When you’re fresh out of university, the future often looks bleak. Graduate jobs are hard to come by, and when they do, there’s more applicants than there are for the company vacancy. It’s a frustrating time for sure, but you need to trust that you’ll get by with your degree in hand.
It shouldn’t be used as a bartering tool to get you hired.
It’s only applicable to the companies who need your skills and expertise. That’s not always going to be where the work is, and sometimes you have to make career sacrifices before you get to use that degree.
The wrong mindset that you’re too valuable to be doing some type of work can be a hindrance to your career, so you should never let your degree stand in the way of your employability.
When you’re applying to any job vacancy, an employer wants to know two main things.
The experience indicates your employability, like whether you can be trusted to turn up for work, and your current reference is proof that you can be trusted in a job. It doesn’t have to be the same work experience as every job requires certain aspects that fall under the category of “transferrable skills.”
Communication, team-working abilities, meeting deadlines, computer skills etc. All of these can be applied to a multitude of skills employers are looking for. While you may have the skills to do them, without the work, you don’t have the work experience as proof of applying those skills into the workplace.
As long as you get a wage, you’re being paid for your skills, and that’s a benefit to prospective employers. It puts the ball in your court because you’ve already been on the job, gained the experience and now you’re offering your professional services to a new company, with your reference as proof of your capabilities.
When you’re using the advice in step one above, to take any job that puts a wage into your bank account, never give up the hunt for new opportunities.
Don’t fall into the job security category. The instant you feel secure in a job, up your game and think about the consequences of not using your degree. Don’t let it go to waste by selling your skills to the lowest bidder, when there are people willing to pay you for the skills you learned at university.
When you take on any job to bring a wage in, use it as a temporary stepping stone into your ideal career. View it as on the job experience, which is why you’re selling your services – to gain transferrable skills, and the current employer reference.
In your spare time, lunch hour, or commute…be on the lookout for new opportunities. When you see a job that’s a step up or brings you more of a challenge than your current job, submit an application. When a job comes up that matches your dream job, you’ll have gained more experience in the application processes, and interviews, which will help you perform better at the job interview that really matters to you.
Getting yourself into the application process of any job role, is the only way you’ll get performance experience at employer pre-selection screening and real life interview experience. That’s going to really help your nerves when your dream job does surface.
If you’re put off by not wanting your current employer to know you’re looking elsewhere, just state that on the cover letter of your applications. *Current reference conditional upon job offer
Don’t dismiss an opportunity because it has a limited term contract on it. A 6-month contract can be a 6-month period to show your new employers how diverse a worker you are. That can create new career opportunities, but you have to risk it to gain the rewards.
You may find it a step up from your current job, but it comes with the disadvantage of a limited time contract. When that time is up, there may be a new opportunity to slot in a higher position, or just an extension to your contract.
When you can prove your value first hand to employers, they will do what they can to retain your services. Hard working, skilled staff can be rare for a business owner, so they find someone; they will do what they can to retain them.
When there isn’t any need for your services to continue, it’s still not always the end of the road. You’ve made new contacts, and that could put in touch with another company, or recruitment agency looking for someone with your skills.
Your CV is your best friend that will introduce you to prospective employers, but you have to nourish it throughout your career.
Your career is like you – it’s a work in progress. You’re always learning new skills, developing relationships, and meeting new people that help you into new jobs, gaining more work experience along the way.
All of that is information that prospective employers need to know. Everything you do in life, be it paid work, voluntary work, or some freelancing work on the side, should be updated to fill up your CV. When it seems to get long, cut it down by tailoring what you’ve done to progress in your career.
Include the most relevant work history to the vacancy you’re applying for, and just mention on your cover letter…You’ve cut out some career slots from your CV as they didn’t pertain the job specifications.
All of which, of course…you’ll be only too happy to discuss in person. (open invitation to an interview)
You don’t want to be stuck in a five-year rut doing a job you hate. If it really becomes so difficult to find a job, you really want to be doing, be open to forgetting employers and employing yourself.
There’s a magnitude of things you’ll learn in life.
People skills being one of the most important factors in business of any sort. The more you develop those, along with your work experience, the better you’ll be able to adopt the business mindset. The steps above are going to require consistency, and that’s the mindset you need to be your own boss.
If you really want to use that new degree, put it to your own benefit, and start working for yourself. Opportunities don’t always come your way, but you do have the power to create your own opportunities.
It does take risk, but so long as that’s an intelligent risk, it may be what you need to jump-start the career you’ve been aspiring to reach. Actions are what make things happen and the approach above is action based and will give you plenty of opportunity to expand your reach, and gain employment or open up business opportunities for you.
Whatever choice you make; it is only you who can drive your career in a direction that’s right for you.