ll be taking your requests to our teams for answers. We kick off this week with one submitted by a recent graduate, looking for tips to not let yourself be disheartened on the journey to your first graduate role. Here’s what our team has to say:

Hannah from Unitemps writes: This may be a cliché, but perseverance and learn from every interview/application! Ask for feedback whenever you can get it to make the next application better, gain work experience to get your foot in the door and to give you examples at interviews. I got my first retail job by going into New Look and handing in a CV (that’s what you did in those days) they said they needed someone with more experience and I said ok let me work two weeks as a volunteer to gain experience and at the end of the two weeks they offered me a weekend job because I had proved myself. Doesn’t apply to all roles I know, but you get the gist!

Sophie, Director of Enterprise & Employability says: My tip would be to target particular companies you’d really like to work for, and look for a way of getting your foot in the door – temping is a brilliant way to do this, and I know so many people who have started as a temp and worked their way up – often very quickly. My other tip is to network like mad – people buy people, and chance conversations can sometimes result in doors opening. See every conversation as a potential opportunity, even with someone in the queue at a supermarket – sounds bizarre but try it!

Amber from GradForce reminds you: Even if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and going nowhere, you always have a choice. Even when you feel at your lowest, and feel like you’re getting nowhere with the job hunt, making a choice to look after yourself and keep learning and growing is so important. It’s okay to want to have a bit of a slump and binge watch some shows when things don’t feel like they’re going your way. But remember, to pick yourself up. Only you can muster up your own motivation and reflect on what needs to be done to achieve your goals. Maybe there’s a skill or two you could develop more? FutureLearn offer 100s of free courses that you can enrol on straight away and be awarded with a certificate! Or maybe, there’s some new stress-relieving habits you can create for yourself. There’s lots of free apps out there with home workouts, meditation etc. Find what works for you, and look after yourself during this stressful time and you’ll take those good habits with you into the workplace and continue them for life. Go for it with learning more, but it’s ok if you just don’t feel like it at first.

Susannah from Careers & Enterprise Hub says: Remember all the great stuff you’ve already achieved. Congratulations on achieving your degree! If you’ve done any volunteering or work or additional courses and learning along the way, well done for that too – and don’t forget to include it in your CV. If you haven’t yet done volunteering or any online learning, why not start now? Also, treat your job search like a full time job – be boundaried with your time, and make sure you take a lunch break, and finish at the end of the day. You can’t write quality applications if you’re exhausted by the quantity.

Charlotte from Employment & Enterprise advised: If you’re applying for lots of jobs and not getting offered interviews, it’s time to review your CV/applications;
If you’re getting offered interviews but not jobs, it’s time to review your interview prep and technique.
For help with both, go to the Careers and Enterprise Hub (via the blue button on the link here) virtual drop-in Live Chat (10-12 and 2-4, Mon-Fri)!

Abbie, Head of Employment & Enterprise recommends a read of this article, so you know you’re not alone if you’re receiving rejections. It advises always asking for feedback from unsuccessful applications and interviews, and make sure you let your personality shine through!

Andy from Careers & Enterprise Hub brings the final piece of advice: Understand who you are! This goes beyond just knowing what you are interested in and what you are not. I mean, understand what makes you tick as a person. What type of workplace environments would suit you and which would make you really stressed. Appreciating how you approach things compared to someone else can really set you apart to a recruiter, and you will only really know this by taking some time to reflect. I did this by first taking the Myers Briggs Personality Test, a short test online that was completely free and allowed me to understand where my natural strengths are. It also showed me how I will generally approach most situations in life as well as how I interact with others. By understanding this about myself, I now feel more able to know if a role being advertised would suit me. It really helped me feel less insecure when it came to job hunting, because I was no longer fooling myself to say I should be perfect for roles that really do not suit my personality type or don’t give me the opportunity to demonstrate my natural strengths.
There are some great places to try these personality tests – you can find them on The Careers and Enterprise Online Hub as well as via the 16 personalities website. I would really recommend looking into this and posting your reflections on your LinkedIn profile. A self-aware candidate always will be more appealing to a recruiter than one who is trying to be someone that they are not!

What tips would you like our lovely teams to give you? If there’s anything you’re keen for some advice on, do comment below or email careers@canterbury.ac.uk and we’ll put your request to them!

Getting further support from The Careers and Enterprise Team at CCCU

You can get ongoing careers support via the following ways: