It’s difficult to know where it came from:
- Was it that innocuous comment from a family relative?
- Was it hearing friends talking about applying for roles and deadlines coming up?
- Or was it that comment you overheard about someone who already has a job lined up?
Whatever it was, it worked!
So, now you have got the feeling that you should start to do something about life after university – the big question is “What?”
At this point it is natural to jump immediately to “I need a CV”.
What we’re going to show you is that your CV needs to be targeted at a job – so you have to know what you want first! Before you put pen to paper (or the digital equivalent) on a CV, you need to be self-aware: think about your abilities, interests, values and motivations, and match these to possible options. As the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to people from any degree discipline, the question shouldn’t just be “What can I do if I am studying X”, but “What do I want to do and how can I apply studying X to that career option”
Take Stock! Research
So it’s time to take stock. You have built up a shortlist of potential career options based on your own personality and motivations and now it’s time to get down to tactics. However, it’s still not time to grab the security blanket of writing a CV (that will come later).
Looking at your shortlist, you now have a clearer idea of the end goal and it is about plotting out the route. You need to look at the entry requirements of the roles you have highlighted. You might need to gain some relevant work experience, undertake some work shadowing or gain some experience via voluntary activities. It might be that further study is the only way to enter that career. It’s about breaking down the jump from where you currently are to where you want to be into smaller steps. All of this will make your CV writing so much easier.
Get to know you
You have considered what makes you tick, your strengths and weaknesses and career
aspirations. From this you have generated a list of likely job matches and looked at the requirements of these roles. You might have worked out how you can build up your experience so you are the best candidate.
Another useful tactic can be to look at some of the roles that currently exist in the areas you’re looking at. This might be to build up your work experience, including internships, as part of your journey, or it might be to look at specific requirements listed against live roles to deepen your knowledge of these.
The truth is that the world of graduate recruitment is growing and always changing. The variety of roles that appear on our vacancy database never fails to impress us. By exploring the link between your self-analysis and what you have found out about opportunities available, a short list of possible options should start to emerge. You can also set up your alert preferences so you don’t miss out on future roles related to these options.
Make a plan
Getting a career plan in place can feel like a daunting task. Breaking it down into smaller steps not only helps you keep moving on the process, but also builds up a solid foundation for your career.
Having worked out a tactical approach to bridge the gap between your current position and your ideal career now is the time to apply to opportunities. You’ll need to understand how the recruitment procedure works for the career you are interested in so that you can effectively promote yourself through applications.
It might be that the CV that you initially wanted to write isn’t ever going to be used as all roles have application forms as a central part of the recruitment process. Now it the time to look at your CV and application writing to make sure you are able to sell yourself to your target employers ‘on paper’ no matter what the application method is. You’re now aware of the requirements for what you really want, and so you’re in a much better position to write targeted CVs. A targeted CV has almost infinitely more chance of success than a generic one. Have you ever seen an advert for a “Generalist”?
Maximizing your chances of success
Doing the groundwork of career planning allows you to maximise your chances of success when you are applying for work.
This is because you should be applying for roles that are a good fit and you have the skills/experience that the roles demand. It is no surprise that you application can be stronger when all this is in place.
So naturally, the application was a success and now you have been called to interview.
Now is the time for one final push – nailing the interview.