Shaking up your job hunt

  February 27, 2017

Job hunting – it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from or what degree you've done, we can pretty much guarantee the process that you follow in your job hunt: search for a vague term on Google for example 'graduate jobs', '[insert degree subject here] graduate jobs' or 'jobs in marketing/any other area you have a possible interest in'. Next up you scroll through reams of seemingly unsuitable jobs, and pick out any that might just fit with what you think you want/can do/can blag your way into. Then the application process; fill in any mandatory forms, upload the same CV to every company, and copy and past a generic cover letter that details your 'passion', 'reliability' and 'teamwork'. Once all that's done you can sit back and let the interview invites roll in (or not as the case will normally be, and instead be downtrodden by every rejection letter or the complete radio silence).

An infallible approach to job hunting success for sure, as long as you're happy to eventually start applying for jobs you are hideously overqualified for, or that sound downright boring, just to increase your chances of success. Then of course once you are inevitably accepted for one of these jobs, instead of the ones you really want, you get to spend the next few decades of your life in an industry you hate, always wondering 'what if'. Sounds super, right?

But if you'd rather start bucking this trend and find yourself a career in a role that you truly enjoy then you might want to take a different tack, and the first step is to stop typecasting yourself. You are a fresh graduate and because of this you probably have no real experience or relevant knowledge of the world of work. Due to this you base your entire job hunt on either what your degree is or what you think you might like to do (probably based on what you've seen in movies). Sounds great in theory, but in truth you have no idea what you'd be good at, or what you'd enjoy doing (for the rest of your life), so stop trying to decide what role you want to do, and instead start thinking about what notable traits you have that you can bring to a job, then pick roles that meet those. And do no be put off by the need for experience; if there's a job you find you think you'd be great at, and have the drive and skills to excel in – apply. So what if you don't get an interview, to be totally frank the chances of getting an interview with a grad scheme place are about the same, so you might as well start applying for things that actually sound interesting to you, because you just never know. Also, give up on the grad scheme (unless you really, truly want to be on it); we know it's bold, but applying for a graduate scheme is long, arduous and emotionally draining and if you are just doing it because you don't know what else to do, then that's a pretty naff reason to be applying. Basically forget what everyone else is doing, and start thinking about what you want from your career, and what you have to offer. Then go out an find jobs that fit into this criteria, and don't let a few rejection letters scare you because everyone has had them. You never know which application might be your last, so make sure each and every application is for something you really want.