In a highly competitive postgraduate job market, securing a position after graduation can be a long and challenging process. How do you make your application stand out from the crowd, and secure yourself the right position with your preferred employers? Here are some tips on how to improve your application, and maximise your chances of landing that dream job.
Make your CV stand out
A concise, professional and well-structured CV is far more likely to be read than one laid out in an untidy or illogical manner. If you have just graduated, or have limited professional experience, it may be prudent to condense your CV onto a single page of A4 paper:
- Keep the layout clean and simple, ensuring that the information flows logically.
- Ensure the information is clear and concise, and ideally no more than two pages long.
- Anticipate what your prospective employer will be looking for, and use this to select which personal information to include. Remember to include a section on your educational background, as well as any professional courses or training you have completed.
- List your previous professional experience in order of relevance to the role for which you are applying.
- Have somebody else check your CV prior to submission, to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
Go beyond academics
Your advanced academic studies will have provided you with a wide range of knowledge and skills required for your future career, but remember that many recruiters will be equally interested in other aspects of your experience. Where possible, include specific examples of times when you have demonstrated the key skills and abilities required for the role.
- Having prior work experience in a related field is a sure way to improve your prospects of being hired into a role. Highlight the relevant skills and experience that you have gained through prior jobs and internships, or even while doing voluntary work or on a gap year. Doing so will prove your commitment to your field, and willingness to learn and advance your career.
- The ability to work as part of a team is one of the key skills that many employers look for as part of their recruitment process. Be sure to reference specific examples of times you have worked as part of a team, undertaken a leadership role or been responsible for delivering an assigned project. This will underline your ability to work with a range of people and portray you as a team player.
- Alongside your CV, consider creating a list of your key responsibilities and achievements in previous roles. These can then be related back to the key requirements of the role for which you are applying.
Interact with your peers
Holding a postgraduate qualification in your field can often result in accelerated career progression, leading to senior management roles within an organisation. Such roles would involve working closely with your colleagues, customers and, eventually, your own employees. For some, the thought of this may seem overwhelming at first, but it is critical to take the initiative to proactively develop your communication, interaction and networking skills. This may be as simple as joining a university club, leading a program or event, or taking on a part-time job.
- Ensure your CV is concise, clear and professional.
- Proactively seek opportunities to develop new skills.
- Identify and analyse your relevant work experience.
- Match your skill set to that required by the role, and tailor your application to the job description.