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6 Job Search Lessons You Won’t Learn At University

Apparently, someone with a higher educational qualification can expect to earn £160,000 more over a working lifetime than someone with A-levels. But does a degree really guarantee a corporate job?

The job search process isn’t always a natural fit for ambitious graduates who expect results from a logical combination of education and effort. Getting your dream job often has nothing to do with intelligence – it is also equal parts luck and perseverance. To get you started on your job search, we’ve crafted 6 job search lessons you won’t learn at University.

1) Develop a marketable corporate persona:

Think of yourself as a publicist with the task of promoting you. Learn to capitalise on your skills, succinctly assert your achievements and project a corporate persona. Giulio Andreotti, seven times Prime Minister of Italy, used to say, “It is not important to be right; it is important that other people think you are right.” 

One mistake we see over and over again is candidates forgetting that their CV is a brochure. It should sell you, and your skillsets. If reading your resume is as exciting as reading your tax filings – you have a problem. Don’t just fill in that formulaic CV template Career Services gave you, spend time making it reflect your achievements!

2) Establish profitable relationships:

Let’s face it, business networking is the most valuable tool to gain information, increase your visibility in your field and make connections to help you move forward. In today’s environment, it is easier than ever to connect with professionals via online social networking sites. However, before you bombard CEOs with Friend Requests, get a plan together.

Do connect with professionals that are 2-3 years your senior. You’ll find they are more likely to empathize with your situation and are more willing to help. They may not be the final hiring manager, but they will know who to connect you with.

Don’t connect with your Dad’s classmates. They will ALWAYS meet with you (out of politeness), but will be too far removed from the positions you are qualified for.

3) Learn To Write Concise Emails:

Don’t write long winded emails. Period.

Instead, try:

Dear John,

My name is Sally Sue and I’m very interested in roles with Microsoft. I would like to ask for your help as a fellow graduate of Prestigious University. Can we have a 15 minute call to discuss your experiences as an employee at Microsoft. I’d like your advice on landing an interview.



4) First Impressions count:

Unlike the academic setting you are accustomed to, appearances matter in the corporate world. So please, get your suit dry cleaned, get a nice haircut, and look after your nails. You can let it all go back to a more comfortable look once you’ve got the job.

5) Stay motivated despite trying circumstances:

You will get told “No”. Often. Every day. Be prepared for this, and keep your cool. If you are like the typical job seeker, however long you think your job search will take, double it. Great, now add 4 weeks. Maybe we’re being a bit dramatic, but the point is – plan on being active in your job search for at least 6 month.

6) Use Career Services:

Look, your University’s Career Services group has every reason to want you to get a job. But, they have to look after EVERY graduating student – so don’t waste their time. Always approach your career services staff with respect, and ask them what you can do for them. For example, do they need help setting up for upcoming events? If you have an attitude that allows both parties to win, you’ll be more effective at eliciting co-operation and getting what you both want you to get – a job.

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