Before you graduate, Careers Advice, More, Preparing for your future, Work Experience

Top ten tips for finding a graduate job

Llinos, Careers Adviser for SHARE, shares ten top tips for finding a job and signposts where to start your search.

I love graduation week! Cardiff is brimming with a sea of smiling student faces, striding purposefully down the student high street in high heels, polished brogues and flowing robes, with proud family in close pursuit.

It takes me straight back to my own happy graduation day and evokes memories of strawberries & cream under canvass and warm cider in the sun. Closely followed by a growing, nagging feeling that I should probably now get myself a graduate job.

A couple of decades later I am answering phone calls, emails and having Skype interviews (who would have believed it back then) with graduates who are asking exactly the same question as I was – ‘So, how do I actually find a graduate job’?

So, for those of you who haven’t got a graduate training scheme lined up (you are not alone) and have just handed back your cap and gown. Or, for those of you who graduated last year and are still searching for the Holy Grail that is your dream graduate job, here are my tips!


Top 10 tips on how to get a job after you graduate:

1. Think quality not quantity

As tempting as it is to apply for every job you spot on all the online vacancy sources you are no doubt signed up to already, be selective and fill in a few applications thoroughly. Recruiters are looking for commitment and passion for their industry and the job and won’t follow up applications that don’t demonstrate this clearly.

2. Tailor your application to the job role

A general CV and covering letter are unlikely to get you anywhere. Carefully consider every element of the job specification and give clear evidence of how your skills and experience fulfill the criteria.


3. Use your network

Think about your own network – friends, family members, tutors, careers advisers, ex-colleagues, professional bodies, local and community organisations – and use every contact you have to find out about different job sectors and identify opportunities


4. Get yourself a great LinkedIn profile and utilise social media

These are great tools to build your network and identify opportunities. For tips on how to do this, read our blog on perfecting your online persona.

5. Research the organisation and the job role thoroughly

Especially if you are invited for an interview! Think about what the employer might ask you and prepare answers. Pop in to 51a Park Place for a mock interview (or ask for a Skype interview)!


6. Take positive action to fill gaps in your experience

Any work experience, voluntary work or shadowing looks better on your CV than unemployment. The experience will help you develop those all-important employability skills and give you something to draw upon in interviews. Plus, you never know – that unpaid internship might end in employment!


7. Be flexible

Flexibility in terms of your areas of interest, geographical location and industry sector is important. You are likely to have access to a wider range of job opportunities and you may discover jobs you never knew existed that appeal to you (Remember that up to 60% of employers are looking for graduates from all degree disciplines).


8. Remember the importance of the ‘hidden job market’

Many jobs (70 % by all accounts) are never advertised! Being creative in your job search might lead to opportunities for experience or work, perhaps by a speculative letter or phone call, or by approaching someone within your developing contact base.


9. Have a positive, can-do attitude

Don’t sit at home and be downhearted! Go out, look for temporary work through a recruitment agency or get a part-time job. You are likely to develop some new skills and experience and may also make some useful contacts.


And finally…


10. Take ownership of your career journey

This, coupled with ‘passion’ and ‘positivity’ will help you stand out in a competitive graduate market place! Just look at the evidence below.

‘All our graduate hiring decisions are made on one thing – attitude’

Recruitment Partner, Retail Bank.

‘90% of respondents (graduate recruiters) identified ‘passion’ and ‘positivity’ in their graduate wish-list’

Employability Skills, Insights from the Career Design Employer Survey 2016.


Make the most of our service and resources!

Careers & Employability have a vast range of online resources and information to support you in your job search and you can seek support and information from your careers service for up to 2 years after graduation. Click here to book an appointment!


Useful links

LinkedIn for students

What can I do with my degree?

Careers advice: Degree subjects and your career options


Online vacancy sources and graduate recruitment websites

Please note that the information provided is not an exhaustive list of graduate recruitment websites and training schemes as the market place is constantly changing and Cardiff University Careers and Employability does not recommend or endorse any particular schemes or training programmes.

Target jobs: Graduate Schemes

Graduate jobs: Graduate Schemes


The Guardian jobs

Prospects: Graduate jobs

Indeed: Graduate Training Schemes

Grad Jobs

Inside Careers

Jobmanji: Graduate jobs

The Job Crowd


Watch our video, ‘What do employers want from you?’


Watch the Career Development Service’s Video, ‘What employers look for in graduates’


Press play on the Career Player

The Career Player has lots of great videos with top tips and advice.


Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the bar below, and note any questions there too.

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Best wishes,

Llinos, Careers Adviser.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and MoneyCareers and EmployabilityCounselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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