… okay, that title is a lie. Sorry. There's no set way for anyone, at all. This entry is more a vague set of tips about what to do in the search for an elusive job post-graduation. A survival guide, if you will.
As dissertations reach and completions and exams start to look like something that might go away soon, many soon-to-be graduates are looking into the maw of employment and wondering what on earth they're going to do with their lives. You may well have a plan, or a job-related degree. Best of luck, teachers, doctors and accountants! I am aware that everyone has trouble with first jobs, but at least if you have a direction then you know where to start looking.
But what of those of us who are cast into the ether without any clear direction, what should we do? It's all very well to beat our chests and rent our clothes and bewail that we didn't take the time to visit the Careers Centre, but alas, for some of us the Careers Centre is too far away now. These are some very vague tips for anyone who is currently resembling a headless chicken and have no idea how to go about even starting to look for a job:
1. If you want to go the graduate scheme route, go nuts – they're designed for graduates. Milkround and Prospects are both good websites, and I managed to get a few interviews/assessment centre places with them.
2. Apply for everything that takes your fancy, but tailor your applications. A general CV is a boring CV. Why do you want to do that job? More importantly, what unique thing can you bring for that particular role?
3. “£25,000 OTE!” means 'Slightly above minimum wage unless you're really, really good at sales'. If you're really, really good at sales then hooray for you! If you're not, though, a sales job will probably make you unhappy. Sorry.
4. If you don't understand some of the job terms used, then that's fine! If you don't understand the whole advert, then there's only so much you can blag.
5. “This job is below me!” No, it's not. Get out of that mindset right now. Work is a good thing to be in. The job may be hell, and you may not enjoy it, but the job you're doing now? The waitressing, the call centre, the data inputting? Some people do that for their whole life. Work is a good thing to have, and that McJob will keep you with some money, some self-esteem and if you're clever, will help give you a leg up into the job you want to do.
5a. Did you have a student job? Can it be transferred or made full time in some way? That's what I did, and within two weeks of transferring to a different store in a different region (translation: I moved back in with my parents) I got promoted to supervisor. Okay, I left that job, but it means I have MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE which is, on a technical level, gold dust.
6. Don't buy an interview suit until you have an interview. It's soul-crushing to look at it, unworn, swinging gently in the wardrobe.
7. Beware the recruitment agencies. They will lure you in with a job title and it turns out they just want you on the books. I am on more recruitment agencies books than I can shake a stick at, and I've never got a single interview out of them, let alone a job. Recruitment agencies, unfortunately, also advertise very real and current jobs. Read the adverts carefully and ask about their client for this role. If they have a specific client, it's probably a real job. If it's vague, they don't.
8. Lastly, keep in contact with friends. Not for networking, you mercenary bastards, but just to keep in contact with people you may have moved away from during the job search. Frankly, it's good for the soul.