The Four Habits of Successful Graduate Job Seekers


According to UK Job Site, Select Jobs, with the number of graduates achieving a first increasing from 17% to 24% over the last five years, competition for graduate jobs is now stronger than ever. Here’s an exclusive insight into the four habits of successful graduate job seekers.

1. Gain Your CV Some Serious Exposure.

The days of printing 50 copies of your CV and trawling your local area have long gone. In order to receive the greatest possible exposure, modifying your CV to offer you the best possible visibility online is now absolutely critical.

Including a section within your CV containing a list of your expected job titles, key modules, and exercised skills is an absolute must. By simply registering your CV through any online portal, you’ll instantly have the chance to be discovered when recruiters run a ‘CV Search’, and you want to make sure you’re appearing in as many relevant searches as possible.

If you’ve simply included ‘BSc Hons Web Design & Development’ within your CV, the chances are, you’ll only appear in a few searches. If you’ve included the skills you’ve exercised, alongside a few prospective job titles, such as: ‘BSc Hons Web Design & Development, CSS, HTML, Photoshop, Illustrator, Junior Web Designer, Trainee Web Developer’, you might see your luck start to change. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand which CV will gain the most visibility!

2. Research & Target.

Everyone values their time differently. Some love to read, some love to write, some love to go to the pub. Either way, this next little tip will offer you some more time to do any of the above!

Applying for hundreds of jobs at once can be pretty soul destroying and time-consuming. It’s 11:30PM and you’ve just applied for you 174th job for that day. The chances are, you’re feeling deflated, defeated and desperate. In order to avoid any of these emotions, it’s absolutely key that you research the organisations within your chosen sector, look at their range of graduate/junior vacancies, and research what they’re looking for from their prospective applications.

Take between 5-10 of these vacancies per day. Once you’re comfortable, write a short, personalised cover letter, stating some of the core values their organisation holds, with a brief explanation as to why you feel you’re perfect. Don’t copy and paste. Be quirky and show you’ve done your research in the first few lines. Things like:

“By the way, I love the idea of the new project (XXXXXX) you’re working on, I think it’s great the way you’ve done (XXXXXX).”

“Good afternoon, before I tell you how I feel I’m perfect for the role, I saw your mission statement on your website and I can see how you’re addressing this with your (XXXXX) product”

You may think it’ll be a long-winded approach, but let’s be honest; if you’re the candidate that follows it through, we both know who will be the one raising the eyebrows of the Recruiter.

By limiting the amount of jobs you apply to each day, not only are you increasing the impact of each application, but you’re staying positive, and releasing more time to head down to the gym, or catch up with friends, or whatever you’re into! After all, let’s be honest; five well-written, personalised and tailored applications to the right job will hold twice the impact that 100 generic applications will.

3. Give & Take.

After spending years with your head in books, stressing over dissertations and sacrificing your time to better yourself, you may have certain expectations surrounding salary from day one. Never be afraid of a short period of unpaid employment, or an internship. It’s proven that 60% of interns are offered full-time employment thereafter. Why? They know they’re perfect for the job, and offering a chance to show that to an organisation at absolutely no financial risk is a hook, line and sinker.

Think of it as a free trial. Everyone loves them, within any industry, and Recruiters are of course the same. Even if sometimes there isn’t an internship listed, proactively approaching a Recruitment team with your proposal will leave them blown away with your confidence, enthusiasm, and the ability to think outside the box (just don’t say you’ve read it online as a good idea!).

If your internship doesn’t result in full-time employment, the worst-case scenario is that you’ve networked with top-tier managers within successful companies in your selected industry, and you’ve achieved some solid experience to put on your CV. It could be a lot worse, right?

4. Cool, calm and collected.

Nerves are a fantastic matrix of panic and desire. Everyone gets them, at any age, in multiple scenarios. As expected, interviews are one of the likely culprits of generating such a feeling.

On one hand, being nervous at interviews will show that you care, and are keen to secure the job. On the other hand, they could hinder your thought process when listening and answering questions. The most successful graduate job seekers will learn how to reduce the presence of nerves and here’s how:

  • Remember, recruiters are people too – it’s simply a conversation, not a grilling!
  • You’ve been selected for an interview for a reason; they believe in your core skills and principles. They’ve shown interest in Be proud!
  • Don’t ever go in with an interview script in your head. You’ll spend too much time thinking about your next answer and you’ll forget to listen to their questions.
  • Listening is one of the most underrated skills a job seeker can possess. To enable yourself to listen, you need to ask questions, which of course shows willing. Every interview will be different, and many conversations will go down different routes than you first expect. Be friendly, confident, have a laugh, and stay professional.
  • An employment contract binds two parties. The organisation and you. Yes, that’s right, you are the one choosing which company is lucky enough to have you. Hold on to the knowledge that you’re also the decision maker in this process and hold your head up high.

In summary, enhance your CV to increase your visibility to Recruiters online, research and target only the organisations you’re keen to work for, and stay confident when engaging with hiring managers. The ability to keep a level head, to be proactive and to think outside the box is something shown, not written on a CV.

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Author Bio: Cameron Briggs is the Founder & Managing Director of UK Job Search Site, Select Jobs, listing over 350,000 live UK vacancies across all sectors and locations.


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