Whether you are looking for internships, work experience or a graduate position – starting your job search can feel daunting. Read on to find out our top tips for getting your job search strategy sorted.

Work out what sort of thing you want

Before diving into your search, spend time reflecting on your skills, interests, values and personality. What gets you excited? What comes naturally to you? Learn about the diverse options within your field of interest. If you are applying for graduate jobs, you might also want to think about graduate schemes vs graduate jobs. There might also be practical things to consider like location and salary.

Everyone has their own way of doing this. Maybe you find it most useful to explore your own skills and interests first and then work out what jobs this might make you a good fit for. Maybe you prefer looking at what is out there and seeing what interests you. Or maybe it is a combination of the two. But having a general idea of the sorts of things you are looking for can help you make your search more focused and manageable.

And remember – you are just looking for your next step. Sometimes starting a search for opportunities can feel so daunting because we fixate on needing to find the perfect dream job. Instead, try to think of your search as a stepping stone, there will be more steps along the way and you are just taking that first little step forward.

We have lots more detail on how you can explore and narrow down your career options on MyFuture.

Make a plan

Once you have a sense of direction, make a plan for your search.

  • Break down what you need to do into smaller steps.
  • Set aside specific times to search and apply for opportunities.
  • Work out which sites you want to use or are best for your industries of interest.

Having a schedule creates structure and keeps your efforts consistent. Adjust your plan as needed, but having dedicated job search time prevents you getting overwhelmed.

If you are feeling stuck, here are a few good places to start:

You can find out more about different ways you can look for jobs in our Get Started guide.

There is no exhaustive list

We often get asked in Careers whether we can give you a list of jobs in a specific industry or particular roles that are being advertised. However, the truth is that it would be impossible for us to generate an exhaustive, tailored list for every individual student. Opportunities change daily, and everyone's interests are different. This is why taking charge of your own search is so critical.

With that said there are a few sites that attempt to do something along these lines but by type of opportunity rather than industry or job. So you can have a look at:

But we would recommend using these in combination with your own search strategies.

Get a balance

Making sure you are using a variety of different search methods is important. Even though we have our own opportunities board on MyFuture, we would always suggest using it alongside other sites or search strategies. No one option is ever going to be totally exhaustive. However, it is important to balance this out with avoiding overwhelming yourself with constant job alerts and a never-ending list of sites to check. Work out what balance works and is manageable for you.

You might find reading about “careers time” in our recent blog post helpful.

Opportunities that aren’t advertised

Searching for unadvertised opportunities might be more important in some sectors and jobs than others. For example, graduate schemes tend to be well-advertised but some graduate jobs might not be. So it is worth doing a bit of research to find out what is the norm in the areas you are interested in.

Speculative applications and networking are useful ways to uncover hidden openings. Research organisations you are interested in working for and send persuasive letters showcasing your fit and motivation. Connect with professionals in your industry to build relationships and gain insider advice on upcoming roles.

We have advice on speculative applications and networking on MyFuture.

Final thought

Starting your search for opportunities can be daunting, but having a plan makes it manageable. View it as a journey of exploration to find your next step.

The Careers Team is here to support you but taking ownership of your search is key to finding possibilities tailored for you.

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Posted in: Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized


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