11+ Tips if You Are Struggling to Find a Job After University

In Career, General by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

You have probably just completed your final year of university. Congratulations! However, suddenly the realisation may have dawned on you that you have to find a job. Although many students are able to transition smoothly from university to work life, many find it tricky to find their dream job. There are many steps you can take to better your job opportunities and improve your chances of finding the dream job you long for.

There is no simple way to find the perfect job, but by following some simple steps you can increase your chances of finding more options in your search. If you find yourself struggling to find a job after university, you are not alone. Reading this article will give you some helpful tips to start you in the right direction.

1. Sign up for job search websites

There are many job search websites that you can quickly sign up for online. These will allow you to search for your ideal job, filtering jobs based on your degree, location and ideal salary.

Some of the best websites to complete your job search include:

  • Indeed This is now one of the biggest job websites. It enables people to find a variety of jobs in different industries, different levels and in different styles from freelance to full-time.
  • Monster Similarly to Indeed, Monster’s job search tools enable easy searching of a range of different work styles, positions and levels of employment. It also provides salary comparison tools.
  • GlassdoorThis allows you to search for jobs, compare salaries, research and find honest reviews about companies and apply directly for job vacancies.

Another good option for graduates is Scouted. They aim to match graduates with companies through personally understanding their skills, passions and potential, advocating these.

Many job search websites will be available in a downloadable app. This means you can access additional features such as phone alerts when new jobs are added.

2. Upload your CV onto websites

Another helpful step you can take is to write a CV and upload it onto online websites such as LinkedIn.

This has many benefits, such as allowing future employers to access your CV, which may increase your chances of being offered a job. Additionally, it increases the chance of recruiters accessing your CV, who may directly recommend a job to you or give you the details of an employer who may be interested.

Your CV is an important tool in widening your access to job opportunities. You may be searching for a particular job, but through uploading your CV, are approached by an employer for an alternative position. It is almost impossible to get any job without a CV, so making one is a key step to getting employed.

If you need some extra support with writing a CV, check out this helpful Think Student guide.

3. Apply to start-up companies

Start-ups usually aim to find a new business model, focusing on promoting a product or service. They are innovative and usually have good growth potential. They also rely solely on investment as a way to access government loans and grants. This makes them great and competitive, workspaces where you are sure to gain many skills.

These are a great choice for people in the early stages of their careers for many reasons. Firstly, they revolve around working in a small team with most people there still learning. Due to the style of work within a small team, people often begin work with more responsibilities compared to other jobs, giving you more advanced hand on experience within the workplace. This makes them a great starting point in employment to then build on.

Furthermore, the positions tend to be less competitive, as not many graduates think of applying for a job with start-up companies.

One good website to use to find a start-up job is AngelList Talent which will enable you to filter through jobs and find one to match your career path.

4. Consider returning to university

Another option may be returning to university study. Many students decide to continue with their education into postgraduate study, instead of getting a job. Commonly, postgraduate study means completing a master’s degree, then other qualifications such as a PhD. Master’s degrees can take between one-year full time to three years part-time.

For more information on master’s degrees, check out this Think Student guide.

This may be a good option if you are still unsure of what career path you wish to take, which may make finding a job more challenging. Therefore, you may choose to further your education in a more specific or completely different subject area, which gives you the ability to acquire new skills in a different field. This will allow you to look at more of a variety of jobs as a way to make your search easier.

Likewise, some jobs require candidates to have a more advanced educational background. The completion of postgraduate study may enable you to achieve a job more specifically suited to your chosen career.

Achieving an additional qualification may make the difference as to whether you are chosen by an employer for a job.

5. Consider changing your career

Another step is to consider whether your chosen career is right for you.

You may have already chosen a career, but after trying to find a job, decide the ones available are not suitable. Therefore, a change of career may help you to find more variety in jobs that will better suit you in terms of location, responsibilities, or salary.

It may also be simply that your job search in relation to your career is too specific and narrow. Broadening your search from a specific job to a range of jobs within your chosen career area may enable you to find more work opportunities.

It may also be helpful to consider looking at entry-level jobs in slightly different fields in which you can work your way up in, to achieve the specific job you want at a later point.

6. Speak to others

Another simple step you can take is to widen your social and professional networks by speaking to others. It is often not what you know, but who you know, and many people find jobs through speaking to others.

Your social and professional networks can include family members, friends, people you used to attend sixth form or university with, and pretty much anyone else. For example, you may have a family member, whose friend works for a company, who finds out they are looking for employees. This could help you get your job application in first, or they may be able to recommend you to an employer.

Signing up to online social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are also good ways to find jobs. Through social media, you may meet people who could recommend to you certain job opportunities. Likewise, employers may use social media sites to share job vacancies and recruit staff.

As mentioned above, another good site to use is LinkedIn. This allows you to create a personal profile, attach your CV, and browse for employers and job opportunities.

7. Ask your university for support

One simple way to gain extra support if you are struggling to find a job post-graduation is to speak to your university.

There are several ways universities can help. Firstly, you can join your universities alumni group on social media (including Facebook and LinkedIn) and add professors and career support staff to your group.

Universities often hold career events during your time at university and afterwards. These aim to support students in deciding on their careers and advising them on how to access jobs in their chosen fields. Likewise, universities may also offer training to support students in searching for jobs.

The university through the library services will provide you with access to published market information. This will enable you to research different companies and gain an insight into different job roles.

8. Get a part-time job

After graduating from university, one good step would be to find part-time work. Some students may already have part-time jobs or have found one whilst finishing university, from working in a café or shop to working part-time remotely.

Getting a part-time job has many benefits. Firstly, you will have the opportunity to gain more experience and transferable skills which will look good on your CV. Likewise, if your part-time work relates to your chosen career, it will be beneficial for your access to future jobs and will appeal to potential employers.

Part-time work will also provide you with an income, which will help you stay afloat whilst you are finding a job. On average, part-time jobs pay between £10 and £11 per hour, which, while small, can make a big difference to your finances.

To begin searching for the best part-time jobs for graduates, check out the StudentJob website, which lists great options with easy-to-use search features.

For information on the best part-time jobs for students, check out this Think Student article.

9. Become a volunteer

Becoming a volunteer can be very beneficial especially for graduates, as they provide extra experience while you are searching for a job.

Some people choose to volunteer abroad during a gap year before work or during university. Likewise, you can sign up for online volunteering, which is becoming increasingly popular.

Volunteering has many benefits, as well as keeping you engaged for a good cause while you search for a job. Volunteering enables you to learn new skills, whilst exploring and gaining experience in different areas of work.

For some volunteering jobs, you may be offered the chance to attend different training courses which will further boost your experience and enable you to learn new skills. It will also give you more opportunities to meet new people and expand your social network.

Volunteering is very popular amongst graduates, with some completing it either as well as or instead of part-time employment.

You can volunteer in many different sectors including conservation, schools, social care facilities and as an emergency volunteer.

For more information about volunteering opportunities, check out this helpful article from Prospects. Likewise, to find volunteering vacancies, check out Do-it and Studenteer.

10. Reconsider your location

When searching for job vacancies, you may need to consider your location. If you live in a rural area, you may struggle to find some jobs nearby, for example, positions as a lawyer or solicitor. Widening your search in terms of location may allow you to find more jobs.

Therefore, if it means reaching your dream job, you may need to consider relocating to a different city, or away from where you are used to living. Alternatively, another option would be to consider commuting to and from work, possibly for a long time each day. Likewise, you may decide to consider working remotely, which has become much more common since 2020.

11. Be patient

The most important thing to remember is that patience is key. Job hunting can be a long process for some, whilst not so long for others. There is no right or wrong. As long as you prepare and help yourself by completing the steps above, you have no need to stress, and a job will eventually come your way.

Bonus tips:

Now we’ve focused on the main 11 tips, let’s consider some additional steps you can take that you may find beneficial.

Stay motivated

Finding the perfect job that you will love is not easy. It will take time, but if you lose motivation, you may end up settling for a job that won’t feel rewarding. Make sure to remember the time and effort you put into your education, to achieve the qualifications you need to reach your dream job.

Remember that you can change jobs

In order to reach certain professions, you may need to work your way up from a lower position. Sometimes gaining an entry-level job and working through promotions or reapplying to higher positions is more beneficial, as you will begin to acquire additional key skills and experience which will make you a more suitable candidate.

Don’t compare yourself to others

You may have a friend who’s just found their dream job and keeps telling you how amazing it is, but do not give up or think that they must be better than you. Your time will come. Just focus on the steps you need to take to work your way closer to achieving your ideal job.

Consider budgeting

You may find yourself entirely dependent on a single part-time job whilst you are job hunting. Therefore, it is important to track your expenses and compare this to your total income. You should then work out a weekly or monthly budget and divide this into your individual expenses. To learn more about budgeting as a student check out this Think Student article.

Research is key

Ensure you educate yourself in terms of different companies and what they look for in candidates. Additionally, send your CV to companies or organisations you are interested in working for and see whether they have a waiting list for candidates who would like employment there. If positions then become available, you will be one of the first to know.

For tips on job interviews, please read this Think Student article.

Many graduates will find themselves in similar positions, where they are searching desperately for their dream job, in the perfect field, perfect location, with a perfect salary. However, job searching is not as simple and straightforward as it may seem. However, by following the tips given in this article and organising yourself, with a little patience you may find your perfect job.

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