You’ve made it through university, and you’re ready to take on the world! Now what? Searching for your first graduate job in 2018 can be daunting. You may have bucket loads of enthusiasm, but how do you show that you’re the right person for the job?
As IT job experts, we know how overwhelming your first job hunt can be. To help you out, we’ve pulled together some tried and true techniques that will help you get the attention of your dream employer.
Here’s the inside scoop on how to land your very first IT graduate job in 2018:
Try Before You Buy
Before you start looking for your first job, it’s a good idea to dig deep and figure out what you want from your career – are you more technical, or creative? Do you prefer working on large-scale projects, or getting stuck in with critical everyday tasks?
Why not test the waters with an internship? Internships are a great way to get some experience under your belt, which can help make your graduate job search smoother. Many internships allow you to shadow people working in different departments, giving you the opportunity to see what a job really entails. There are plenty of organisations that run formal internship programs, like Summer Of Tech. A simple Google search will help you find the right one. While you’re at it, make a list of companies that you admire and get in touch with them directly. They might consider taking on a graduate recruit, especially if you showcase your eagerness to learn!
Do you know anyone currently working in an IT job? Having a conversation with someone in the field will give you some real-life insight into the IT industry. Ask for some pointers on how to get your foot in the door. If you’re lucky, may be able to point you in the direction of a company currently hiring graduates. A well-worded email can do wonders. A simple phone call or coffee catch-up is the perfect way to start expanding your professional network. Remember, prepare some thoughtful questions prior to your meeting, to show that you value their time.
Get The Paperwork Right
So, you’ve researched the industry and met with a few IT professionals. It’s time to craft a compelling CV and cover letter.
Writing a CV for a graduate job can be tricky if you don’t have any experience in the job or field that you’re applying for. While you may not have professional expertise in your field, there is plenty of other experience that you can showcase on a CV. For example, conducting research for your university studies proves that you are self-motivated and curious, which are highly desirable traits to have as a graduate.
Here are a few things to include in a graduate job CV:
- Personal statement: A personal statement is a great way to highlight who you are and why you are a great fit for the job. Reference any relevant experience you might have. Be sure to mention your career aspirations too.
- Education: You’ve just finished your studies, so talk about it! List which university you went to, what you studied, what grades you earned and any extracurricular activities you were involved in.
- Work experience: Share any work experience that you’ve had. Even if you’ve never had an IT job, if you worked part-time while you studied, you’ll have picked up transferable skills that could be of use. Highlight internships or any volunteer experience here.
- Interests: Employers want to know what you like to do outside of the 9 to 5 working day. Your hobbies interests will give them an indication of your personality, and how you might fit the company’s culture.
- Be sure to tailor each CV to the job that you’re applying for. Upweight different aspects of your previous experience and personal attributes, to best align with the skills mentioned in the job advert. For more tips on creating a great graduate CV, check out our 2018 easy CV fixes to take you from graduated to hired.
Finally, you’ll need a snappy cover letter to capture the attention of the hiring manager. This is where you can elaborate further on who you are, why you want the job and what you can bring to the team. It’s a great way to show that you’ve researched the company and that you’ll be a passionate addition to the team.
You’ve jumped through the job-applying hoops, and you’re heading to your first IT job interview. Woohoo! So, how do you make a good impression at a graduate job interview?
- Have an elevator pitch: When your interviewer asks “tell me about yourself”, have a compelling response prepared. It’s a very common interview question. Summarise who you are, your key skills, accomplishments and aspirations clearly and coherently. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a huge asset and a great way to sell yourself.
- Prepare for the questions: There’s no doubt about it – interviews can be nerve-wracking. Preparing for questions makes the process a lot less terrifying and gives you the opportunity to formulate meaningful responses. Have a look online for some common interview questions, and start practising with a friend. It may feel weird, but it will help you on the day. Many experts recommend the STAR method, which structures interviews answers around the situation, task, action and result. Try a few practice responses to make sure you’re comfortable before you ’re in the interview room.
- Research the company: This is a great way for you to show that you’re enthusiastic about their business, and proactive about learning more. Browse their website and social media platform to get a sense of what their business and offering is about.
- Have your own questions: An interview is a two-way street – while the interviewer is determining if you’re a good fit for the job and team, you should be doing the same. Make sure you have a good understanding of the team culture. Does the company have a culture you’d love to be a part of? Find out about the team’s ambitions and whether they provide training and career advancement opportunities. Having questions shows initiative and that you’re taking the interview seriously.
After your email, send a thank you email to the person that you met with. In the email mention why you’d be a good fit for the team and most of all, thank the interviewer for their time. This is also a good opportunity to address any objections you might have heard during the interview.