How to get a graduate job

Whether you’re dusting off your cap and gown in anticipation of graduation day or you’re just beginning your studies, it’s never too early to start thinking about how to get a graduate job.

We know it can be overwhelming to contemplate your career opportunities as a graduate, so we’ve gathered up our top tips to give you a head start. Read on for some insights on how to get a graduate job and you could be kick-starting your new career in no time.

Do your homework

Research shouldn’t end when your course does. There’s no better way to learn about opportunities in the workforce than to talk to people who are actually doing the job you’re interested in.

Ask around in your networks for people who are doing junior or entry-level versions of your dream job, as their advice will be the most relevant to you. Then ask them what an average work day is like, so that you can get a real feel for the role.

How to get a graduate job

Get experience, and utilise it

Many graduates can get experience by volunteering, taking on an internship or doing work experience, but don’t forget that in-class projects can be just as useful when you’re applying for a role.

For example, if you studied design, be sure to include assignments in your application portfolio. If you studied education, draw on your practical experience in your cover letter or selection criteria as proof of your job-readiness.

And don’t disregard informal experience such as helping family or friends. If you gained relevant skills or learned software by building a website for a friend’s business, mention these types of achievements in your application.

Tailor your CV

Your CV is often your first chance to make a great impression on an employer, so it’s worth putting in the effort to stand out and customise your CV to the job you’re applying for.

Take note of how the recruiter or company described the job you’re applying for, and emulate their language in your CV. Pull out keywords specific to the role and pepper them throughout your resume, to align yourself with the job.

Also only include experience that’s relevant to the position – leave your summer surf lifesaving job out of the CV you’re sending to a recruiter for an IT role.

Communicate your potential

Whether you’re a current student or have just recently graduated, don’t be daunted by the fact that you may not have much experience. Recruiters know that a candidate’s abilities to pick things up quickly and think on their feet can go a long way in a graduate job, so they care just as much about your potential.

When applying for a job, your cover letter is your chance to craft a compelling case for how you’ve committed to the industry via your studies and that your knowledge is up to date when it comes to industry best practice. Draw parallels between your assignments and the role, and convince the recruiter that your passion for your field makes you the perfect fit for the job.

Think quality, not quantity

Many graduates can get caught up trying to frantically tackle too many applications in a short amount of time. Consider a more strategic approach and try to only apply for roles you’re genuinely interested in and feel are suited to your experience level. By doing this, you’ll naturally infuse more confidence and enthusiasm in your application which will resonate with the recruiter.

Take time to look into companies to figure out whether you’re the right fit, and then go for the roles that best match your interests and skill level.

Taking the time to produce a high quality application for a role you really care about could reap greater rewards than half-heartedly applying for three times as many. Also, when you apply more thoughtfully, you’ll be far less likely to make hasty mistakes that could cost you the job within seconds!

Ask questions

Once you’ve landed a graduate job interview, it’s important to be prepared. In addition to researching the company and practising your responses to interview questions, don’t forget that this is your opportunity to ask questions too. 

Prepare 3 to 5 questions that show your interest in the graduate opportunity, such as “What are the most important qualities required to succeed in the role?”, "What opportunities are there for career progression and development?”, or “How is performance measured?” Asking key questions in a graduate job interview will signal your initiative and enthusiasm to prospective employers.