Getting a job and standing out to employers can be daunting. Here are a few quick tips to help you to get a graduate job, taken from our webinar with Kabir Bali from Jumpstart – the UK’s only start-up graduate programme.
How to write your CV
How to get work experience & build up your CV
How to smash your interviews
How to write a CV ✍
Writing a CV is the first step in securing a job. Think of a CV as a shop window: it’s the first impression an employer will get of you, and it’s good to stand out.
A CV structure is pretty straight forward and it should include: any work experience, education and qualifications (including any courses you’ve done outside of traditional education), extracurricular activities and anything else you think it’s important for them to know.
How to make your CV stand out:
Keep your CV short – one page is all you need. Employers receive loads of CVs and are pressed for time, so make sure what’s important jumps straight out at them. Bullet points are often used to get the essential info across.
Keep it simple – for most roles, black and white, without graphics or pictures, is best. Any extra details might detract from the important info you want an employer to see. When applying for creative roles, some design and colour will help you stand out, but if you are unsure, keep it simple.
Lead with the big stuff! – put key skills and anything you really want an employer to see near the top. This will vary for each role you’re applying for: think about what skills and traits the employer is looking for and match your CV up with that. Reverse chronological order (where you put your most recent experience first) is a good rule of thumb when laying out your CV. But if you know a particular experience will stand out a lot to the employer, definitely put this first.
Focus on the outcomes – it’s not about what you did, but what you have achieved! Try to include a few achievements and add measurable metrics to demonstrate the impact you’ve made.
Getting work experience & building up your CV 💥
So you’ve got your CV sorted – but is it looking a bit bleak on the work experience side of things? Well, let’s see how you can secure some extra experience to get you closer to securing that dream job of yours. 💫
Depending on what you’re looking for, here are some places to look for companies offering work experience:
Bright Network: as well as personalised job recommendations, there is an online learning environment to help you develop key career skills.
Crunchbase: if you’re looking for experience in startups, Crunchbase is a great directory of all things tech. Once you find some companies that look interesting to you, reach out to the founders, or managers, on LinkedIn and ask if they are open to having a work experience student.
Nobody is expecting you to have loads of experience when you’re still a student/if you’ve just graduated. They’re looking for potential, which can come through in lots of things you do outside of work, too.
Extracurricular activities are a really good way of showcasing skills you have and things you’ve learned. There are loads of skills you can get from these, including teamwork and problem-solving.
For extracurricular activities, aim to take on a leadership position at some point. This is a way to demonstrate clear impact and dedication, rather than just having signed up for a club. For four other ways to invest in yourself and give yourself an edge, check out this blog.
When looking for CV-enhancing experience, try to broaden your options as much as possible. There’s no need to pick between volunteering and work placements, for example. Both are great and will allow you to learn and develop in different ways.
Interview tips 🎤
A job interview will make anyone nervous, no matter how many years of experience they have under their belt! But with a bit of practice and preparation, you’ll be acing those conversations like a pro.
Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes – rather than thinking about what you want to talk about, try to imagine what the interviewer would want to hear from you and play towards this. The job description can help a lot with knowing what they’re looking for.
Show don’t tell – try not to use clichés. Instead, if you’re gonna say you’re passionate about something, make sure you have at least one bit of evidence to back this up e.g. if you say you’re passionate about financial wellbeing (as we are), it would be great if you could point to a blog you wrote, or a work experience you’ve done with a company focusing on this area (like us).
Use everyday English – there’s no need to overcomplicate what you say in an interview. Speak as you would in a normal conversation. Chucking in big words can make it less clear what you’ve achieved and why you’re going to be a great employee.
Following these tips will allow you to get a lot closer to finding and getting the graduate job you want, which in turn will improve your long-term financial wellbeing. 💸 Good luck!
In the meantime, why not try to make some more money alongside your studies? Here are five great ways to do that.