Want to be more employable as a graduate? Have a read of our guide.
From October to December 2020, the UK saw a 13% rise in unemployment in those aged 16-24 compared to three months pre-pandemic. That’s around 66,000 more young people unemployed. Here at Developing a Student, we know that one of the groups hit hardest by this rising unemployment is graduates. We also recognise how challenging it is to finish university with a degree and not find work.
We have put together a list of tips on how graduates can make themselves more employable while searching for a job. The unemployment rates mean that job vacancies are seeing a record number of applicants. This makes standing out from the crowd even more critical. While it may feel hard to be hopeful about the future, we believe that there are small but significant things you can do to increase your chances of finding a job that’s right for you.
Tips for making yourself more employable as a graduate
The best way to increase your employability is to get as much experience as possible. Having the opportunity to learn and practice your skills in a work environment is extremely useful when showing potential employers what you can do.
Experience doesn’t have to be in the form of full-time formal employment; you may start by volunteering for a charity or helping out in your local school, to see if it’s a job you would like to pursue. You can also apply to companies and organisations for formal work experience. Many businesses offer virtual experience or open days to introduce graduates to their work.
There are many online courses that can help build your skills, many of which are free! Start by looking at a job that interests you, and then research what skills are needed to do that job. If there are any gaps in your CV, try and fill them with a short course. Maybe you need excellent excel skills for your dream job, or you need to know a second language. Whatever it is, there will be a course for it online. This is also a great way to stay motivated during a period of unemployment.
Using your spare time productively.
Experience doesn’t just have to come from a work environment. You can easily practice your skills at home by using your free time productively. Think about what kind of careers interest you, and then consider whether you could be doing anything at home to show employers that you are dedicated. For example, if you want to work in publishing, you could start a book blog at home. Or, if you want to work in theatre, you could research any online productions you could get involved with. This will show employers that you are proactive and committed to the work. All of these things will show how employable you really are.
Streamline your CV
Your CV is often the first thing an employer sees and reads about you; it’s essential that you make a good impression. You can have all the experience and skills you need for the job, but if an employer can’t see it quickly and clearly on your CV, you may not get the job. Every time you apply for a new job, edit your CV to include the most relevant experience and skills—this way, an employer can see straight away that you have everything you need to be successful.
Before you get in touch with any company with your CV or cover letter, make sure you have done your research. Find out who you are sending your CV too and what kind of work they do. This can make all the difference when writing your cover letter; show them why you want to work for that company specifically, not just in that role.
Ask for help from those around you.
Finally, reach out to people who you have worked with or worked for in the past to see if they can help you in any way. Being unemployed after graduating can be challenging, and there will be people who want to give you a helping hand in whatever way they can. Someone might know of a job going, or they may need an extra pair of hands on a project they are doing. Asking for help is a great way to show that you are actively seeking opportunities, and it may lead to something you wouldn’t have expected.
If you are a graduate looking for work, visit our jobs board to find a whole range of jobs and opportunities aimed at young people.