By Mia Casey
When you wake up the day after graduation, the morning sunlight shining in through your bedroom window and your phone already in-hand as you scroll through the endless pics of your mates in their gowns on your Insta feed, it can feel like you’ve got the world at your feet. Finally, no more assignments, no more exams or early morning lectures. You’ll now actually have time to make yourself a proper dinner, rather than the classic late night packet of mi goreng or a bowl of slightly soggy Weet-Bix for the third night in a row. You can finally start properly ‘adulting’.
But then it’s three weeks since graduation, then three months, and that ‘dream job’ you’d always thought you’d find after you graduated hasn’t appeared. Your parents are starting to give you ‘the look’ whenever jobs come up, your Insta feed has moved from being full of graduation pics to being full of selfies from your mates at work, and you’ve started to realise that maaaayyyybe you should have tried to find an industry internship while you were still at uni.
Hey – you’re not alone, and it’s certainly not the end of the world. Getting into your ideal industry or landing that oft’ dreamed about job is entirely possible – you just need to remember a few pieces of advice.
1) Don’t get caught up in your ‘dream job’ mentality
The first job you get out of university is always going to seem like a big deal at the time. But in terms of your career trajectory? It’s unlikely to stop you from achieving your goals. More than ever, employers are looking for transferable skills – skills that can be acquired in a variety of roles, both in and outside of the industry you’re in. This means, that even if you can’t find your perfect job straight after graduation, you can instead look for a different role that maybe has some crossover elements that can help you build the skills the employer at your dream job would be looking for.
For example, maybe you want to work in marketing for the not-for-profit sector but you’re having no luck applying for jobs, or they just don’t seem to fit what you’re looking for. Instead, look for other roles in that industry that would use some of the same skills – strong written and verbal communication, initiative, teamwork, working to a deadline, managing client expectations etc. Taking all of this into account, a customer service or events role would therefore be a good fit.
Alternatively, if you have a particular company you’re super keen to work for but they’re not offering a role that fits your dream, then look at other roles within the company that you could start in before making a lateral move to your goal role later on.
Basically, just don’t be too disheartened if you’re not immediately seeing multiple ads for your ideal role, and instead look at what is on offer and how it can help you get to that dream role.
2) Get social
Social media is actually a great tool, and recruiters are using social platforms more and more to find new employees. LinkedIn and Twitter in particular are good platforms to start with, as they see the highest employer and recruitment involvement.
To successfully leverage each platform, start with a big follow spree of influential people and companies in the industry you’re hoping to work in. Then it’s time to start posting. If you’re on Twitter, look at getting involved (respectfully and intelligently) in industry discussions or trending topics to familiarise yourself with the people who work in the sector and get your name out there. Or, if you’re on LinkedIn, start posting your work, following industry influencers, and commenting on other posts. It’s all about being involved and getting your name out there!
3) Showcase your work
If you haven’t already, find a space where you can show off your work and ideas. Whether that’s a digital portfolio for visual work, a blog for written ideas, or even simply sharing articles you’ve written on LinkedIn, making yourself visible online can be a great way to encourage opportunities to come to you (rather than having to always search them out yourself).
Once you do create this online space, be sure to share it across whatever platforms you’re active on so people can see it!
4) Go to industry events
This doesn’t have to be just conferences with big companies or networking events – industry events can be things like gallery openings, creative community classes, or artists talks if you’re wanting to get into the art or design industries. Basically anywhere that lets you meet and chat with like-minded people about the things you are passionate about is going to be a good start.
These types of environments are often full of people who work in the related industries, and with a bit of casual networking, they can become both friends and great industry connections!
5) Know what you want
When you’re looking through the various job boards – CareerHub, SEEK, LinkedIn – keep in mind your skills, worth, and career goals. Try making a list of what your bring to the table, the type of work you’d like to be doing, and the industry you want to be in and heading into your job search will feel much easier as you can easily shortlist potential options to apply for.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what our ideal job is, that it can be difficult to see the merit in roles that don’t immediately tick all of your boxes. By breaking down what your dream job actually entails, and looking for work that incorporates some of these elements (if not all of them), you open yourself up to the potential of finding a job that can help you develop your skills while you keep an eye out for that dream job to appear.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash