5 Reasons Your Grad Job Search Is Not Working, According to an Expert

5 Reasons Your Grad Job Search Is Not Working, According to an Expert

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Updated February 21, 2023 Updated February 21

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Are you getting interviews, but no job offers? Don’t despair, your situation is fairly common. For many people these days, looking for a graduate job fresh out of uni can feel like a bit of a Sisyphean nightmare - blasting out CVs and refreshing your inbox every half hour only to find out you haven’t got enough work experience for an entry level job or that the recruiter liked you but gave the job to somebody else.   To give you the very best advice on how to overcome these challenges and secure that dream graduate job, we spoke to Anna Storgards, Careers Counsellor at the University of Helsinki. Below she shares her top tips on how to boost your chances of getting a job soon after graduation.

1. You’re not applying to the right jobs

While there are no quick fixes, students who know exactly what types of jobs they’d excel in tend to save a lot of time because recruiters are trained to identify who is a good fit for a specific role. Applying to the wrong jobs are a waste of your time and will set you back, so make sure you know yourself.   Anna said: “Throughout your studies, you must reflect and assess your strengths and skills, and only after you’ve identified what you’re good at, can you then figure out what you can do with that skillset, what kind of jobs there are.”

2. You don’t know enough about the industry

How familiar are you with the labor market?   Another factor slowing you down might be that you don’t know enough about the industry and how to access the jobs there.   A good way of finding out more about your field is to talk to those people who are doing the jobs you would be interested in doing. Ask how they got into this line of work, what tasks do they have, what skills are required? A deeper knowledge about your field will help in figuring out how you can profile yourself and how to apply for similar positions.

3. Your job search merely consists of blasting out resumes 

While job hunting might be a game of numbers, blasting out the same generic cover letters to  several employers at a time will slow you down, so make sure you put in the effort. Anna said: “If you’re sending the same application to 10 places, that’s definitely going to slow things down because you need to tailor each application. You need to spend a lot of time on each one, so perhaps one day researching, and another writing up your cover letter and CV. I would say quality matters more than quantity.”   “Video CVs can be a good addition to your LinkedIn profile because a traditional CV won’t tell employers much about you as a person, but a link to your video profile could give recruiters a better understanding of who you are. Of course you are not required to have it and it might not always be the factor that lands you a job, but it’s a way to stand out from the crowd”.

4. You’re not sending open applications

Anna said: “Not being active enough during your studies and job search can definitely hinder you. You need to be reaching out to businesses and contacts and sending out open applications to organizations you’re interested in working for. Open applications are a great way to find what we call hidden jobs, jobs that are not advertised but that you can find by approaching the employer, naming your strengths and aspirations. They might say: ‘Ok, when can you start?’”. 

5. You’re not making the most of LinkedIn 

Many graduates fail to use LinkedIn in their job search beyond filling out their profile and looking for vacancies in the jobs tab. Anna said: “LinkedIn is a good electronic CV, where you can add many different things to your profile, such as a blog or a video CV about yourself, but most importantly it’s a source of information.   “You can look for alumni from your program, people who’ve done exactly what you’re studying and see where they’re working. You should contact them and ask to connect. Also, join relevant industry groups. “   Get more careers advice tips here or via the University of Helsinki YouTube’s channel.

This article was originally published in December 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

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