Graduate to Professional: How To Find Your First Job After University

You’ve left university and you’re looking for that first step in your career. You may already have a job lined up, perhaps found yourself confused by all the options available, or simply be sending out CVs and keeping everything crossed. Here at Elevation Recruitment Group, we just wanted to offer a little advice to help with your search:


Get Your CV in Order

This is likely the first time you’ve written a CV so there’s lots to consider! We have more detailed advice on how to write a standout CV for various industries (Engineering, Transactional Finance, Marketing, Sales and IT) but there are a couple of things everyone can do, that graduates often forget. One, don’t stress about the design too much. It’s more important that your CV can be read by CV-scanning software, so keep it as a simple word document. Secondly, include your contact information! This is so easily forgotten but so important for employers and recruiters to reach you.

“I always encourage my candidates to include a key achievements section at the top of their CV. You want to pull out the best stats and metrics from your experience – doesn’t matter if it’s not paid experience yet. Stats are undeniable proof of the value you bring, because at the end of the day, that’s all an employer really needs to know.”  Ella Berry, Marketing


Sell What Makes You Special

You may have a fantastic result from your degree at a university with an excellent reputation but imagine everyone on your course is applying for the same job. What is going to make you stand out? It might be the placement year you did, your time on a student society exec committee, an exceptional piece of coursework you did, or just your sparkling personality! Whatever it is, make sure you highlight these things so that you’re not just another graduate.

“Getting a job is about more than just the skills you have to offer, especially if you don’t have much experience to lean on. So, play to what you do have – personality. Keep upbeat, positive and show that you are keen to learn!”  Kara Ellison, Sales


Build Your Network

Don’t forget to put yourself out there and let people know that you’re on the hunt for a new opportunity. You can do this online via LinkedIn, by joining groups dedicated to graduate opportunities or simply putting a note out to your contacts to say you’re on the job hunt. Former university course members are really important to keep in touch with, too. One of them may already have established themselves within a business and know of other opportunities, or perhaps worked with a great recruitment agency that they can recommend.

“My cheeky tip is, if you have friends or family in your target industry, maybe ask them to promote you to their LinkedIn network. They could post something about how proud they are of you for graduating and that you’re looking for a role doing xyz, you never know what might come up!”  Michelle Fergusson, HR


Don’t Skip the Careers Fair

Careers fairs can seem intimidating, but the key lies in the prep work. Before you go, try and pin down what it is you’re looking for. Is it work opportunities, or internships and grad schemes, networking for the future, or just to discover what kind of jobs are out there. Knowing what you’re looking for will stop you getting sucked into pointless sales pitches from the stall holders. You should also prepare a quick introduction for yourself so that conversations can get off to a smooth start without any awkwardness.

“Careers fairs are a great opportunity to see what’s really out there. I’ll bet there are jobs you’ve never thought about, or even knew that they existed, until you find out about them at a careers fair. And you can go to careers fairs outside of your uni, too. If there are a couple of universities in your city, go to both careers fairs, or any put on by your local council.”  Ryan Kitchen, Procurement & Supply


Keep an Open Mind

You might have a really fixed idea of what you want to do and the kind of business you want to work for, however if you speak to any successful person within business, you often hear that the route that led to their success wasn't the route they imagined! You may get an offer that you weren’t expecting or be called from a recruitment agency about an industry you hadn’t considered. Try and keep an open mind so you don’t miss out on an opportunity that could be a great first step in your career. 

“There’s nothing wrong with starting in a junior role and working up. There’s nothing wrong with doing temp or contract work.  And there’s nothing wrong with working in a different field before you go looking for your dream role later in life. Get your foot in the door, and you can afford to be picky later.”  Roxanna Gibb, Business Support


Stay Positive

It’s hard not to take it personally when you receive a rejection, however it’s really important that you stay positive! You’re up against strong competition for every job you apply for, so it may take a little while to land that dream job that is just waiting for you!


We have a number of graduate vacancies, search our current jobs and find something that works for you today. 

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