Making that transition from university to corporate life can be a massive step, and if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, that’s totally natural!
All you need to start your brilliant career is a foot in the door, but getting that door opened even the teeniest bit can seem a bit like a mystery.
Good thing I know exactly what companies most desired by graduates look for in their candidates!
So if you’re ready to start your journey, here are my top 5 tips for getting your foot on the first rung of the career ladder.
Remember those times when exams interrupted your fun uni life and you found yourself staying up all night cramming, fuelled by two pots of coffee and panicked desperation? You’ll also remember that the results of that exam reflected the lack of planning. Well, transitioning into working life is no different.
Taking time to properly plan increases your chance of landing a job you actually want in the company you choose.
Start by researching your ‘dream’ companies. Do they offer graduate programs? What departments do they have and what other entry positions are available? Check out their websites and sign up for email updates.
Research job descriptions
Start collecting advertisements for jobs that you would like to apply for. You’ll start to get a good idea of the skills, qualities and experience needed for the jobs. While you don’t ever need to tick all the boxes when you apply for jobs – sometimes a demonstrated willingness to learn will satisfy - if you identify significant gaps, it might be time to skill-up in those areas!
You can also use these job ads to practice writing applications and interview techniques.
Establish an online profile
Set up a LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only ever worked part-time through uni, you’ve still acquired skills and experience. What were your roles and more specifically what were your responsibilities?
LinkedIn profiles stand out when the person’s personality shines through. Do you play an instrument? Speak three languages?
Remember, recruiters aren’t just seeking skills and experience – they are looking for culture fits and personality traits, like the ability to work as part of a team.
Reach out and make connections on LinkedIn – but make sure they are meaningful connections (this isn’t Facebook!) and always send a personal message with your invitation.
If a person is particularly responsive, you might want to suggest you meet up for a coffee. Take the opportunity to find out more about their company, culture and what you might need to do or learn to reach that person’s position. It might turn out that person is interested in acting as a mentor – if so, take the opportunity!
Above all, always express your gratitude and thanks – they don’t have to help you!
Start collecting as many references as you can – from supervisors at your part-time job, lecturers, mentors etc. I know, it can feel a little bit nerve racking, but most people remember the struggle to get a foot in the door and are happy to help. And if the worst that can happen is they say no, it’s worth the risk.
Need more advice?
My programs provide the resources, training and support to give graduates the one thing they didn’t learn at university: how to get the great job and successfully move from university to career life… .