How to find your first graduate job

Well done, you’ve completed your degree and now you’re going to take the world by storm.  

But first, you’ll want to find a great graduate job to kickstart your career.

Job searching can be tiring and stressful, especially when it’s your first time looking. Knowing where to look and what to look for can be a minefield.

The UK labour market is taking a positive turn for jobseekers. The unemployment rate is at its lowest rate since 1975 - 3.9% as of April 2019. 

While this means there's a range of roles available for talented graduates, it's also likely that you'll face a competitive application process. Being well-prepared and having perseverance is the key to your success.

Read on to find out about the most recommended places to find opportunities, time saving job searching tools and how best to use them.

Careers Fairs

Career fairs are a great place to meet employers, understand a company’s culture and make you more comfortable in professional environments.

Careers fairs are all about preparation and catching the employer’s eye. Start by finding out about upcoming careers fairs from your university’s website and on Eventbrite.

Work out what you want to get from attending. Are you researching an industry sector, finding out about companies, looking for job opportunities or internships, or networking for the future? All of this can help you plan what you do, who you want to see, and what you say to them.

Before attending a careers fair it’s important to do some research on the employers who will be there. Contact the event organiser to get a full list of attendees.

Research key information about the company, such as a project or a new product launch, it’ll make it easier to start a conversation with hiring managers. Additionally, it will highlight your interest in the company.

Update your CV and take a few copies along with business cards to the fair. Having your CV handy will help you sell yourself to employers. It also shows that you’re organised and that you have initiative, top qualities employers are always looking for in graduates.

Have a brief pitch about yourself ready. Make sure you know what you want to say about yourself and what you want to ask the recruiters as you go around. You can tailor your questions according to who you’re speaking to – ask a hiring manager about the department, a recruiter about the culture or training, a current graduate about their experiences so far.


LinkedIn is a great tool to use throughout your career. You can share accomplishments, skills and qualifications with a mass number of recruiters and hiring managers. LinkedIn also has its own job board and a job matcher. Sign up to LinkedIn here –

Once you’re signed up you can add a profile photo, bio, education and work history plus your skills. The skills section is a helpful tool for your job search as LinkedIn will send you vacancies to match your skills.

You can use the platform to connect with recruiters, hiring managers and influencers and promote yourself within your industry.

Check out our “Managing your Personal Brand” blog to find out more about how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out.

Register with a recruiter

A recruitment agency helps a company find the best employees for their business.

Recruiters can offer industry insights, expert advice and detailed feedback from your CV and interviews. Plus, it’s a completely free service.

Make initial contact by phone or send your CV and a cover letter by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Explain the type of position you're looking for and provide an overview of your skills and qualifications. You could call the recruitment agency shortly after submitting your email to confirm that they've received it.

You'll usually be asked to make an appointment for an informal interview, in person, to assess your situation and discuss your career plans. Making a good first impression is vital, so act and dress professionally.

It’s good practice to keep in touch with recruiters and to build a strong relationship with them.

Recruitment consultancies can offer additional help with applying for jobs, preparing for interviews and feedback for improvement. It can be a huge advantage of time-saving and stress saving when you’re looking for a job.

Our consultants have over 375 years’ combined recruitment experience and we have placed hundreds of graduates in their first job.

Register with us here -

Job boards

On average, a typical job board has 350 live job adverts every day that’s a lot to filter through. However, job sites make it easy to narrow down your search. You can search by job title, salary, location and employment contract type.

Register your CV on job sites. By doing this, you’ll be able to showcase your CV to hundreds of employers and they can contact you about suitable job opportunities.

Sign up to job email alerts to get notified straight away about vacancies that are suitable for you.

Top tips

We know that finding your first graduate job can be confusing but here are some of our top tips:

  • Salary isn’t everything: it’s important to look at what else the company offers such as progression, additional benefits or study leave.
  • Check your commute: when you start working 40 hours a week your spare time becomes gold dust so a shorter commute can really make all the difference.
  • You’ve just graduated: you’re not going to know everything so don’t be afraid to ask questions.




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