Manage Your Graduate Job Search
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Graduate job searching involves you identifying your career preferences, researching career options, utilising a variety of job search strategies, and becoming skilled in the job application process. A strategic, focused approach to your job search will help you manage the process, while minimising any impact on your university studies and other life priorities. Having a goal and a plan will help you focus your efforts on job applications that support your career orientation.
Set your goals
Most of you will have preferences about the type of work you’d like to do, the kinds of people you’d like to be working with, the types of organisation you want to be affiliated with, and the geographical location of your work. If you are studying a degree, such as Nursing, Education, Dentistry, or Engineering, you will have a reasonably clear idea about the expected occupational outcomes of your course and can work towards these.
Conversely, other degrees may equip you with a versatile skill set rather than a professional title, so the onus will be on you to figure out how you want to use it (in what setting and for what purpose). Gaining clarity about your career goals and how to achieve them is not something that you can leave until you have finished your course – the earlier you start, the better.
Identify your priorities and preferences
Knowing your personality, interests, values, and skills will help you identify the jobs and employers best suited to your career goals and how to play to your strengths.
Action: Go to your downloaded workbook and complete Activity 1
If you would like to further explore your priorities and preferences, complete the You and Your Career module.
Identify jobs and employers to pursue
Research your opportunities and identify employers and positions of interest. If you are not clear on the job possibilities for your degree, check online job boards and identify opportunities by searching your degree qualification, areas of interest, or skills. Read the job descriptions to identify the roles that meet your interests, skills, and background, and save them for future reference.
Be creative in your search and look beyond traditional job titles in your industry. Think laterally, your options may be greater than you originally thought. Titles change over time, and many jobs will align with your knowledge, skills, and experience that you may have never considered. By reviewing a number of relevant job adverts, identify key skill sets and use them as your search keywords. Employers may not always mention a specific degree name in their job advertisements, but they generally always list key skills for the job.
Be open to job opportunities that may not exactly align with your preferences but offer experience and skill development, which may lead you closer to your preferred employment outcome.
Once you have an idea of the scope of job possibilities, then start to focus your search on job options which fit what you know about yourself and your career goals. Look for career opportunities that you are excited by and do not lose sight of your career hopes and ambitions.
Develop and implement a plan
Most successful job seekers develop a plan and follow it, and as the saying goes – ‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail’.
Start early … remember that this is an investment in your career!
Check recruitment timelines as employers recruit at differing times. Graduate programs generally recruit during your final year, from as early as March, for commencement of employment in the following year. The shortlisting process can take months as it can include aptitude and psychometric testing, gamification and assessment centres. Graduate positions and entry level positions can arise at any time, though some industries will have regular recruitment seasons. A range of online resources exist to consolidate this information for you, such as JCU Career Directory, GradAustralia and GradConnection. If you are looking for work internationally, check recruitment timelines for countries of interest as international timelines tend to be quite different. It is best to have recruitment timelines figured out in your penultimate (second last) year of your degree to ensure you do not miss any opportunities.
Commit time to your job search. Set aside specific times or block times in your calendar to devote to your job search. Think about setting up a monthly/semester planner.
Break your job search into small, manageable tasks to manage your time more efficiently and maintain motivation. For example:
- Identify graduate jobs you are interested in
- Commence researching potential employers
- Update your resume to ensure it is current and professional
- Set up your profile on relevant recruitment websites and job boards
- Learn interview strategies
Keep track of all your job search activities including applications submitted, networking contacts, key job websites, and interviews. A recording system will be helpful in planning and managing your job search, particularly when you are applying for multiple jobs.
- Keep a record of dates, job titles, company names and websites, and contact names, as well as interview panelists, their position titles, and any feedback they provided.
- Save the job advertisements, job descriptions and your application responses for each job you apply for. This information will be essential when you receive that interview invitation down the track.
- Most importantly, write some short notes about all your job search experiences to reflect on key outcomes, learnings, and observations.
Many job seekers set up Excel or Word files to keep track of their activities.
Resumes submitted/online applications completed
|JOB TITLE||COMPANY & |
|PHONE||EMAIL ADDRESS||STATUS OF|
What did I learn?
|JOB TITLE||COMPANY &|
|PHONE||EMAIL ADDRESS||STATUS OF|
|NOTES e.g. |
What did I learn?
Alternatively, there are free online tools, such as Trello, to assist with managing your job search. Review your plan periodically to identify if you are on track or need to change strategy.
LinkedIn Learning offer a number of helpful job search training modules. For free access, login to LinkedIn Learning through the JCU website. Helpful modules include:
- Job Search Strategies
- Job Hunting for College Grads