Friday, 20 January 2017

How To Get The Grad Job You Want

When I started university it was promoted as the thing you had to do in order to get to where you wanted to be. Studying for three years taught me a lot about the industry I wanted to be in but not much about how to get my foot in the door, which is one of the most difficult parts. Now I've been through the motions I thought I would help some of you prepare or maybe encourage you to adapt your strategy.

The Role

I think one of the first things to look at it is the job you would like. It can be hard when put on the spot to know exactly what you want to do. When I think back to the amount of times it changed through secondary school I can't help but have sympathy for those who are still feeling a lost. It can be so daunting making such a big decision so young and with the added pressure you can end up burying your head in the sand. I would recommend writing down your likes and dislikes as it can really help you visualise what you are aiming for and what you don't want. Your passions often lead you to your strengths and those are what will become your USP. I used to look back at my feedback from projects to help with this! For example I know my strong points are creativity, digital media and general people/communication skills, and on the flip side I'm not so good at maths or public speaking in big crowds. Doing this task with friends or family could be useful if your struggling, sometimes they know you better than you know yourself. You can use this information to search for roles and reading job specifications to see how many skills required match what you can offer. I find asking help from a career advisor can be beneficial as there are so many careers out there you may not even know about.

I also want to add in here that it is okay to not get your dream job right away. Only on a rare occasion would you come out of education and walk straight in to what you wanted. There will mostly likely be one or two things that aren't your favourite things to do, however the rest of the role sounds ideal. You'll still have to start at the bottom in assistant roles and work your way up, but you'll be better for it. Plus there is a whole heap of grads and experienced peers going for the same role, it takes time. Patience and determination is required. It took me 6 months but it was worth the wait.

Who You Know

If like myself you have the opportunity to complete work experience, stay in contact. I cannot tell you or express how much I regret not doing this when it came to graduating. Trust me when I say who you know is important in every industry but certainly in fashion. Recommendations from colleagues or reputable companies could be the push you need to get to the next level. As credible as a degree is, unfortunately its no longer enough to secure you the role you wish. Interning, shadowing, or working part-time in the industry is a great way to open doors and expand the opportunities on the horizon. Plus I think it's a great way to test the water and see if the job is as you had hoped.

Once you've landed the internship and hopefully settled in to a more comfortable place, ask the team you are working with how they got to where they are. I find this truly fascinating! It proves there is no one route to success and can help settle your mind. Take note and pay attention to what they say as there could be something useful. They might still have contacts at previous companies they have worked for etc and could help you land your next internship or maybe even something permanent. If you work hard, stay focused and commit to doing your best you will be rewarded.
Where To Work

I think where you want to work can often be dismissed but is crucial to achieving job satisfaction. When looking for jobs think back to that list of characteristics and try and match them with the company you are applying for. If your morals are similar to the brand, then you both want and are working towards the same thing. In the bigger picture that means your more likely to settle there as you are surrounded by like minded people which will leave you feeling much more fulfilled. I think it can be important to have a variety on your CV in terms of showing how you can apply your skills to different sectors. However you can also go for one market and specialise in that area completely. The decision is yours and you'll know when you've found the perfect match.

How To Stand Out

Once you have found a path, you need to stick to it (not forever but at least for now). If you are applying for three completely different roles at one company, you'll confuse them. Employers want to hire someone who knows what they are doing and what they want. Tailor your cover letter and CV to the industry you are applying for, ensuring you are showing your knowledge and expertise in this specific area. If what you provide doesn't match what they are looking for you will struggle to even get an interview. You only have approximately three sheets of paper to impress them so use it. 

It can be difficult to make you application different, I personally have a creative CV which has all the important information but in a much more playful layout. The branding matches that of my blog which is a reflection of myself and helps my personality to shine through.

Thirdly, Research, research, research. Once you have that interview you want to know the role and company like the back of your hand. Don't just regurgitate words off the internet add your own spin and personal touch. For me when applying for my current role, I spoke about a purchase I made with them, how it made me feel and why that sparked my interest with the company. When telling the story I was able to feed in some key company information as well as making my response personal and hopefully captivating. Knowing the company is standard but the role even more so. The interviewers are going to throw words with possibly some jargon in there to see how you react and note if you actually have any clue what you are talking about, so make sure you do. The key thing to remember is don't worry if it doesn't work out, use it as an experience and move on to the next one. Always ask for feedback and make sure next time you spend a little bit longer on that to ensure next time it doesn't hold you back. You got this!
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I hope my tips helped and wishing you all the best of luck in your careers!


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