What to do after you graduate in three easy steps

A lot of you will be graduating soon and unless you have a clear idea of what job and industry you want to work for, you may be beginning to question what to do next.  Sounds familiar? Don’t worry- below is a helpful guide for you to get some ideas from. And if you are still at university for the next couple of years, then this should still give you some ideas for your future and help you get a head start.

Idea, plan, action...

Looking on the bright side graduate job listings on TARGETjobs reveal that, while most employers need candidates to have a 2.1, less than 20% specify an area of study. Even fewer require a specific degree. This is good news if you have decided that what you have studied is not necessarily what you want to pursue as a career.

Step One: Do your research. To get career ideas, start looking within yourself. Self-analysis is hard but it’s the basis of all sensible career decision making. It is the only way you can make effective applications to the right employers and the only way you can make sure the job you get is the job you want.

If you are not sure what is out there look at job descriptions for different organisations in different industries to see if any of these sound like something you are able to do as well as fit with your skills and capabilities.

Step Two: Know what employers are looking for. Most employers look for similar competencies and skills. Below are the top 10 skills and competencies that will get you a graduate job:

  1. Commercial awareness: This skill is all about knowing how a business or industry works and what makes a company tick. You will need to be able to show that you understand how the organisation works, its products and services and how it competes in the marketplace.
  2. Communication: Verbal and written, but also listening.  This is all about being clear, concise and focused. Tailoring your message for the audience and listening to the views of others.
  3. Teamwork: You will have to prove that you are a good team player, but also demonstrate that you can manage and delegate and take on responsibility alone when needed. This is all about building positive relationships to achieve positive goals in collaboration.
  4. Negotiation and persuasion:  This is about putting your way forward, but also understanding where the other person is coming from, and both get what you need and feel positive about it.
  5. Problem solving: This is the ability to display a logical and analytical approach to solving problems.
  6. Leadership: Although you will most probably be learning at your first job, you will need to show that you have the potential to motivate and influence teams. Assign and delegate tasks well, setting deadlines and leading by good example.
  7. Organisation: You will need to show the ability to prioritise, work efficiently and productively and self-management.
  8. Perseverance and networking:  Employers want to see that you have a get-up-and-go attitude. You will need to show employers that you’re the kind of person who will find a solution despite setbacks.
  9. Ability to work under pressure: You will need to show that you can stay calm in a crisis and not become too over-whelmed and stressed.
  10. Confidence: It is vital to strike the balance of being confident in yourself but not arrogant and demonstrate confidence in your colleagues and the company you work for.

Step three: Get organised. Set aside time to apply for each job and don’t leave applications until the last minute. Check, check and check again- you will be surprised how many applications are filled with spelling mistakes. And finally, keep a record of which jobs you have applied to, as you never know when you may get a response back and will need to know what you wrote on the application form.

Good luck!

This content was produced by TARGETjobs. Visit TARGETjobs for more useful career advice, graduate jobs and tips on how to get hired by top employers.

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