Hello, readers. My name is Cree and I’m a recent graduate with fulltime employment in my field of study.
We exist, and there are more of us than commonly thought. ‘But not enough’, some of you might be thinking, and you’re not wrong – ideally the employment rate would be 100% but this isn’t a
The topic of graduates finding employment seems to be quite controversial still. I suppose it stems from the typical ‘us vs them’ mentality. Regardless, this blog isn’t meant for bipartisan encouragement. It’s intended to provide an impassive look at the graduate jobs market and to provide what I hope is helpful and realistic advice to students and graduates seeking employment once their studies have concluded. Some of these tips were recommended to me and others I found out via good ol’ trial and error. Hopefully, you can pull some graduate jobs from this, or at the very least, find a starting point.
Statistics Concerning Job Hunting for Graduates
When I was studying and watching my graduation approach at impressive speed, I was fed a constant array of ‘you can’t find work unless you leave a medical field’. This scared the absolute creepers (let’s keep it clean) out of me. So, I’m going to show you some statistics (1) that I hope will restructure how you look at life after study and the graduate jobs market, and maybe even give you a little bit of hope.
- Only 64% of employed graduates are working in fields related to their study. (this isn’t a ‘happy’ statistic but it’s unfortunately reality)
- 34% of graduates experience unemployment, with 10% for longer than 6 months. (this statistic seems pretty scary, but, dare I say it, sometimes things take time)
- Only 2.7% of graduates are unemployed, compared to their non-graduate peers, 6.4% of which are unemployed. (this is far better than I originally thought)
- Three-quarters of students would take the same course again and 7 out of 8 would do so at the same universities they studied at.
- 53% of graduates rated between 9-10 on a 10-point scale of satisfaction towards how their lives turned out, but only 39% of non-graduates rated their satisfaction levels in that bracket.
- 80% said getting a degree was worth the effort. (so, hold tight, friends, there is still hope)
The 6 Tips to Breaking into The Graduate Jobs Market
I have a small collection of 6 tips that are fundamental for students breaking into the graduate jobs market. These tips apply to both pre and post-graduation, so do not leave everything to the last minute. This is not some essay that you can kick out in one night after snorting nose-doze, smashing the ever-so-quality two packets of mi goreng and non-stop tapping complete dribble into your keyboard and SOMEHOW managing to still get a solid B-. That tactic won’t cut it here, so do not do it. Seriously, just don’t.
Let’s proceed with the tips, shall we?
1) Start thinking and preparing early on
This is straight-up the absolute number one thing I wish I listened to. I half-heartedly made an attempt to prepare early but preparing earlier on would have made my transition into the graduate jobs market so much easier! So, don’t leave everything until a couple of weeks before graduation. It’s a typical case of the old ‘the sooner, the more employable’ routine, so start preparing now.
2) Work that resume like it owes you money
Put time and effort into it. Like, a genuine effort. Simply listing your high school graduation, university graduation, and a part-time retail or fast food position on a sheet of plain white A4 doesn’t cut the cake anymore. Draft out what you can write, then write it in the tone of a first-year psychology student acting like they know proper ‘lab report’ speak. Class it up. Crank into the free templates on Canva and create a Pinterest worthy masterpiece with a photo on the top of you in your most dapper outfit. If you put in the time and effort, I promise they will notice.
Arghhh, so painfully laborious, and, let’s be honest, a little awkward. Especially the networking days at University. But it’s actually incredibly helpful – especially when you’re in your third month of unemployment and you remember your boy Greg that you met at a kiosk at the universities networking day, who gave you popcorn and a free pen. And you know what – Greg will probably come through for you. So take the time to meet the Gregs of the networking world. They care more than you think and hot-damn, that’s definitely worth something!
4) You have to work to work
That seems stupid, I know. But employers want to reduce the risks associated with hiring some loose unit that’s still stuck in their binge-drinking, town hopping phase; and they will do this by looking at your previous experience. The type of employment doesn’t even really matter in this case. It’s just about getting some kind of occupation to show that you’re capable of working both on your own and within a group. It’s called ‘employability security’ (2), which more or less means you have an array of attributes and skills that you will put forth to a job. Today’s job market consists of ever-evolving job opportunities. We don’t stay in positions for 40 years like our parents did, because our jobs are going to be so very different in that time. Millennials change jobs faster than any other generation – which is why the type of employment matters less, and your transferable skills matter more. So, try to get part-time employment job while studying and build that experience up.
Paid or not, internships are the best way to truly learn what your field of study applies to in the real world. You might find that it is remarkably different from what your mentors at university (or other tertiary educations) told you. There are often various seminars at tertiary institutes regarding internships so keep an eye out. But don’t depend solely on that, because chances are many other students are only trying for that exact internship. Expand your horizons, ask your networking unit from tip 3, contact different organisations directly. I asked a company for an internship, just to learn the ropes, and not only did they take me in, but they also employed me to full-time with full industry training. All I did was write a creative cover letter, pimp out my resume (thanks InDesign) and ask for a hand-up from a company that I felt would instruct me from an ethical and responsible viewpoint (because it’s easy to sell-out in marketing). That was it, and it gave me my ‘in’ to the industry. So give it a go, friends. You’ve got nothing to lose.
6) Personality and behaviour
This is the most fundamentally vital attribute of an employee, to the point where it can conquer previous experience, working life, and availability – a good personality and work ethic matters above all else. That quote “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” absolutely applies! Be sure to let potential employers know your keenness towards working hard and your perks, which shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. Just channel your grandma after a couple of whiskeys where she just starts listing the reasons she is proud of you – do that, but in a resume or cover letter and cater it for an employer.
Go Out & Grab Your Post-Graduation Career
The sooner you prepare for post-graduate working life, the better the outcome will be for you. It’s easy to procrastinate, especially in an environment in which procrastination is so prevalent, but this preparation can literally dictate your life. Listen to the advice of your teachers, your guest speakers, and your peers that have hit the job market. You should job learn from their mistakes and they will genuinely care about doing right by you. Most of all, try to stay positive – it’s easy to feel pessimistic towards job hunting, but that won’t help you. So be positive, take advice on-board, work hard, and keep your head up. You’ll get there.