The graduate job market has become a popular topic of conversation in recent years. With its temperamental nature, postgraduate students are struggling to find work more than ever. A recent Kings College London graduate Laura, 23, has experienced the job search first hand.
I hadn’t applied for any jobs in final year. Perhaps I should have, to get ahead of the game and see what it was employers were after. Third year requires so much hard work and dedication, it’s hard to think of anything but your dissertation. Which in some ways may have been a good thing as it stopped me from thinking of the scariest part – the uncertainty of not knowing what is coming next and if your efforts will pay off.
Everyone’s worked hard in University for assignments and essays and generally you see the results, however, in the job market the reality is you will probably not. You can try really hard applying, making your CV perfect and in interviews, but the job market is too unpredictable for anything to be guaranteed. How do we make ourselves stand out to employers?
Since graduating in June 2014 with an English and communications degree, I’ve had my fair share of opportunities. I began to work freelance in the September after graduation, this gave me a foot in the door and allowed me to apply my time to something productive that I was good at. I did this up until February 2015 when I began working in the marketing team of a digital product design & software services agency, where my role was content editor and account executive. The job came with its challenges and whilst I enjoyed working at the company, the actual workload could become mundane as it was a lot of the same.
This October, I once again found myself part of the job market. I’d recently moved cities and this meant the search began all over again. I apply to job after job, contact agency after agency and so far no job offers. I’ve had interviews and second interviews but I never seem to have done enough. It can definitely be disheartening and the search itself often feels like a full time job.
I didn’t expect it to be this difficult. Universities talk about “90% of students in full time employment one year after graduation” when in reality I have numerous friends still applying and reapplying for jobs and graduate placements. Of the ones who do work, a few are just in temping roles and although there’s nothing wrong with this, they’re desperate to get into the field they want a career in.
Interviews are scary. Everybody knows that. One thing I’ve learnt is you can never prepare enough. Generic questions are easier to pull off but being given a scenario or an issue and thinking of an example from your experience to apply directly can be extremely difficult when your nerves are getting the better of you.
To help myself prepare for interviews I’ll look over my previous experience to see how it relates to the job I am applying for. Researching into the company itself is a must and if you can find any information about current projects, then you’re bound to seem professional. I also prepare by researching the hiring managers or whoever is going to be interviewing me. This gives you a slight insight into what may be a common ground between the both of you and an area to aim to impress in.
I do think sending an email after the interview is a good thing to do. It reminds them who you are and ensures them you really appreciate the opportunity. Most employers will let you know if you haven’t been successful in your application, anytime I haven’t someone from HR or the recruitment consultant that arranged the interview have contacted me to let me know. Although this isn’t mandatory it’s good practice and lets you know they at least appreciate your time. Occasionally you’ll get feedback, which is always useful for future interviews.
The graduate job market is tough but I do believe there are jobs out there. You should be signing up to recruitment agencies, they will be able to place you in suitable interviews. These agencies, can directly contact companies without them advertising vacancies, therefore, the likelihood of getting an interview is increased. To be honest, it can just be down to luck and being in the right place at the right time, but you have to ensure you’re prepared for when that time comes along. I’m sure my big opportunity is on its way.