Graduated 2020 – No Job Yet?

by | 11.02.21

If you graduated last year, I feel really sorry for you could not have left education at a worse time. We have unemployment figures which are the worse they have been since the Great Depression. But the fact is whether you are graduating into a bad job market or the best market in years there are always jobs open somewhere and there is a lot you can do to help yourself get a job. Here are some tips for you:

Get your mindset right

Spending too much time reading about how bad the job market and world economy is just primes you to expect the worst and if you are a naturally negative person give up your job search all together thinking that maybe it is best to leave it until the market picks up. Every job search will have its down moments, you will not get a response to your CV, your networking invite is declined, or your interview doesn’t lead to call back. The fact is no job seeker has a seamlessly positive job search. There will be ups and downs whether there is a pandemic or not, so be mentally prepared but also be confident that if you persevere there will be a happy outcome.

Treat your job search like your first job

If you graduated without a job, then your job search is your first ‘real ‘job. You will need to spend the time you would be at work on your job search. You should be out of bed daily, showered, had you breakfast and starting your job search by 9:30am. You need to be checking online job sites, researching specific companies, applying for jobs, networking with people, and updating your LinkedIn. There is a lot to do so do not procrastinate. If you hang around, you will get complacent and loose enthusiasm and the urgency to get a job. You may also let too much time go by and find yourself competing with 2021 graduates.

Control what you can control

Knowing there are going to be ups and downs makes it easier to stay enthusiastic. You are not going to get any positive outcome from everyone you send your CV to. What is important though that you do your best and your CV showcases you in the best possible light. So instead of focusing on how many rejections you have had, focus on how many places you have sent your CV. You cannot control the result of any job application you make but you can control the effort you put into getting a job. The law of average says the more applications you make, the more interviews you will get and the more interviews you have the more likely you will get a job offer.

Widen your options

 Always have multiple applications in the pipeline, especially in a terrible job market where you cannot be sure who is recruiting. Employers may have old jobs posted on job boards where because of the pandemic they no longer exist. An employer may have all their staff working from home and does not feel it is the right time at the moment to recruit. Many companies are furloughing their staff and have put recruitment on hold for the time being. In a poor job market finding a job can be chaotic so you need to cast a wide net. Do not limit yourself to one industry or job sector. You have a degree. All degrees are multifaceted and provide you with many areas of knowledge. Use them all. Go after any job that you feel you could do. Sure, you might have a dream job or a dream employer or employment sector in mind and you should chase these. But be open about other possibilities as well.

Research, Research, Research

You’ve just graduated and are used to researching information for your course therefore researching potential employers should be a piece of cake for you. Think about what you could do in the workplace and identifying potential employees. Now this is easy if your degree is in accounting you just target Accountants in your area, it’s the same if your degree is in law you just contact Solicitors. It’s a bit trickier if your degree is in Geography or History, you’ll have to use your brain a bit more. The fact is though the best interviews are when the candidate can position their background with what the company do and what potential job openings they may have. So, it’s important that you put your thinking cap on and really research potential employers.

Know how to behave in an interview

There is plenty of information out there on how you should present yourself in an interview. We have several blogs on this site about interview techniques, interview questions and interview behaviour. But the key to getting a job is to convince the employer to hire you. An employer will be asking themselves why they should employ you. They will want to be assured even though the position is at entry-level that you want the job and would be capable of doing the job. So, you need to have a positive and enthusiastic approach particularly about the job and working for the company.

Lean on your network – Yes you do have one!

Your classmates, your professors, your teachers, your local job centre, your chosen Employment Agencies, your parent’s connections, and your friends – you actually have a significant network. Word-of-mouth referrals for a job opportunity are significant even for experienced professionals who have an established track record from previous jobs. As a recent graduate you probably don’t have much of a track record, although internships, part-time jobs and volunteer work do make a difference. Therefore, you want to use people in your network bubble to obtain referrals or to provide references to potential employers. You need to maximise your opportunities, and this is a very good way of doing it.

Measure your progress

As you get your job search going your results are in your efforts. The number of applications you make for jobs will reflect the number of interviews you get. And it is a well-known fact that the more interviews you go on the more chance you will have to get a job offer. So, start as you mean to go on, make sure you make job applications every day of the week, this includes Saturday and Sunday, there should be no rest until you get a job. Without question the more effort you put in the better your chances. Check your progress, record the number of applications you make and the number of interviews you get, in other words measure your progress.

Be willing to change things

If your job search gets stuck, you need to change something. You won’t move forward if you keep knocking on the same door and no-one answers you need to move on and knock on another door. Maybe you need to change your CV or refresh your LinkedIn. If you are getting interviews but not getting job offers you need to brush up your interview technique. Until you get a job it is important that you stay open minded and flexible.

Celebrating any success

Keep a record of all the work you’re putting in, every application you make and every interview you get. Your efforts should be celebrated. Small wins along the way are what will keep you motivated. Success will build your confidence and keep you feeling positive, both of which are critical in your job search. In a poor job market, you need to keep positive. If you’re a joy to interact with that’s a competitive advantage in an interview scenario. So, keep up the enthusiasm.

Remember it’s a competition

In this market every job opening is really precious and in order to win the prize you will have to compete for it. Your aim as a job seeker should always be the best person in the room – however crowded it is. It is very easy in a difficult job market for your confidence to drop and this will impede your efforts even before your start. You need to stay positive, put the work in, measure your progress and correct your course along the way if need be. Think of your job search as a long-distance race, keep going and try to be better than the person next to you.

So, to summarise it is hard out there but its not impossible. We speak to candidates everyday who have managed to bag wonderful jobs, we are also placing people every day into roles as well. The common denominator these people have is the determination and energy required to obtain a position. They are winners. They do not give up at the first hurdle. So, the bottom line is if you want a job – get out there and find yourself one.

Good Luck  

Angela Burton