Recent statistics have shown that each entry level job vacancy advertised in Australia has an average of 20 university graduates competing for the position. In fact, an article published by The Conversation stated that it takes the average Australian graduate approximately 4.7 years after leaving uni to find a full time job. With scary statistics like this, it’s best to start thinking about your future career options well ahead of your graduation date. However, if you were having so much fun living up #studentlife that you forgot about the finding a job part at the end of the road, there are still practices you can put into place post-graduation to demonstrate to employers that you are a stand out candidate.
Build on your Soft Skills
Heading toward your graduation, it might be too late to turn your GPA into a 7.0 or to complete a 6 month internship in your desired field. However, it’s definitely not too late to start working on your soft skills. Many employers look for soft skills in candidates that demonstrate compatibility with the company’s culture and the ability to liaise well with their existing client base. Soft skills can be likened to favourable personality traits, personal attributes and relationship building abilities. Common soft skills sought out by employers include:
- Communication skills
- Problem solving
- Conflict resolution
- Time management
- Team work
To find out which soft skills you may need to work on, you can ask friends or family members which attributes they think you already display and which ones you need to work on. You could try putting yourself in situations where you would need to display the soft skills you are currently lacking, and approach those situations in a different way than you usually would.
Get business cards and a LinkedIn profile
If you’re applying for professional jobs, in 2018 a LinkedIn profile is an absolute must have! You may not have a great deal to list in your past work experience section, but at the very least, you can write about an intern/volunteer position, a casual baby-sitting gig or work you have done for a friend/family member’s business. If you have absolutely no previous work experience, it’s still worth making a profile to showcase your education and a personal mission statement describing what you want to achieve in your career. If you need advice on building the profile, visit our LinkedIn E-Module for advice. You can also make an appointment with one of our Career Consultants for feedback on your existing LinkedIn profile if it’s not bringing you any results.
Business cards are another fantastic way to showcase yourself as a potential candidate. Instead of listing a job position, you can title yourself as ‘aspiring ……’ (the blank is to be filled by your preferred job title). You can check out the following sites that allow you to order business cards for a cheap price:
Have an interesting resume
These days, you can get a lot more creative than your typical A4 cover letter and resume created through Microsoft word. In fact, if you are looking for a job in Graphic Design, Advertising, Digital Marketing or any field which requires you to be particularly creative, an old school resume just won’t cut it.
A video resume can be an awesome way to stand out to employers and provide a more complete picture of who you are as a person, why you want to work for the company and how your previous work experience is relevant to the role you are applying for. Mark Leruste has a particularly great example of how to construct an impressive video resume:
If you are unsure about your resumes current ability to market you as an outstanding candidate, submit it online for review by our Career Consultants. Submit now!
Show that you are passionate and aware of your industry
During busy periods at university, it’s easy to get locked into ‘study mode’ and become completely out of touch with everything happening in the world outside of your university bubble. It’s important to try to break the bubble, and stay up to date with current news and trends in your industry. You can do this by subscribing to Google alerts for a particular company you are interested in working for, or subscribing to a related podcast or blog with information about your industry sector.
Staying attune to current events related to your field will give you topics to talk about at networking events, and will make you seem knowledgeable and passionate in job interviews. The more you know about your industry, the easier it will be to answer questions that are thrown at you during your future interviews.
Be open to any opportunity
As a new graduate, it’s best to be flexible with your career. If you are offered a job that is aligned to your goal but not exactly what you were hoping for, take it! An average job will always look better on your resume than a big gap. Depending on your commitments and situation, it’s also a good idea to open yourself up to the idea of relocation. The personal growth opportunities that you would get from starting a new job in a new city are endless! Not to mention, the tough competition of the current graduate job market could mean that you will have to move to get the job you really want, and it’s best to be mentally prepared for that change.
While the ability to be flexible is awesome, never settle for unfair work conditions, illegal pay, or poor treatment from your employer. Be flexible on your career choice and hold firm on your personal boundaries. You can access Fair Work Australia to stay aware of your rights as an Australian employee.
If you are graduating soon or just generally interested in finding out more about employers in your field, check out the GradAustralia E-books, available now!