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The WHY, WHAT and HOW of getting a Grad job

by Natasha Barrow at theScienceGrad

For any past and future graduates this article is for you. In this article we discuss why you might be getting rejected from job opportunities, and how to get something out of every rejection…

You’ve just graduated from University during a global pandemic. Final year was stressful enough, completing your dissertation and exams online. You’ve had to move back home and now you’re getting rejected from every job you apply for. What do you do?

1. WHY: Why am I getting rejected?

There are various stages of the recruitment process, but the most common stage to get rejected is the first one (i.e. CV and Cover Letter). It actually got to the point where I stopped writing cover letters, because what’s the point putting in the effort when you’re probably going to get rejected anyway? WRONG, very bad attitude. The Cover Letter shows your personality, it tells them why you are interested, what your motivations are. As a graduate, with relatively little experience, to employers this can be one of the most important parts. It can show your motivation and your work ethic. Think about it…if you are applying for an entry level job you will be receiving some type of training to develop the skills they are looking for. If you demonstrate in your cover letter you have: 1. Read the job description and understand what they are looking for. 2. Are motivated, hard working and will do your best at any task you are given…why wouldn’t they employ you, …right?!

2. WHAT: What are you applying for?

If you have just graduated from University, even if you have a 1st Class Honours, chances are you won’t be getting a job earning £50K+. I know sad. Target your applications to realistic job roles, then once you have a bit of experience under your belt, have another look around and see what’s out there. I’m NOT saying don’t apply for any higher wage jobs. If you see a job with a higher wage, which you really like and think you would be a good fit for, still apply, don’t self-reject. But don’t overreach for every job application. Apply for some targeted at graduates, maybe some with less experience needed, and some with more. That way you are covering all basis, and are therefore, hopefully, more likely to be employed.

3. HOW: How do I stay motivated?

I don’t think I have ever met someone that hasn’t been rejected from a job at some point in their lives. So, remember, it’s not just you. Everyone gets rejected and it can be frustrating when you have the right skills, motivation and you have put X amount of hours into an application. But try to learn something from every rejection, then act on it. For example; has the rejection email come from an automated account, or a personal email from someone in the HR department? If it’s from an actual person, email them back, ask them for feedback (which they probably will say they can’t give), then ask them for advice. Even if they don’t give you anything, add them on LinkedIn. Now if you apply for another job with the same company, you could contact them and ask to speak to someone in the department to learn more about the job role. Through this persistent (probably annoying?!) action, you are encouraging them to remember you. Believe it or not, this persistent, proactive attitude is something that is sought after in every working environment

The truth is, it takes time. You don’t normally get your dream job straight away and you might not even know what your dream job is. But keep going, create opportunities for yourself, be persistent and stay proactive.

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