1) Dig deep
Clearly this wasn’t the dream. You’re broke, living back at home and losing your confidence fast. But wallowing in the injustice of it all won’t help you get a job. Nobody wants to hire Eeyore. Do you want tea and sympathy — or do you want to discover how to get a graduate job in a recession? Then pull it together, people. A key shift to make is from reactive job hunting to proactive job hunting.
2) Believe there are jobs out there
Repeating and believing the ‘fact’ that there are no jobs out there is the number one factor that is holding you back in your quest to find work. You can’t succeed at something you don’t believe is possible. Recruiters tell us there are still jobs out there – and things are picking up. Remember, the advertised vacancies you’ve seen are just a fraction of what’s available. Life doesn’t stop in a downturn — people are still being promoted, going on maternity leave and transferring to jobs abroad. Who is going to fill the jobs they leave vacant?
3) Think beyond big graduate schemes
Batch-intake graduate schemes with big companies are only one kind of graduate opportunity out there — graduates often forget this because the major players (with the deepest pockets) pay huge sums of money to be the most visible on your radar. Small to medium-sized enteprises (SMEs — with up to 250 employees) also hire graduates. They just do it in fewer numbers, so paying for fancy adverts in national newspapers or stands at recruitment fairs doesn’t make financial sense. If you’re drawing a blank with the big graduate schemes, broaden your search.
4) Discover the ‘hidden’ job market
Did you know that most roles are never advertised? Get sleuthing to find them. Scour the pages of industry magazines (not just the generic job boards) and investigate each company’s own website — can you see a ‘Want to work for us?’ page? If not, you can still find out the right person to contact and email them your CV directly. Don’t be shy — many smaller companies actually hope you will do this. A fantastic candidate knocking on their door saves them a huge amount of time and money!
5) Understand recruiters
It’s tempting to imagine them with red devil horns but recruiters are people too — and the more you ‘get’ them, the easier it will be to impress them. For example, if you’re talking to a small business owner, asking for a permanent job can be a big turn-off if they’re still feeling nervous about the downturn. Asking about casual opportunities often yields better results. For more on this, see How to Understand Recruiters.