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Finding a job after university

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In today’s climate the job market can seem like a pretty bleak place and recent graduates could be forgiven for feeling like they’re banging their heads against a brick wall.  However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are jobs out there and by putting the effort in and making yourself stand out, you will place yourself in good stead to get your feet on the first rung of the career ladder. Here’s some tips on finding a job after university.

Treat your job search as a job in itself

Set aside certain hours each day to spend searching for roles, researching companies, sending off CVs and monitoring social networking sites. Keep up to date on developments in your chosen field and try to gain as much experience as possible. Remember that every person you meet while on a placement is a potential future employer. As well as gaining experience and boosting your CV you’ll make contacts that may come in handy as your career progresses.


Social networking has never been easier. Sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are invaluable for job hunters. Not only do they allow you to create a brand for yourself by posting relevant comments about your chosen field, they also give you an insight into what is going on jobs wise at different companies. Don’t be shy in joining in with online debates and discussions if you have something worth saying. It shows you have well thought out arguments and a genuine interest in the subject matter.


Before sending off a cover letter and CV it is always worth doing a bit of research into the company you are applying to join. Find out as much as you can about the role and tweak your application to show how you would be suited to the post. If you’re sending a speculative application make sure it is addressed to the right person. You can find out the name of the appropriate department manager or managing director on LinkedIn or the company’s website. If all else fails, ring and ask the receptionist.

Be personal

First impressions count and for most potential employers the first impression the get of you will come from your CV and cover letter. For this reason it’s important that you let your personality shine through. Of course you should be professional but be yourself too. Employers will have many applications to sift through so one that is a bit more personal than the others is more likely to stand out.

Perfect your CV and cover letter

finding a job after uniDon’t decide you’re happy with your CV and leave it at that. Tweak it for each and every job application. For some jobs certain aspects of your CV will be more relevant than others so make sure it is tailored to suit the exact company and role you are applying for. The same goes for cover letters. Each job will have different requirements and every company has a different culture so make sure your cover letter addresses points made in the job description and shows that you will fit in with the company’s culture and staff. Employers can spot a generic application a mile off so put the effort in to show you want this particular post. Use bullet points to get information across succinctly and ensure there is plenty of white space on the page, making it easier to read. Quirky fonts and coloured paper will make your CV stand out but for all the wrong reasons.  Stick to good quality white paper, black ink and a traditional font. It goes without saying but there are no excuses for poor grammar, spelling mistakes or typos in a CV or letter so use spell check, get at least one other person to proof read it for you and go over it with a fine tooth comb before you send it off.

Be prepared to start at the bottom

You may have a great degree but that doesn’t always trump hands on experience. In many careers you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. University will certainly help you get a foot in the door and may help you climb the ladder more quickly but you do need hands on experience of working in the industry. You will find it easier to be accepted for positions with more responsibility if you have shown you’re willing to put in the effort. Plus you will be in a better position to hear of any vacancies that come up. You have the rest of your working life to climb the ladder so don’t be disheartened if your first job turns out to be a bit less glamorous than you’d hoped.






About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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