I’ve graduated, now what?

Congratulations!

You have graduated. It’s a very special moment in your life and you should pause, reflect and celebrate.

Sooner or later you are going to be looking for employment, and a graduate programme is where you should focus your efforts. A graduate programme is a fixed-term entry-level position offered by companies to recent university graduates. It’s a great way to understand the world of work within a supportive environment. If you stand out and achieve well, you could be offered permanent employment.

Indherani Reddy, CEO at Dananda Talent, has had many years’ experience in placing graduates. She offers this advice to graduates looking for that extraordinary first job, to take them up the career ladder.

Research current graduate programmes on offer.

Identify the companies offering these programmes in your area of specialty. What are the requirements and when are the submission dates? Is there a real person you could speak to? If there is someone, call them, introduce yourself, tell them why you should be considered. This is not the time to be retiring and sensitive. Take the initiative and show that you are proactive; it will count in your favour. Rest assured that there will be other applicants will be doing just this, and if you don’t, how would you expect to stand out?

Connect with recruiters who specialise in graduate programmes.

Google them, connect with them on LinkedIn, and if possible call them directly. Meet up with them. These are the people who will compile a shortlist of gradates for submission to their clients.

Is your CV a good reflection of what you have to offer?

Make sure that your CV is in good shape, that it promotes you properly. Simple things like layout, spelling mistakes, and bad formatting will probably exclude you immediately from any recruitment process. Don’t forget all those mini-leadership roles. Ask a friend to review it for you.

Get visible.

Update your LinkedIn profile. There are some useful tips on the Dananda website.  https://danandatalent.net  Register on popular job boards. And remove those terrible pictures from Facebook, or Instagram. You will be Googled.

Consider upskilling yourself.

Find out what the hot skills are, what are companies critically crying out for. Consider getting them. Take an internship, sign up for on-the job training. This can be a useful interim strategy. Investigate which MOOCs might help you – they are free if you don’t take the certification. It may take a little longer to get into the job market, but it will be well worth the time taken, in the end. Please do make sure that the qualification is recognised in the marketplace.

Volunteer. Work for free.

You can get valuable interim experience by volunteering to work for a charity or NGO. And there are many stories of graduates offering to work for free at their dream company; and then securing employment there.

Use your network.

Ask everyone you know for their help, to keep you in mind. Ask them for the contact details of people in their network who may be able to help you, and who else they know that they can introduce you to.

How are you selling yourself?

Make sure that you present a positive image, in your CV, on the telephone and in person. You need a proactive and can-do attitude. Nothing should be too much trouble. This is not a time to be fussy and choosy. Make sure that you present a professional image, shave, don’t smoke just before the interview and remove those piercings, hide that tattoo.

Keep trying. As if it’s your first time. Every time.

This is the most important thing to remember, and the hardest to achieve. Until you get a job, your job is to look for a job. And you need to treat every interview as if it is your first one. It’s hard to keep your spirits up, when it seems as if your CV has disappeared into a black hole, and no-one will talk to you. Remain positive, protect yourself against despondency. Finding a job is hard work. Be prepared for rejection. This develops your personal resilience. It takes 10-20 applications to get one interview. And then it takes 10-15 interviews to get one job offer.

Open your mind.

The perfect job may not exist. What else could you do? Think about the activities you like doing, rather than job titles. List jobs that use those activities and skills, some of them may be in industries you haven’t yet approached. Open your mind to other possibilities, look in other areas, ask for advice, and adjust your search accordingly. And keep going to those interviews. Interviewing is an art, and the best way to learn is by sitting in the hot seat.

All of us here at Dananda Talent wish you great success in your job search. Let us know how we can help you. https://danandatalent.net

You will find a list of graduate programmes here: https://www.graduates24.com/graduatesprogrammes

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