I’m Not a Student, Not yet an Employee
By Alex Hargreaves
Cue Britney Spear’s song for all awkward transitioning phases. The stage between full time student and full time employee is a prime example of this.
Whilst it is an exciting and proud moment when you walk up the stairs, clad in your black robe to except the shining piece of paper you worked ever so hard for, the period of time after this event can be one of uncertainty. In fact, it is not uncommon for students to dread the thought of graduating because of the unknown that follows. If you weren’t lucky enough to be accepted into a Graduate Program and have all of your job search fears and struggles taken away from you, be prepared to put in some serious effort to score the job you want. Here are some things that you can do to make progress in your job hunt and feel productive while you’re waiting to find out where your new life as a qualified human will take you
#1 Make Big Decisions and Set Goals to Achieve Them
After you graduate from university, there are many different pathways that you can take. You may be traditional and choose to head straight into the work force. You may feel like your quest for knowledge isn’t over yet and decide to pursue higher study. If you feel like you’re about to receive a qualification that isn’t going to allow you to work in a job you really want, higher study or study in another field may be the best option. You might even decide to do something crazy like travel the world, start your own business or run away to the circus. Whatever it is, now is the time for change and you need to start thinking about what option will bring you the most satisfaction. You also need to create a plan that is going to help you get there. For example, if it is your dream to work at KPMG, your first goal could be to create a first draft of your tailored resume and cover letter or to go out and meet someone who already works there. You should set little goals that set you up for bigger goals and tick off your achievements as you progress.
#2 Update your Wardrobe
Your wardrobe is probably full of comfy clothes that you could lounge around in the library in all day and feel happy and snug. If starting a career is number one priority post-graduation, say goodbye to hoodies and converse and hello to loafers and blazers. If you’re going to get the job of your dreams, you need to look the part. Even if your dream job requires you to wear a lab coat, you should still look professional for the job interview. Not to mention, dressing like you want a job will make you feel more confident and ready to take on the world.
#3 Go out and Meet People
You already know how crazy Careers and Employment Service are about networking. It is by far the most effective way to land a job. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 85% of all jobs are filled by networking. You can get the ball rolling by searching for associations which relate to your discipline of study. See when relevant associations are hosting events and make an effort to attend. If you are an accounting student, CPA Australia host many events which involve industry professionals talking to current students and new graduates about the steps they took to come into their current positions. Click here to find a list of professional associations affiliated with the industry you want to work in. Attending an event with a room of established professionals in your field is practically striking gold in the world of networking. It is also worth thinking about your pre-existing list of contacts. Do you already know someone who is employed in a company you want to work for? It could be worth calling them to catch up for coffee. Ask them important questions such as:
- How did you come to work at X company?
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
- What is the culture of the organization like?
- Do you hire many graduates/is there a graduate program?
You should also consider places where you have worked casually/part-time. Does that organisation also have graduate roles? If you know you did a good job as a part-timer/casual, think about a colleague you could call to enquire about progressing into a graduate position which is more suited to your newly qualified self.
#4 Update your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a form of professional networking in itself. Almost everyone who is anyone has a LinkedIn account, so it’s important that you do too. If you need some help signing up and creating a high quality profile, it is worth having a look at our LinkedIn E-module created by Careers and Employment service. Our E-module will provide you with all the information and advice you need to look hireable on LinkedIn. You can find this by logging into myGriffith > Learning@Griffith > Organisations > Griffith LinkedIn E-module.
#5 Don’t Stop Learning
The time between graduating from university and getting your first full time position is valuable and should not be wasted lounging on the couch, taking too many selfies or in nightclubs. This is a fantastic time to think about what comes next for you and what additional skills you can pick up to help get you there. If you are noticing that every advertisement for the type of job you want to work for requires some experience in that field, perhaps you can do some volunteer work of a similar nature that will get you over the line for required skills. If your dream job requires you to know something that you never learnt at university, search online and see if you can enrol in an e-class that will help to fill your knowledge gap. For students who are thinking about post-graduate study, go out and buy the textbooks you need and read up before classes even start. It is also a good idea to make use of your current skills and talents and create things which you can add to your portfolio. An impressive portfolio will give you an extra edge when you get called into a job interview.
Even though life after university may seem overwhelming and scary, get ready to leave the nest! There is a big wide world out there filled with opportunities waiting for fresh graduates to embrace them.