Ok so we’ve got our new email address, we’ve got plenty of time before we graduate because we are ‘proactive’ students, and we have a master CV full of interesting and important information about ourselves. What’s next…?
1. Decide what sort of job you fancy
This is important but don’t worry about being too specific, the broader the better. However, it’s good to have a general idea when it comes to searching. Just ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to stay in your degree area?
- Is there a certain location/city/country you want to work in?
- How flexible can you be in hours/days/travel?
- Do you want to work outside or inside?
- Do you want to work with the public? With clients? Or just for a company?
These questions help you build a picture of your working life - don’t worry about the specifics just yet. As you start reading job adverts you’ll start building up a picture of what you like and don’t like, but early on, just keep it broad.
2. Set up job alerts
Half the task of job searching is actually finding something suitable. There are loads of job sites, companies and organisations that if you subscribe to them they will email you jobs either daily, weekly, or monthly. This is great if you aren’t sure what job you fancy yet - you can pick a broad area like ‘environment’ and get sent a range of jobs linked to the environment. That way you can have a read through a get some ideas on what you fancy.
3. Work experience
Never say no to gaining experience, it is so valuable and is the core reason I have been offered my job. I volunteered with the MBA’s data team and now I will be doing the same work for a marine based charity but actually be paid. You can gain experience in a variety of areas and skills you learn can then be applied to so many different jobs.
4. Don’t underestimate yourself.
So what if you don’t have the 2 years experience of doing the job? If you’ve studied for three years and volunteered places on the side, apply anyway. The worst thing they are going to say is no. It’s rare that they will have applicants that will fit all the requirements so if you fit at least half of them, or can cover all the ‘essential’ requirements, give it a go. Especially you’re a female, apparently women on average will only apply if they cover at least 90% of the requirements whereas men will apply if they cover only 50% of the requirements. So don’t put yourself down, send off an application and let them make the decision, you lose nothing by applying.
5. Get out there and meet people
It’s easy to hide behind a computer and keep writing applications, but most people find jobs through already knowing someone who works there. Don’t worry if you’re not one of the lucky people who’s family have friends all over the place, you don’t need a great uncle working as the Director, all you need is a good conference. Yes, conferences are scary - I’ve not met anyone who, as a student, enjoys going to a conference and trying to talk to the big bosses. But guess what? That means very few people do! Which also means when you do it you are remembered, not as the silly little student who dared to try and talk to us but as the proactive, confident and enthusiastic student who will soon be on the job market.
Find a conference in the area you like the look of and go along. Some are free, most provide discounts for students and if you contact them early enough you can sometimes volunteer to help out in running it in exchange for free entry. Anyone you meet, and I mean anyone, add them on LinkedIn. Don’t be shy, just do it, because then they will have access to basically your CV and know that you are job hunting. Even if they don’t have anything available, a friend of theirs might. Networking isn’t about becoming best friends with someone, it’s just having an introduction, chatting for a few minutes about the work they do, chatting about what you do and then getting a contact. You don’t need to do the awkward asking for a business card if that’s not you, just remember their name and add them on LinkedIn.