Congratulations, you are about to graduate from university.
But what now?
Leaving university and finding your first graduate role in Science is a daunting process. With so many opportunities out there, where do you start looking?
Moreover, once friends start receiving job offers and family start questioning you about your own future, the pressure really builds up.
A job might no longer be for life, but your first job is the first stepping stone for your career path, and not a decision to take lightly. After all, you do spend a third of your life at work, so choosing something that interests you and leads to your dream job is vital.
As a starting point, we suggest creating a simple 4-step job-finding strategy. This will help you stay focused and engaged, and give you the necessary space to make that all-important decision.
Step 1: Do your research
We know, this is easier said than done!
This initial step is all about research and finding out what options are available to you.
Popular dilemmas for graduating scientists are firstly whether to work in research or not, and secondly whether to work in academia or industry.
Additionally, apart from the obvious decisions regarding what role to choose, there are other factors to consider such as ‘where’ you wish to work – for example, would you consider a role abroad? And what kind of environment do you work best in – somewhere fast-paced or somewhere where you can take your time?
If you have done internships while working and have some working experience, answers to these questions might be clearer. If not, there are other ways to carry out research, such as:
A. Getting in touch with a recruiter
A good place to start is to speak to a specialist recruiter. Not only will they give you a better feel for the different jobs available to graduates, they will also take the time to mentor you.
Our recruitment consultants at CK have years of experience matching graduates to roles in the science industry, and therefore are best placed to give you credible advice. They will act as your guiding hand during the whole recruitment process, from looking for jobs to applying, and are here to answer all your questions during this daunting time.
B. Reaching out to your network
When searching for a job, you will most probably have been reminded of the old proverb “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. We would always recommend proactively engaging with your contacts to ask for advice, whether that be to better understand different roles or to ask if they know of any job openings. Most people are willing to discuss their careers, give advice and answer any questions.
C. Attending career fairs
Many universities will organise career fairs for their students. This is a brilliant opportunity to talk to experts in the industry, to get a feel for the different types of companies and roles available to you, and more importantly, to ask questions!
For more information read how to make the most of careers fairs.
Step 2: Start your applications
After your initial research, you should have a good understanding of the different roles available to graduates, and which of those roles interest you. And now it’s time to start applying.
The science job market is a very competitive job market, especially for recent graduates with little experience.
At this early stage in your career, the aim is to gain as much experience as possible, to build up to your dream role. With that in mind, we would suggest applying to as many opportunities as possible in the field that interests you. To avoid disappointment, remember to apply to jobs suitable to your level of experience and field of expertise.
To increase your chances of finding that ideal first job, our advice would be to not just look at opportunities close to home, but to also look further afield.
If you struggle to find job opportunities, get in touch with CK and we can help find those opportunities for you. This will help you from feeling overwhelmed.
Step 3: Tailor your application
So many people start their job search by updating their CV and resume. But without knowing which jobs you are applying for, this makes little sense.
Hiring managers and recruiters receive hundreds of applications for every graduate job, leaving them only a few seconds to scan each CV and resume. In this competitive job market, make yours count by tailoring it and keeping it succinct.
As well as thinking about your individual skills and experience, this means finding out more about the company and demonstrating an understanding of their business, their challenges and the broader sector in which they operate.
Step 4: Don’t give up
Rejections happen, especially when you are applying for a lot of jobs at the same time. Try not to get disheartened but instead think about why you might have been rejected, and how you can improve your application for the next job.
If you have made it past the first stages of the application, ask the hiring manager for feedback.
Applying for your first job is not easy, but remember, once you have found that dream graduate role, all that job-finding stress will be long forgotten about.
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