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A leaver’s guide to job hunting

Weronika ZBenning16 August 2016

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Image: Young Woman With Diploma, ABQ Museum Photoarchives

Just graduated? Congratulations. The world is now your oyster. But for a lot of recent leavers, moving on from UCL doesn’t come easy and can be more than a little daunting. Don’t forget that as a recent leaver, you now have access to our services via UCL Careers Graduates, our 2-year provision of continued 1-1 coaching, workshops and events to continue supporting you.

In the meantime, here are 5 key tips to kick start your job hunt and keep you motivated :

1. Think of job hunting as a job

Like most things in life, the more you put in to something, the more you get out of it. Job hunting takes time. Put in as many hours and as much energy as you would doing a job in order to get things moving and keep up your motivation. As well as looking for roles and making applications, do your research and keep up to date with industry news. An action plan can be a great way of structuring your time and giving you a sense of achievement when you can tick things off that you’ve done.

2. Connect with people

Opportunities can come from those you know and those they know, but the biggest source of opportunities are actually people you don’t know – YET! Join Linkedin and start connecting with people who might be in a position to help. Contact a UCL alumni careers mentor, go to conferences or events organised by industries you’re looking to work in. Engage with the industry by following companies through social media and get involved in discussions. Connecting with people is a great way to gain more knowledge of an industry – find out what the realities of the job roles are, any skills and knowledge required and what the big issues are that are likely to define the industry going forward. People love talking about themselves and what they do – just give them the opportunity! Once you’ve begun to connect and establish relationships, who knows where those conversations could lead! Remember, more people find jobs through ‘word of mouth’ than online job boards so make sure you spend some time thinking about how best to use connections.

3. Be visible

The more you let people know what you’re looking for and make them aware of what you can offer, the more likely you are to find opportunities. Don’t be afraid to speak to people both on and off-line about your job plans as they may be able to give valuable insight or pass on contacts or information you could use. An up-to-date and complete Linkedin profile is fast becoming a must for students and graduates to manage their online brand. Employers use social media as a way of advertising jobs so get connected by following recruiters and relevant job boards. Upload your biography with a link to your LinkedIn account, and start engaging with people in your chosen industry sector.

4. Target your applications

Keep your CV and cover letters relevant and targeted to individual opportunities. Employers continually tell us they’re put off by applications that are general and not specifically adapted to the roles that they’re recruiting for. Use the person specification as a guide to the evidence you need to provide and format your CV in a way that allows the recruiter to relevant information easily. Use Careerstagged, our online careers library to learn how to draft targeted applications and get a UCL Careers consultant to look over your CV, cover letters and draft application form answers in a 1-1 appointment.

5. Create a balance and stay positive!

Job hunting can be a full time job, and like any job, you need to take time out. Make time for exercise, relaxation and fun. Meeting people, eating healthily, exercising and doing things you normally enjoy are all ways to stay positive and avoid the job-hunt taking its toll. Feeling daunted by taking the next step, dealing with rejection and lack of structure to your day can be difficult at times but it’s essential to try and keep a positive mind-set in order to keep your motivation up. Remind yourself of all your positive skills, talk to family and friends to boost your confidence. Remember, lots of recent graduates will be in a similar situation- read our job hunting case studies from previous graduates describing how they tackled the transition on from UCL and see if there’s anything you can learn from the experience.

Best of luck.

By Dave Carter, Careers Consultant.

For other next steps, connect with other UCL Graduates about the job hunt via our dedicated UCL Careers Graduates Facebook and Twitter pages, and make sure you’re subscribed to UCLAlert! to receive the weekly Graduates newsletter.