Landing Your First Graduate Job

Career Advice
28 November 2016 | Career Advice | Guest Author

Landing your first graduate job is a serious competitive event. Many other applicants can offer the same skill set and education experience. So, how do you stand out? The first step is to tweak your resume to create a lasting impression.

Of course, there are plenty of articles to offer advice on best practice. But after you’ve secured your first interview, the real challenge begins. Graduate interviews are often focused on your work ethic and professional character. Your experience is what gets you in the chair, but hands-on practice is not the be all and end all.

If you have recently graduated (or are just about to), read on to discover the steps you can take to secure your first graduate job.

Share Your Current Knowledge

You have essentially arrived straight from the classroom and this gives you an advantage. You know all of the latest industry trends, business models and success stories. And so you should, you’ve only been studying for the last few years!

Show the hiring manager that you, as a graduate, are worth the gamble so many companies are reluctant to take. Shifting workplace cultures and new technology requires individuals who are agile and able to adapt quickly. Even if you aren’t equipped with the necessary skills, your recent knowledge will help you to bridge the gap easily.

Always Have A Positive Attitude

The endless search for a job can get the best of us feeling down. You are competing against potentially hundreds of other applicants, how can you be the difference? Stay positive. That ‘change the world’ outlook that established professionals often lose, is your gateway to success. Eager momentum is only a good thing in the eye of an employer.

Real vision requires a forward-thinking approach, fueled by positive vibes. Without the years of industry experience, landing your first graduate job can come down to not burning your bridges, crafting an upbeat tone in your cover letter and leaving the interview on a high note. With this in mind, you have to be in it to win it - so keep up the search and personalise each application.

Value Yourself As Well

When you are invited to an interview, feel grateful, not desperate. Remember, this employer could only have the one short to hire you before another business snaps you up forever. It is key to positioning yourself as a loyal and dedicated professional looking to grow - and fast.

Succession planning plays a large part in the graduate job process, which enables a business to pave the way for a sustainable future. If you can prove that you are a unique opportunity specifically for them, they may just take the chance.

Embrace the New Change

Don’t limit yourself to an email application, try calling the business or, depending on the industry, dropping in to visit. You need to embrace a new way of doing things so that an employer will as well. Imagine this - a building firm is on the lookout for a construction worker. Yes, they want someone with an understanding of the work. But more than this? A professional who has an open mind and different way of doing things.

Show that hiring a graduate fresh from their apprenticeship training offers unlimited possibilities that they had never even thought of. In this new era of business, where turnovers are high, a changeable and ‘outside of the box’ graduate is their best bet.

Be Naturally Confident (Or Pretend)

Landing your first job requires a level of confidence. You will be putting yourself out there in a way unlike anything else you’ve done. It can be intimidating, even for an experienced professional. And for graduates? Well, actually, you should be pretty good at this. After all, you spend several days each week, whether in your university degree, short course or alternative, meeting new people.

Communication underpins success in the workplace. It feeds teamwork, motivation and efficiency in every aspect of a business. If you can present yourself as confident (not a show-off) in your application and the interview, this easy attitude will lead to a smooth transition process down the track. And if you’re not feeling confident? Fake it till you make it.

Don’t Engage in Office Politics

Nobody enjoys drama in the office, it can be stressful, upsetting and annoying. Not to mention, there is a perception that it runs rife in young professionals. The great thing about you is that you don’t get caught up in the conversations by the water cooler, after all, you have never been there.

In your interview, you will often be asked about your work experience. If this was a bad job, try not to be bitter or personal in your explanation. Instead, make the effort to remain impartial and highlight that you simply felt you had outgrown the company, not that you hated your boss.

This is an important distinction to reflect the values of the business. Brand pillars and workplace culture go hand in hand to create a stellar reputation. Assure your interviewer through your answers that you are not there to compete against your co-workers or step on any toes, but that you are able and willing to stand up for yourself.

Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate short courses, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.

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