Sourced from Real Prospects, June 2012
Job hunting is about much more than the perfect CV. You also need to make the most of your opportunities and consider taking alternative routes to get to the career you want.
If you believe the media then there are no jobs. This is not true. There are jobs but you need to be realistic about the opportunities that are out there. To find out what is available, search graduate jobs.
Aiming to be CEO within a week is ambitious, it’s more likely you will be starting at the bottom. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and working your way up the ladder can actually give you a better insight into how a business operates, providing you with an opportunity to gain the respect of your colleagues and managers.
Try to make the most of any opportunities that come your way. So, if you want to work for a specific company in a particular role, consider applying for a different role and, once you’re in the company, you might be able to use your contacts to move internally.
If you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life or you are in pursuit of a specific job, make sure you are still doing something in the meantime. You need to keep yourself (and your brain) active plus, without good reason it’s difficult to explain to an employer why you have been doing nothing.
You’ve taken a job in an office but don’t see yourself working there forever - don’t be complacent. When you take a job you don’t really want in order to pay the bills you should still be professional and make the effort to go above and beyond your job description in order to gain valuable experience and get yourself noticed for the right reasons.
It’s also worth remembering that there is never only one route to your career goal. Look at alternative options and make sure you have a plan B; there is always another way to get to where you want to be.
Many people leave university with the intention of finding a permanent job but increasingly this isn’t possible. One option is temping which can provide you with valuable experience sometimes leading to a permanent position.
Other alternatives include freelancing which is common for a magazine journalist, or you could work several part-time jobs to build up a portfolio of skills. Self-employment can be a fantastic experience and, even if you move back into employment after a couple of years, it can still be a great way to gain valuable experience for your CV.
Ideally, you would get a job in the city of your choice, allowing you to stay near friends or family. However, this isn’t always possible as some areas are better for certain types of jobs than others e.g. renewable energy in Glasgow. To make the most of the opportunities that are available, you really need to be mobile - consider whether you could relocate to a different region of the UK or even abroad. If you do have to move to a different city, use our city guides to find out what it has to offer.
A degree is no longer sufficient on its own and needs to be combined with work experience and other qualifications and skills. Consider doing some short courses to improve your office skills. This will equip you with the basic administrative skills you’ll need to secure temporary work while you’re looking for jobs and will also stand you in good stead when you secure a permanent position.
It’s more important to be happy and have a healthy work/life balance than to stay in a job you thought you’d enjoy, but which makes you unhappy. Don’t be afraid to change direction and search for a new role.
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