Don't be afraid to fail. You likely won’t be offered every job you apply for - it happens to all of us. Learn to embrace these failures, and view them as opportunities to learn. There is also no need to rush as you likely have your whole working life ahead of you. Use this time to try different things, and figure out what works best for you.
It can be intimidating to talk to employers and sell yourself as a candidate. But if you want a job, it must be done!
Be prepared to tell people about yourself. Yes, it's uncomfortable - especially if you're shy. But it's best to think about talking to an employer like meeting a new friend. You both want to like each other and get to know each other, but you have to share a little of yourself to find common ground.
As a hiring manager, I love getting to know what you're passionate about. You can talk about your work-related skills and passions, but don't forget to tell us about the new game you're obsessed with, the sport you've been playing since grade five, or the art you create.
Getting to know you makes it more fun for me as a hiring manager. It also helps you stand out from the crowd.
Turning up to a career fair with a stack of printed resumes used to be normal, but things have changed.
Let’s save some trees and ditch the printed resumes. Most hiring managers are happy to connect with you on LinkedIn and don't expect to see your 'formal' resume until you apply for a role.
Instead, start working on your digital resume – your LinkedIn profile.
Being connected to employers on LinkedIn also gives you insights into their culture, and the type of work they do, which may help you decide if you're interested in working for them.
Disclaimer: This may not apply to you if you're applying for jobs overseas. For example, in some regions in Asia, it is still common and even expected, that you provide printed copies of your resume.
Be a serial pest
If you've found an employer that you're keen to work for, don't be afraid to be a serial pest.
Now, I'm not talking about actually being a pest.
You just want to make sure that you stay in front of their mind. That way, if a job opportunity pops up, they’re more likely to think of you.
My suggestion is to gently reach out to them every 2-3 months. You can reach out less frequently if you still have a few years of study before you enter the full-time workforce.
Here's an example: 'Thank you for taking the time to speak to me at the ABC career fair in March, I hope you've been well.
I'll be looking for a full-time role from November when I finish my degree in Government & Politics. Ideally, I'd like to work in Policy, but I'm open to other roles.
If you know of any opportunities coming up, or would be willing to chat to me about my career, I'd appreciate that.'
Do some research before you meet with people from the company.
You don't need to quote their mission statement word for word, just check out their website and familiarise yourself!
To save you some time, here are the most helpful pages to read:
The most important pages are the:
Once you're done, use the information you’ve read to think of icebreakers and questions you can ask.
For example, you might say:
'Hey, thanks for chatting with me! I've taken a look at your website and I know what you 'do', but I'd love to hear more about
the culture and your personal experience'.
Alternatively, you might say: 'Hey, thanks for chatting with me! I've taken a look at your website and I don't fully understand what it is you 'do'. Could you explain to me what your day to day looks like?'
See how a tiny bit of research can make it easier to speak to employers, and get valuable information?
Do your research
Speaking of websites, you should spend at least 5-10 minutes during each application navigating around the website and doing some research on where you’re applying for.
It will give you both a better understanding of where you’re applying for and will also show employers that you’ve put some effort into your application!
Look for places that line up with your values
Not sure where to apply for? The best way to find out is to look for workplaces that line up with your values, whether that be how the office is run, what the culture is like, or even what the ethical stance of the organisation is.
Not only will this help you find a job that you’ll enjoy, but employers will be more likely to hire you if you’re the right fit for the organisation. If you’re not sure what a company’s values are, go on their website and click around on the “About US” section.
Find a balance
One of the biggest questions I had to ask myself when applying for grad positions is: am I better off spending less effort on a lot of applications, or a lot of effort on only a few applications?
The answer falls somewhere in the middle – make sure you’re not rushing through them because you’ll make mistakes, but also don’t spend too much time on one application. You’re better off finishing an application when it reaches a quality you’re happy with, rather than trying to make sure it’s perfect.
It’s a numbers game
At the end of the day, applying for grad positions is a numbers game. You only have a finite amount of time to be sending through applications – especially if you’re already time-poor because of work, study, or other commitments – so it’s important that you’re budgeting that time correctly.
Figure out how many applications you can send out with the time you have, and write up a list of places that you want to apply for. Make sure you prioritise the applications for the places where you really want to work and focus on those before you move on to the others.