An insider’s guide to graduate recruitment: 5 things you didn’t know about life after university

It’s almost time to burst that comforting university bubble…but do you know what’s in store for you in the ‘real world’? You’ve heard about that ‘tax’ thing, but what about everything else? Take a look at these five unexpected aspects of becoming a job-hunting graduate, as compiled by Lizzi Hart of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

  1. There are more jobs than you think

Generally, one student’s perspective of the job market, taken from a few job emails and a couple of careers fairs, does not represent the true amount of jobs available. The Times’ Top 100 recruiters are not the only companies hiring graduates. Some sectors won’t be making a huge fuss over employing graduates by using brand ambassadors or expensive marketing techniques; you will have to be more extensive in your search. To give yourself the best chance at maximising your opportunities, sign up to as many recruitment sites as you can, as well as keeping an eye on specific companies’ career sections. And if you’re not already using LinkedIn for jobs, then do it right now.

  1. Employers are not trying to catch you out

You might feel under huge amounts of pressure during an interview, but really, employers want you to do well so that they can stop the interviewing process. They want to find the right person as soon as possible, but if you’re it, they just need to find it out for themselves. However they can’t do that if your nerves become you. With this valuable piece of advice in mind, dig out some confidence from the pit of your stomach and answer those questions with your head held high.

  1. Having a degree does not equal instant job

In a society saturated with keen graduates, it’s difficult to whittle these candidates down. Instead of just a degree, employers want experience – or an attempt towards it at least. It might be too late to integrate any sector-relevant work into your degree, but think about what else you’ve done during your time in higher education. Been part of any societies? Done any volunteering? Tutored anyone? Helped out any of your lecturers? Don’t underestimate the salience of extra-curricular activities. If you don’t have any former experience, then use this summer to prove your worth beyond your degree grade. Equally, you may find a job that you enjoy, but you didn’t actually need a degree for. But hey, you’d never give up that uni experience, right?

  1. Your first job is not your only job

While some might argue that you shouldn’t ‘settle’ for a less-than-perfect first job, surely you’ll want to build up some experience first? Before you even attempt to find a job/sector that you want to settle into, you should explore your options and learn how the 9-5 works before pre-ordering your retirement slippers. Now don’t get me wrong, do strive to find that perfect graduate job. But remember: you’re in your early twenties; you have at least forty more years’ worth of a career.

  1. Big-name brands aren’t everything

Don’t give in to heavily funded marketing techniques and just apply for roles with big-name brands. Like point 1 iterates, there are lots of jobs out there, they are just harder to find. Plus, if you manage to blag yourself a job with a large company, how do you know what the actual day-to-day will be like? A smaller brand may win your heart more than a larger one ever could. Essentially, don’t be closed-minded during your job-hunt or you may be left feeling disappointed and unwanted (spoiler: you aren’t!).

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