As we move into February, Graduation is fast approaching for final year University students! As a 2016 Graduate, I understand the pressure that begins to build at this time, a mix of excitement and nervousness for the future. The job market is a scary place and often feels totally alien to someone who until this point, has been cocooned within education. Whilst University’s do offer advice at this time, I wanted to share a few pointers that I learnt during my search for post-University employment.

• Graduate schemes aren’t the only option and the notion that all Graduates have to join one is simply untrue. Whilst many of the big global companies do offer good schemes that many students want to be a part of, there are also plenty of other opportunities within SMEs and smaller companies that offer just as much progression and potential. The key is to find the role that’s right for you, not the one that your University tells you to go for.
• Be confident in your CV! Your CV is often the first thing a future employer will look at, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure it highlights your unique potential. Many Graduates won’t have an abundance of experience at this stage and employees understand this, but don’t let yourself down with poor formatting or grammar. Check out our CV tips page for simple guidelines on how to make sure your CV is as clean and presentable as possible.
• Consider internships! These are a great way to build office experience and excellent for those who aren’t quite sure which industry they want to go in to. They allow you to try out a position and gain a feel for a company without any long-term commitment, plus they help you rule out industries you are less interested in.
• Don’t rule out temping! To avoid long gaps in your CV, consider a temporary position or contract. These positions show future employers that you were proactive in utilising your time between roles and gives you more experience to draw on in future interviews.
• Sign up to recruitment agencies, but smartly! It can be tempting to register with as many agencies as possible in order to have plenty of roles run past you. The issue with this approach is that you will soon become inundated with emails with possible opportunities, the majority of which you have no interest in. Take the time to explore recruitment agencies within your area and thoroughly research their ethos and style of recruitment as well as any testimonials. Pick the ones that you really believe can help you and that will only recommend appropriate positions.

Overall, the key is staying positive. Whilst the job market can be daunting, this is really a hugely exciting time in your career, the time to try out new possibilities and shape your future. I changed my mind on career path numerous times and never saw myself in Recruitment, yet six months on from graduation and it’s hard to believe how far I’ve come. Remember to savour your final semester in University and best of luck within the world of work!