Leaving uni and stepping into the world of graduate employment? It can feel daunting to start your job hunt, but we’ve pulled together a handy guide on how to find a graduate job – from the tools you have to help you to tips on making yourself more employable.
Not sure what you want to do? Explore the information on our careers website and book a 20 minute ‘Getting started’ appointment where you can learn how to search for graduate jobs on our vacancy portal. You will also be given the opportunity to discuss your options with a graduate careers advisor and get support with making applications and preparing for interviews.View current graduate job vacancies Book an appointment
10 top tips for finding graduate jobs
Having a plan is the key to an effective job search. Watch this short three minute video to hear our top tips or read through them below.
1. Have a job search strategy
Without planning and organisation, graduate job searches can feel overwhelming. So take some time to find out what you want to do, research potential employers, what they look for in applicants and where they advertise their opportunities.
If you’re not sure, come down to Careers Corner in Catalyst and we can help you with where to get started.
2. Target your job search
Different job sectors and professions advertise vacancies and recruit graduates in different ways. So take some time to find out about recruitment methods in the job sector that interests you.
You can find out more about where to find jobs relating to specific subjects in our subject information pages.
The Prospects and Target Jobs websites are also good sources of information about where to find vacancies in specific job sectors:
- Prospects Job Sectors
- Target Jobs Career Sectors
- Target Jobs’ most popular graduate UK 300 employers and UK 300 at a glance
3. Be open minded
Look at the large organisations that you’ve heard about and who you might see on campus, but also consider the medium and small size employers too. Graduate programmes can be a great option, but also look into immediate start jobs and other levels within an organisation that you want to join. It may be that these can offer you a stepping stone into the organisation or profession you’re interested in.
4. Research job websites and register
Research job websites and register with the ones most likely to have opportunities of interest to you. Be aware of registering with too many; they will all give you notifications and your inbox will be overflowing.
5. Consider location
Some regions or cities will be better than others in terms of the job role that you’re looking for. You might find it easier to find your ideal job in a city, rather than a small town, for example.
Find out where the job is located, be open minded about where you’re based and find out where regional jobs are advertised.
If you are looking for a job in a specific region, there may be regional websites you can use to search for vacancies.Finding a graduate job in the North West Finding a graduate job in other regions of the UK
6. Find out about recruitment agencies
Recruitment agencies can be really useful if you’re searching for jobs in specific sectors or regions, and they often have information about vacancies that aren’t advertised anywhere else.
You can search with agencies online and if you’re not sure where to start, come along to careers and we’ll give you some starting points.
7. Make the most of social media
Many graduate employees will use social media to advertise their vacancies or to tell applicants about upcoming events. So follow employers, recruiters and professional bodies on X, Instagram, Facebook and Linked In and any other social media that you tend to use.
8. Build your network
It’s estimated that over 60% of vacancies are never advertised so making connections, building your network and approaching employers to find out about opportunities will be an important part of your job searching strategy.
There are all kinds of ways of networking. To find out more, visit the careers website or go along to some of our networking events.
9. Submit excellent applications
In a competitive job market, it’s never been more important to submit applications that are targeted, focused and well written. Remember Careers can help you with your applications so get in touch if you need to.
10. Don’t give up
Receiving rejections or not hearing back from employers can be very disheartening. It’s important not to give up and to be reflective. Consider what might have gone wrong and seek feedback wherever possible. Get in touch with Careers if you’re struggling.
Remember that Careers can help you with your graduate job search. We are here to help you as student and for three years after graduation. We can help you with career planning, job search, applications and the selection process. So get in touch!
National graduate job websites
A good starting point for your vacancy search is our Careers Vacancy Portal, but we also recommend exploring some of these useful job boards and remember to set up job alerts so that you’re notified by email of any new opportunities that meet your criteria.
- Gradcracker for STEM students
- Bright network
- Guardian graduate jobs
- Reed graduate training schemes
- Jobs in universities
Consider a graduate scheme
Graduate schemes can be a great leg up into a successful career, or allow you to get a taste of a career while bulking out your CV with real-life experience.
There are a huge range of graduate schemes available depending on what type of job you would like.
Common questions when job hunting
It will depend on the sector and role that you’re interested in as to how hard your search will be. Different industries will be more or less competitive, and often at different times.
It can also be harder to find a job as a graduate if you’ve never job hunted before. The more jobs you apply to, the more used to writing applications, cover letters, doing interviews and even coping and learning from rejections you will become.
Graduates can find jobs through job websites, recruitment agencies, networking and with help through their university’s Careers department. If you’re struggling, get in touch with us.
The best place to look for graduate jobs will depend on the sector in which you want to work. You could try job listing websites such as Indeed, but if you have a particular company in mind that you want to work for, you could reach out directly.
If you’re looking to work for the NHS, you can use their website directly, for example.
You can gain experience during your university degree, but if you have no direct work experience, you can use skills learned during your course to advertise yourself. You can also use extra curricular activities and volunteer work on your CV.
If you have no experience, you might have to get an entry level job (which often require a degree level qualification) in the sector you’re interested in after graduating. You’ll then be able to gain experience and apply for higher level jobs in time.
The Careers department can help you get work experience during your time at university. Find out about jobs, placements and volunteering.
Get in touch with Careers for support with your graduate job search.