5 tips to secure a job after university: simple strategies for success

Published on 1 November 2023

Anna MacDonald shares some advice on how to secure a job after graduation.

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We all have spent a large amount of our time growing up being told to study hard to get to a good university. But now after university, you still have to fight to secure a great job and it is so competitive! So let’s run through some tips to help you prepare and have a good mentality and quality to step outside for that battle!

Finding out what you like

IKIGAI | A Japanese Philosophy for Finding Purpose (Youtube)

Starting with the first thing first, you can’t prepare if you don’t know what you’re fighting for, right? Don’t worry, it is absolutely normal not to have your whole life figured out at the early age of 18, 20, 22, or even 30, 40, you count it! Even Colonel Harland Sanders - the KFC founder - didn’t start his successful career until he was 62. University is the year to help you find out who you are. So if you’re still wondering what you like or what career you want to spend your next few years in, how about trying career tests? Before you come to me, no no, not like a real test! There are a bunch of different tests online which you can do in 5 minutes or longer such as Prospects quiz. They probably won’t be the most accurate measurement out there, but they can give you an idea of the range of jobs that may be suitable for you.

However, don’t limit yourself to those job titles, see what are the skills used for those jobs, make a link of them and start from there. You can also talk to your friends, your advisors or our staff at the University’s Careers Service; it might help you to see yourself from others’ perspective!

Building a personal brand

According to a lot of bits of advice I have been given from everyone I know in the workforce, employers don’t really look at where you went to university, but more at what you did during your time there. So what better thing to do than start building your own personal branding? You can start by thinking about the values that your employers need or the skills that may complement you in your future career and work on it! Starting from joining events and job opportunities in university, volunteering positions, or literally anything! You have quite a lot of time in university so use it effectively because it does fly past very quickly. And if you don’t know where to start, check out these predictions from the World Economic Forum about the skills needed by the worker of tomorrow.

Building your LinkedIn profile

Nearly 70% of employers stated that they look up candidates on Linkedin when they apply for jobs. LinkedIn is one of the perfect ways to start building your branding too. Now that you have gathered all the experiences, it’s time to tell your stories. There are currently more than 950 million users on Linkedin. That is a massive amount of connections and opportunities and it can be a great chance for you to show them who you are and what you are doing. Remember to try to stay active on it, interact and engage with things related to what you’re doing, and make a few posts showing who you are, it shows to employers when looking at your page how passionate you are and whether you are a good fit they are looking for. It is also a professional environment so you can connect with like-minded people such as alumni or seniors in your field. So be sure to check it out, you can find tutorials on Youtube on how to build your profile from the very start.

How To Get A Job Using LinkedIn (Youtube) 

Start early

I really cannot stress this enough but START EARLY. Start finding out internships and job opportunities as early as in your 2nd year. Again it is totally fine if you don’t know what you want to do at this stage yet (again you can check out out university’s careers advisers), but if you do, it is super recommended to look into placements now as it can get quite stressful in your 3rd and 4th years focusing on your degree and dissertation. It’s smart to take a little bit off your shoulders a bit early. And if you don’t know what to do then this is a great time to try different things to help focus on what you want. It can feel a bit hopeless at the very start of your job application process. It is important to have targeted CVs so alter your CVs and applications based on different companies and positions you’re applying for. Noticing the job details, reading the company’s core values and matching your CV to it can be a great start. 

Don't give up

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how good you are, but how suitable a fit you are to that particular company. So don’t look down on yourself and give up when you get rejected, one closed door will lead you to another opportunity. Everything happens for a reason, so don’t let yourself down after some failures, I’m sure you can do it!

It might seem like a lot to get caught up in career life this early. But it can help you in the long run and make it less stressful. So good luck with your journey during and after university. 

Written by Anna MacDonald, Student Blogger. 

Originally published Nov 2023.

Story category Student experience