Career action plan: How to navigate the graduate job search

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Completing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree is a huge achievement – congratulations!

After graduation, you may be turning your focus towards your employment prospects, beginning the (often arduous) process of job searching.

Realistically, securing a graduate job can take some time.

Depending on your field of interest and the climate surrounding employment, finding the right role can be a tricky task. Especially if you are looking for a job with high salary.

With this in mind, it is really important to have a tangible plan of action when it comes to your job search post-graduation.

In this blog, we will explore the tools needed to navigate graduate life and maintain a positive mindset during the job search process.

If you’d like to write for our student and graduate blog competition and gain valuable copywriting experience, get in touch below.


What if you don’t know what you want to do for a career?

Expert career advice

If you are unsure about your next steps, get some career advice!

The UK government has a National Careers Service that not only has some valuable information but also enables you to speak one-to-one with an expert adviser or use their WebChat service.

The Give A Grad A Go website also has a surplus amount of career resources dedicated to helping you figure out what path is right for you – there’s even a career test that looks at:

  • The benefits of working in each industry
  • The most common job roles for graduates
  • The average starting salary
  • Graduate gender representation for each sector


Take the career test now!



When trying to figure out what kind of job would best suit you, it is a good idea to explore your past achievements and future aspirations.

Take some time to analyse your achievements, write them down and note the transferable skills you gained. You may find it helpful to write down how you feel about your achievements too.

Doing this can really help you gain a sense of your current positioning and understand whether there is a correlation in the kinds of skills you have attained and the kinds of things you enjoy.

This introspection can then take the lead when it comes to your job search – explore careers that fall in line with your skillset and interests rather than job title.

Introspection can also be helpful when it comes to identifying your shortcomings in terms of skills.

If you realise you are lacking skills or work experience in a certain area, participating in relevant volunteer work or internships is a great way to swiftly combat this.

Further, volunteering can be a great way to gain experience in what you’re interested in, build a rapport with potential colleagues and gain industry insights that will help to shape your job search process.


How do you begin the job-hunting process?

Get your CV out there

Register and upload your CV to job listing sites such as LinkedIn and Give a Grad a Go, as well as signing up to your university’s jobs board.

Make sure to sign up to any relevant job alerts subscriptions – you can always unsubscribe if it becomes unnecessary at any point.

If you need to brush up your graduate CV, check out our CV hub for a range of CV tips and free templates to download!

Be proactive when sending your CV out; tailor your CV and application to each specific job role and company.

Make sure the right experience and any additional educational background are all listed.

It is obvious to recruiters if you have taken the time to research the role and the company you are applying to – your passion and dedication will help to set you apart.

TOP TIP! If you haven’t received a response to your application (and you really want that job) send a follow up message and try to establish a relationship with the recruiter.

Even if you are unsuccessful, this is a great way to expand your network.


Build your network

The job search process is the perfect opportunity to create new connections, whilst taking advantage of the connections you already have.

A wise person once said “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Let your network know what your current situation is; promote your skills and availability whilst building on the rapport of your pre-existing relationships.

If done so in a polite manner, there’s nothing wrong with asking the relevant people in your network for advice and/or sending them your CV.

It is also important to build on your current network and boost your personal brand through sites such as LinkedIn.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry peers and experts. Take some time to find professionals who have been in a similar situation to yourself and whose current position is your future goal.

If done in a polite and respectful manner, there is nothing wrong with taking a chance and asking for some guidance.

Who knows what could happen? The worst outcome is that they won’t reply or will say no – but you’d be pleasantly surprised by how many people do want to share their insights!


How do you stay motivated when job searching?

  • The job search can often feel very monotonous. Developing a consistent daily routine can really ground you firmly in place.

    Everyone’s routine will be different. It may involve waking at 7am, meditating for 20 minutes, making a coffee whilst listing the days tasks and working through them one-by-one.

    As long as your routine enables you to be productive and full of energy, it doesn’t really matter what shape it takes!

    Whilst consistency is important, it’s also important to factor breaks into your routine.

    It is not healthy to be staring at a computer screen 24/7, and it certainly won’t keep you motivated.

    Like the rest of your routine, your breaks can take whatever form enables you to maintain a positive mindset.

    However, getting some physical activity in during your breaks is a top idea. It’s been shown in one study that people (employees) who are happiest are 13% more productive than their counterparts.

    Physical activity is one such way that you can increase your serotonin (happy) levels and incorporating that into your daily routine could help you be more upbeat whilst you’re on that career search.

    Job searching can be tedious – go and have fun every so often! You’re allowed to.

  • A part-time, temporary or fixed-contract job (preferably in your area of interest) whilst you continue to search for the job that really gets you up in the morning is a great way to build skills and experience throughout your job hunt.

    Though this may not be ideal, this may be the realistic option and the path that many graduates take.

    In addition, when searching for a graduate job, try not to be too narrow in your search.

    It is important to remember that the average person doesn’t stay in the same line of work their whole life – your career will change and develop.

    Therefore, it is wise to aim for jobs that offer the right transferrable skills, valuable experience and industry insight, rather than the ‘perfect’ title or role.

    Do what you can to keep moving forwards.

    By adopting a broader mindset, you will open yourself up to a variety of opportunities that will guide you on your career path – even if it’s not the straight line you first imagined!

  • The graduate job search can be tough. Make sure that you are telling yourself positive affirmations everyday.

    It is important to remember that there are lots of graduates in the same situation as yourself, who feel how you feel – you are not alone!

    When you acknowledge this, it can help you to feel more content in your struggle to find a job postgraduation.

    Last year, Give A Grad A Go launched the support group ‘Go Graduate Network’, a community group for students and graduates to connect and share job-hunting advice – join today!

    Keep moving forwards! It doesn’t matter whether you walk or run, you’ll get there eventually.


Looking for a graduate job? Register to our graduate job board today and begin applying to exciting graduate opportunities at the UK’s most exciting companies!

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