Job-hunting Problems 101

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Securing a graduate job can be tough at the best of times. In a global pandemic, it’s even harder. Whilst we sympathise, job hunting problems can nearly always be boiled down to 5 simple issues and there is help at hand for each and every one of them.


#1. Can’t find jobs to apply for

This is currently a particular challenge. However, graduate jobs are still being advertised and paradoxically, many are receiving fewer applications as many candidates have either given up looking or decided to opt for postgraduate study. 

To make sure you are in the best position to find relevant jobs:

  • Find the job boards that meet your needs. For some, this will be the big national job boards and for others, it will be south west specific job boards. The most savvy candidates will use both. 
  • Set up email alerts for all the job boards that have jobs of interest - many candidates don’t bother and consequently, miss out. 

#2. Applying but not getting shortlisted

This suggests an issue with your application, and, if you are willing to follow guidance and take advice, it’s easily fixed. 

To improve your application:

  • Make sure you focus on you skills and not your activities. Use Occumi to identify and articulate the skills you developed on your degree course.
  • Get a free CV review from you university careers service, or, if you went to school, sixth form/college and university in the south west, from us, under the GradTalent Recruitment Agency project.

#3. Getting interviews but not job offers

This suggests a problem with your interview technique.

You can improve this by:

  • Taking heed of the plethora of online advice (although choose your source wisely!)
  • Requesting assistance from your career service
  • If you went to school, sixth form/college and university in the south west, and get invited to interview for a GradTalent Development Agency vacancy advertised on Gradsouthwest, ask us for 1-2-1 interview coaching

#4. Loads of knowledge and skill but no experience

This is a common one for new graduates.

Bridge the experience gap by:

  • Taking a job that isn’t your ‘forever’ job but will provide you with good experience in your chosen area
  • Looking for a paid graduate internship 

#5. Lack of contacts / networks 

This is harder to crack, and arguably the most unfair, but in many instances, you can build networks by:

  • Asking your careers service about mentoring schemes or investigating mentoring schemes in your chosen profession 
  • Doing a paid graduate internship in your chosen field
  • Taking a job that isn’t your ‘forever’ job but will provide you with new professional networks
  • Using social media - and particularly LinkedIn - to forge new networks
  • Using local groups to develop new contacts - most sectors and professions have events you can join - find them on social media and go along
  • Joining an professional association - most have events for early career professionals

And finally…

We say there are five key problems but sadly, some challenges, such as discrimination, can be more complex to identify and overcome. If you believe you have faced discrimination in your quest for a graduate job, contact your careers service, trade union or Citizens Advice for specialist advice and support.

We wish all graduate candidates good luck in securing a great job in a tough market….