1 Feb 2022

5 Career tips for new grads

As a new or soon to be a university graduate, it’s no surprise that the idea of work can catch you unawares. So having some tips on career progression as a new grad is something that is set to help you going forward from the lecture halls to office walls.

Before we get started, a good idea would be to take those road signs back, start eating breakfast before 11 am and stop ordering all your meals from Deliveroo.

It’s safe to say that finding your first job as a new grad is as the kids from Oxford would say daunting. And in fairness, they are right. It is a daunting task at the best of times, even more so in today’s challenging and yet unpredictable economic climate. So to cover all bases we have put together 5 career tips for new grads to help get you started out of your mum and dads spare room… that stop being your room a long time ago!

Career tip 1: Consider taking an “Entry-level job”
It is safe to assume that obtaining an entry-level job is almost like having one foot in the company’s door in climbing up the corporate ladder. At their basic, an entry-level job allows a new grad to gain experience while getting paid.. Talk about pleasing mum and dad and showing them that that degree in Liberal Arts wasn’t a complete waste of time!!! These jobs are vitally important in organisations, as those working in entry-level roles to help the company accomplish necessary work that more experienced personnel don’t have time to (or simply don’t want to) do. So, the necessary job requirements for these positions are designed for an individual who is in the learning stages of their career… case in point – a new graduate fresh-faced from university.

There are many benefits for new grads starting out their careers in an entry-level role. This is because an entry-level job allows you to gain experience in a new field. It lets you learn the day-to-day workings of the company you are working for and understand better how their industry works.

But most importantly everyone has to start somewhere and these positions are often the first step to a long and rewarding career.

As a new grad in an entry level role, the opportunity for advancement within the company is also an advantage in your favour. Quite often, employers prefer to hire from within their company as new, more skilled and experienced positions open up. So, as a new grad, it is important to start with a good attitude and work ethic and become the hiring managers’ first choice.

Career tip 2: Alternative: Find an internship or a graduate scheme

If you are a new grad, then you should probably know how difficult the entry-level job market is and is made even harder if you have graduated without any work experience. But in case your career adviser failed to let you know, you can still do an internship even after you have graduated. A good idea, especially for those who have no work experience, to landing a full-time job later.

As a new grad, don’t be put off by the myth that internships are only for current students… because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes companies and organisations develop internship programs especially aimed at new grads from university. On Magnet.me there are companies posting internships specifically for new grads all the time! For example, companies like Lawson Conner and KPMG.

If there are no options of available internships at the time of your graduation, then make up your own internship. No, that doesn’t mean making up a fake internship to tell your parents about, but actually networking and seeking out contacts to obtain an internship at a company that best matches your interests and career progression regarding the industry.

An internship might not be your first choice for employment after graduation. However, in this job market may be your best chance at getting in real work experience early on in your career and building connections that could lead to further employment later on.

Graduate scheme:
A graduate scheme is a crafted programme designed purposely to take new grads, fresh from university leavers and mould them for a position in the company during a set period of time. On Magnet.me, there are graduate schemes posted every year form company based in London and the Netherlands in companies like AlphaSights, Dentons and EY.

If a graduate scheme is something you are considering doing, the first thing you must ensure you have is a degree. As a new grad that is surely one box ticked from the job spec.

A true(ish) verdict on graduate schemes is that they set you up for life. Despite it only being for a set of time, most schemes are kept on by the company if they aren’t a complete trainwreck (no offence).

If a graduate scheme is something you are thinking about taking on then check out our guide article on all things graduate scheme and traineeships for our Dutch readers.

Career tip 3: Expand your search
There’s no denying it – searching for a job really is a full-time job in itself and unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier as you get older.

If after graduation you are feeling like you are going around in circles and getting nowhere with it, then it is time to take a different approach. As a new grad, it can be helpful to take a step back and really think about your approach before bashing out the job applications.

For graduate job seekers, it is important to not think in terms of ticking the boxes and meeting the criteria that an employer is looking for.

Applying for jobs is about really selling yourself to potential employers – standing out from the crowd. This is often overlooked by students who search for jobs by dropping impersonal CVs and covering letters into high street retail stores and bars.

How you handle the application process is a reflection of the kind of employee you are. Come across like you are not putting in any effort and it won’t impress anyone. Most importantly, Don’t let failed applications knock your confidence too much. Remember that saying ‘survival of the fittest’? Well, that applies even to the job market too.

Finally, Make sure that you are exploring all options. Start with a broader search where you check what kind of internships are out there in London. Then narrow it down to what particularly interests you. Magnet.me has all kinds of opportunities so you can luckily find supply chain internships, project management internships, marketing internships, engineering internships and more, but also accounting graduate schemes, finance graduate schemes, HR graduate schemes and many more.

Career tip 4: Consider relocating and finding an international job or internship abroad

So, interested in working abroad after graduation, but not exactly sure how it works? Like most other graduates, the idea of seeking out opportunities abroad is something every new grad wants and for a good reason. But quite often, this never happens for most because their bank account is killing their vibe.

It’s important to understand that most companies are global and there are opportunities everywhere. Jobs are diverse and range across industries, so when it comes to finding the best ways to work abroad, there’s always a way. Whether you are looking for ways to work abroad as a new grad straight out of university, having a mid-career shift or just exploring your options casually in your 50s, it’s never too late to make working abroad work for you. So, it’s important to understand this if, like most new grads, it’s just not visible quite yet.

Career tip 5: Update and polish your CV
Are you the type of new grad that only dust up their CV once a deadline is looming? Well, that’s not exactly a good idea. It’s easy to forget all the great achievements you have made over the years of your studies, therefore not updating your CV regularly is not doing you as a graduate job candidates annnnyyyy justice!

Refreshing your CV on a regular basis will allow you to:

Respond quickly to unexpected job opportunities as they open up
Post your CV onto databases on a speculative basis
Remind yourself of what you have to offer
Helps identify issues with your career development such as gaps in experience or a need for more training.
Below are our 8 steps needed to refreshing your CV, so that you are ready to take the graduate recruitment market head-on:

Update your current role
Draft a new profile
Tailor to your career aspirations
Edit your earlier career experiences (part-time work, internships, etc)
Keep your education and qualification to date
Add all volunteering experience and indeed interests
Refresh your online profiles
Add your CV to databases that best help in your job search
So relax! The easy part is over… now the hard part of finding and sustaining a job awaits you.