Looking for your first role after college can be a daunting time. You go through a moment where you believe everyone else applying for roles has more experience than you do, that there is no way you are going to get a role even though you have spent the last three/four years studying to get a degree in that field and let’s not forget the fact that you are also dealing with the graduate blues (these are real – leaving college is a scary experience that can really bring you down when you aren’t prepared).
The first thing to remember is to not compare your progress with others who left college at the same time as you. There is a different path for all of us and doing this can leave you feeling upset without bringing anything useful to the table. Instead of focusing on where others are, focus on yourself by following these tips.
One of the first things that you can do to start your job search on the right foot is to update your CV. It is important to include any jobs that you undertook during college (including the job you did on your J1 getting tourists to take bike rides around Central Park – we swear it counts!) so that you can then whittle it down as you get more relevant experience.
Outline your educational experience by giving a brief overview of your modules. Pick maybe 4 classes that are relevant for the job that you are applying for and highlight these to show that you have skills in this area. As a graduate, one of the things employers are looking for is that you have completed your degree and have spent that long working towards one thing. This can give them an idea of your level of commitment.
Also make sure to highlight any accomplishments that you have from your college or school days. As a graduate, it is important to show these experiences as you cannot rely on something work related to show off your skills. For example, if you completed any of the Gaisce medals, have a second/third language, or were part of your schools Student Council, note it down for reference.
If you feel you don’t have many achievements from your college or secondary school days, it is not too late to work on this. You can constantly upskill, especially while you are job seeking and not committed to a 9 to 5 schedule. Take a 10 week course in a language you have always had an interest in, see if there is a computer skills course that you could undertake like ECDL or an excel course if you think your future role could be excel heavy or apply for any internships that you see in your field!
I know during college, your lecturers will have mentioned Networking events that you could attend but they were always on the same night as your friends Birthday or when cocktails were 2 for 1 in the college bar. We understand!
Now that you are actively seeking a role however, it is a good idea to start attending any events that are taking place in your field around your city. Joining a site like Meetup means you could meet like-minded people who can help you in your search.
Another way to broaden your network is to connect with a recruiter in your area of expertise. A recruiter is someone who knows the area that you want to work in like the back of their hand and has exposure to new roles being released every day.When you connect with one and create a dialogue of what you are looking for, you can be assured that they will look out for any roles that would suit you on a daily basis and will get in touch once they have something. They can also make the whole job hunting process slightly less daunting as they will edit your CV, talk you through the interview process and deal with the employer for you to ensure that you are receiving the best remuneration for your work.
Find a Mentor
This partly links in with the tip above for attending Meetups but if you know someone who is your senior and works in a role that you admire and would love to do one day, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them would they have some time to talk you through how they found that role, what they do on a daily basis and if they have any tips for you.
One tip though – try not to ask can you ‘pick their brain over coffee’, people in their position receive broad requests like this often enough and by giving them a clear outline of what you want to discuss, they can either reply to you by email or can arrange a phone call or to meet for a coffee.
Entry Level Roles
While we would all love to find the perfect job straight out of college, it is not a reality for most people. One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to go for a job that is slightly left of centre for you and gain experience.
A good way to do this is to take contract roles when starting out and therefore get exposure to different areas of a business. Sometimes, especially if you are not sure what it is that you want to do, this can show you what it is you like and dislike and you could uncover a passion for an area you had previously discounted.
For more tips, make sure to check out our Graduate Hub which we frequently update with relevant information for job searching as a Graduate. If you would like more information about the graduate market in fields of Accountancy, Finance or Fund Administration, reach out to one of our consultants today by connecting on LinkedIn, calling 01 676 0505 or sending in your CV here.