Graduation Day is a day of celebration and achievement, where all of the fresh faced graduates take their first steps into the corporate world. The job market is a tough one – especially when you have the same experience as every other new grad. We’ve summarised eight things you should do to help you stand out and ease the transition.
Create a LinkedIn profile
It still amazes me how many students don’t have a LinkedIn account or really see any value in it. My University actually made it compulsory for 10% of our grade to get one and connect with every member of our course in our final year!
LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to look after all of those professional connections you will make throughout your career. No more shuffling through lost business cards in a drawer – you have an electronic list of everyone you’ve ever met. Furthermore, even if you never see that person again – engaging with their updates and posts can create a relationship with little work required. Making it easy to reach out in the future. So get your profile set up ASAP and make sure you connect with everyone you’ve got to know at University.
Agree a reunion day
On that note, all of those people you have worked, partied and lived with in the past three or four years are all about to disappear across the country. They will enter into so many different industries – ones you’ve never even heard of. And in just a couple of years, you will have lost touch with 90% of those you said you’d meet again. You are all starting out from the same point – stay in touch and meet up with these groups of people as frequently as possible. Growing your network is invaluable.
Get out networking
Also, start meeting people in the corporate world as soon as possible. If you’re looking for your first job, “the people who you know”, will get you there. A 17 year old turned up to my networking drinks event in the middle of a bar in London last week. He wasn’t invited – but he impressed everyone by turning up and saying “I want to make connections with important people”. He was unforgettable, polite and engaging and went away with 60 new contacts – a few whom I’m sure would have got in touch afterwards to try to help him get a foot in the door. Eventbrite is a great tool for finding business and networking events in your local area and most are free to sign up too. Be brave – step out of your comfort zone and you will be rewarded. If you’re really nervous, take a friend.
Get in touch with someone who you admire
Use your LinkedIn search to find someone who is exactly where you would like to be in 10 or 20 years time. Send them an InMail, telling them how much you admire what they have achieved and that you are considering the same path and wondered if they had any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the industry. Don’t ask for a job! That is not the point – the idea is to discover if there is a certain path you should be taking that you hadn’t considered. You may get someone who doesn’t reply, but most people are very friendly and willing to help young people break into an industry and will be flattered. If not, don’t take it to heart, and find someone else. This person could be willing to be a mentor you’ll need in the upcoming years.
Register with lots of recruitment agencies
Be nice! Stand out, be friendly and get chatting to lots of local recruitment agencies. Most graduates are put into positions by recruitment firms nowadays. Most companies aren’t sure what they want from a graduate so pass the responsibility on. Also, when you’re experience is limited it can be hard to be heard amongst the noise – it will be the recruitment agents who will be pushing for you to be hired – saying fantastic, flattering things about you every day. Their job depends on you getting one! Being friendly will help you get preferential treatment for big positions too, if the agency has lots of graduates on it’s books.
Draft some really creative ideas for your CV
How can you stand out? A typical black and white word document just doesn’t cut it anymore. How can you make it beautifully designed? Pinterest is great for showcasing unique ideas of how you could show your skills. If you’re not a designer, head to Canva and look at their great CV templates.
Can you jump the queue and not apply online? Hand-delivering a CV can make a huge difference – how can you make this a unique experience? There are a lot of stories on LinkedIn of people presenting baskets and physical items to showcase their skills. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of food bribery! Think about the place you are applying too as well; for example if it’s a digital agency, an online interactive CV would stand out and show your potential skills better.
Get a hair cut!
No seriously. Spend the weeks you have off for yourself refreshing your look – new clothes, new hair – anything that gives you new confidence to say “Hello World, I’ve Arrived”.
This is a very unique time where you have a few weeks of unemployment whilst job hunting. In the future it’s likely you will jump jobs with no gap – Friday at one employer, Monday at the next. Enjoy the time you have off whilst you can. Find out who you are and what you really want to spend the next fifty years or so doing. Identifying this now can save a lot of heartache a few years down the road when you have too much on your plate to think about a new direction.