The Graduate Hangover – What happens next?

You’ve gone to university, done your 3/4 year course, you’ve gotten your degree and you get ready to enter the workforce all bushy tailed and bright eyed…

You start applying for graduate jobs with your CV. Granted your CV is a little empty; as you may have only done some part time work while you studied, an internship either in the summer, or a placement year out.

Image Credits: Guardian Nigeria
Image Credits: Guardian Nigeria

Reality kicks in. The job market moves fast. The ads you open up may say the following:

  • Must have 1-2 years experience in a similar role
  • Must have great organisational skills
  • Must have customer service experience
  • Must have Adobe Suite design experience
  • Must be able use a CRM efficiently

For the afore mentioned bushy tailed bright eyed Graduate has not got many of these requirements, if any at all. It’s very odd that you are expected to be well versed in the roles you apply for as a graduate. It’s confusing even, because surely the title graduate implies that you are fresh out of University?

In an ideal world, the Graduate role would include extensive training and mentorship to ensure that you are learning the skills needed for the role. In the real world, today’s employers seem to expect you to have worked full-time alongside your degree in order to get the experience they require. Or that you have taken out a year since graduating to gain it.

Image Credits: RICS Recruitment
Image Credits: RICS Recruitment

Maybe you have taken an intern role (probably unpaid) for a year to gain the experience. Maybe you have tried to self-teach the software and skills needed. Or maybe you have just tried to apply for the roles and blag your way through it. One way or another you may end up with a Graduate hangover.

At this point, all you can do is research the roles you would like, and make a note of the skills they require. See if you can get an internship that will teach similar skills and give you much needed experience. Or, alternatively you can get on YouTube and start to self-teach as much as possible. It does get sticky, so know that you need to keep going and stay motivated throughout. It’s hard out there, but you can do it!

Start practising the skills you learn and build a portfolio. A portfolio speaks for itself. You may not have years of experience on your side, but you will have work that proves your capability.

If you do get through to the interview stage, be prepared to talk yourself up and showcase your skills. Make sure you highlight your involvement in any projects you have been a part of and link it to the skills the employer is looking for. Be prepared to be given a task that gives you the chance to demonstrate your capability. Make sure you complete it and hand it in on-time! Some recruitment processes have multiple stages, tasks and interviewers, so make sure you are selective in what you are applying for – you’ll be more likely to enjoy the process that way.

Pro tip: The right recruiter can get you into a good role, help you with your CV and give you solid advice. But beware that they are not all going to try and help, and may move on to the next candidate if they are not intending to help you.

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