You didn’t land a graduate job ahead of graduation, so like many graduates you decided to head back home for the summer and reassess your options.
The only problem is, home happens to be ‘in the middle of nowhere’.
And before you know it, the weeks turn into months and you still don’t seem to be any closer to landing your ideal graduate job.
Left with dwindling funds and feeling a little deflated, you’re now wondering ‘what next?’
Trying to find a graduate job while living in a more rural area can seem impossible, so here at Give A Grad A Go we wanted to share 3 steps to finding a graduate job while living ‘in the middle of nowhere’.
Go the long way round
While stepping straight out of university into the perfect job is every graduates dream, trying to secure your idea of the ‘perfect’ graduate job straight away might be holding you back.
We suggest defining exactly where you want to end up and working backwards, listing the possible steps in between.
What you need to do
Read through job descriptions of the type of graduate job you ideally want, taking note of the core skills and responsibilities necessary.
Next, look for other similar graduate jobs, or jobs within the sector that are more commonly available, that will allow you to begin to develop the specific skills you’re looking to build.
E.g. If you’re looking to become an FX Broker in a top London firm, a role in a small recruitment agency working with financial clients is a great first step. Why?
Working in a small company will often see you having to face an intense workload quite soon in – ideal preparation for the high-stress, high-responsibility environment of Broking.
You’ll also find yourself facing situations including; tricky negotiations with clients, keeping on top of the latest sector news and pitching new business – all situations which will apply to a graduate job in Broking.
Before accepting any job, be sure to assess exactly how it will help you – even in the smallest way – on to the next stage.
Remember, your first step doesn’t need to be sector specific, a part-time pub or shop assistant job can be a great first step.
Once you’ve landed this experience, no matter what it is, it’s then a case of tailoring your CV to the job description, to take you to the next step.
Map it out
With your end goal in mind, and your steps in between, next it’s time to think about what is practically stopping you from getting there.
In the case of many graduates living ‘in the middle of nowhere’, it’s the lack of funds and minimal transport links.
To overcome these hurdles, it all comes down to mapping out a timeline.
What you need to do
List each of the hurdles in your way, then under each one jot down all the possible ways to overcome it.
E.g. Lack of funds
- Find a part-time or short-term contract job
- Ask if companies will pay for interview travel or if an initial Skype interview is possible
- Work out where to scrimp and save on current living costs
Next, map these out in a timeline. The length of your timeline will depend on the hurdles you’re facing and how quickly you can overcome them.
E.g. If you’re looking for graduate jobs in London, this is what a 3-month timeline might include:
- Calculate the cost of return travel up to 10 times to London, or calculate the cost of living for two weeks as a graduate in London
- Take on 12 hours of extra shifts a week to save enough money by Month 3
- Review the types of graduate jobs and the location the most positive job responses are coming from e.g. Social Media Executive in Kent – focus job search on these jobs/areas, as well as London
- Reach out to friends to stay with in London and plan how to live as cheaply as possible for up to two weeks
- Sign up with 5 London-based graduate recruitment agencies giving them an ideal specific two-week availability
- Dedicate time to applying for a set number of jobs in the job type and area with the most positive responses
- Plan other ways to find a job while in London for two weeks, when not interviewing – e.g. arranging to meet old contacts, handing out CVs
- Create a budget plan and timetable for spending time in London – including travel and food
- Review all rejections and find patterns in the feedback for next set of applications
This is just a simple example of how some of the Give A Grad A Go team planned their graduate job hunt while living back home ‘in the middle of nowhere’.
Giving yourself a timeline and aiming towards specific goals, is a great way of making sure your job-hunting motivation doesn’t dip.
Use what you’ve got
You’ve set your goals, made your timeline and fingers crossed you’ll begin to see some progress on your job hunt.
But there’s always something more you can be doing to help yourself get ahead of the graduate crowd.
What you need to do
Discover your contact’s, contacts
While the people in your immediate network might be in a similar position to you, it’s likely you know someone who knows someone that might be able to help you with that first step.
E.g. Have you ever worked, ever?
Touch base with past colleagues to find out if they know anyone who has a connection to the type of work you want to get into.
Don’t limit your reach; think about neighbours, family friends or that friendly person that always serves you – do they have friends or family in the big city they could put you in touch with.
Next, set yourself up on LinkedIn and get connecting.
When reaching out to contacts always be sure to personalise the message, mentioning exactly who recommended you get in touch and why.
LinkedIn also allows you to see who your connections connect with – a great way of discovering more relevant contacts in the sector you might be interested in.
Learn the lingo
Free online courses are a great way to show employers you’re a real ‘self-starter’, especially if you can show how it’s relevant to the job you want to do.
E.g. Learning a language is great if you’re hoping to work in a sector that’s expanding rapidly, as during interviews you could talk about your interest in working in the company’s global offices for a better understanding of global sector trends.
Whereas learning to code would be useful if you’re applying for graduate jobs in digital that involve project management, as at interview you could mention how having an understanding of code would be helpful in working with developers on projects.
You don’t need to become a professional, but showing you’ve taken the initiative will be what grabs an employer’s attention.
Just be sure to tailor it to your graduate CV.
Making the jump into a graduate job while living ‘in the middle of nowhere’ doesn’t happen overnight.
But by setting your goals, careful planning and finding ways to get ahead of the crowd, you’ll soon find yourself on your way to your ideal graduate job.
Find more career advice on our Careers Advice Blog – or check out the latest Graduate Jobs!