Now that we've hit 2015, it's fair to say that some jobless graduates are panicking. 'What if I never get hired?' 'Will I ever leave Mum and Dad's?' and 'Is this the end of my world as I know it?' are common questions. Well first of all, CALM DOWN. There are plenty of jobs in the sea (especially if you don't mind living on an oil rig for 6 months), and something will come along soon. For now, keep up the search, and why not read my A-Z guide all about the great graduate job hunt. You might learn something, you might not. But if nothing else, it's damn good procrastination.
A is for Apply
Irritatingly simple advice but if you don't apply then there is no way you'll get the job. Putting in a cheeky application for a role you like the look of might just pay off. What's the harm?
B is for Blog
Whether you want a job that involves writing or not, having a blog shows dedication, active interests and digital awareness. It's also a chance to take ownership with your online footprint and shows employers what you're all about. It can also be fun!
C is for Craft
The amount of conversations I have had where people brag about how many applications they have sent off in a day. No! Slow and steady wins the race (sorry for the amount of clichés in this post so far, I will try and cut down).
D is for Different
It's so easy to write an application that you think the employer would like or write themselves. Obviously you have to fill the criteria, but be playful and experimental in your approach, especially if you haven't been having much luck on the job front. Re-format your CV, be more personal in your answers, or less personal. Just try something new to shake things up and keep it interesting.
E is for Endurance
Many recent graduates have been hunting for a graduate job since June and are now starting to get frustrated. It's ok to whinge and moan and throw cushions at things but all you can really do is keep going. Unless you have a trust fund or are planning to marry a royal, there is no alternative other than getting a job as soon as possible. Keep going and something will come up, though be prepared to compromise.
F is for Friends
If you're been a bit antisocial of late (we've all been that guy), then go and hang out with your mates right now. Don't discuss the job hunt, or anything serious for that matter. Some light-hearted fun is perfect to take your mind off things.
G is for Grin
The most basic advice someone once gave me was to smile. In a recent interview I was nervous, my hands were sweating and I was really quite stressed. I put all my attention into smiling and weirdly enough it worked. I managed to present the illusion of calm and collected even though I was having an inner-crisis.
H is for Help
If you're on the graduate job hunt, you're probably (without even knowing it) quite self-absorbed at the moment. If you're living at home, give your parents a hand, or help a friend out with a problem. It will give you perspective and a sense of accomplishment that might just freshen you up.
I is for Ignore
There are plenty of #GraduHaters out there in the world. You know who you are. It could be your uncle, asking for the umpteenth time why you're not employed, or the snarky comment made by a 'friend'. If Taylor Swift can Shake It Off, then surely you can too?
J is for Jargon
Hopefully you have an idea what kind of industry you want to go into. Get in touch with all the terminology and language that surrounds the industry and make sure you understand the jargon. Employers love their acronyms, and may well test you on your research in an interview situation.
K is for Kick Back
Even though it's hard to switch off, force yourself to have a bath (also good for hygiene reasons), play football or climb a hill. If you get too intense on the job hunt you will eventually crumble. Chill out!
L is for Lemonade
As I've indulged in enough clichés already, I may as well just keep on going. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So if you have an interview and it doesn't go to plan, ring up the employer and ask for feedback. If you re-read an application and you've made a grammatical error, keep note so you never do it again. The graduate job hunt is by no means a smooth process and mistakes will be made. Learn from them. Also lemonade is pretty tasty so there's that.
M is for Man up
How do you know if someone has an iPhone? ... They tell you! The same goes for job hunting graduates. If you've been on the receiving end of a job hunt rant then you know it gets dull pretty quickly. Stop complaining and get on with it.
N is for News
Stay informed. It's common practise for an employer to ask you what's happening around the world, especially in relation to a specific industry. Just 10 minutes a day trawling news sites is enough if you're not big on current affairs.
O is for Organisation
Lists, diaries, post-its - all the stuff dreams are made of. Keep a record of what you apply for, what skills you might want to brush up on and what roles you do and don't like.
P is for Part-time
I may be preaching to the choir, but if you haven't already you might want to get some moneys rolling in. It's a change from job-hunting and possibly a chance to meet some new cool people in similar situations.
Q is for Qualify
Don't waste your time on applications where you don't meet most of the criteria. Generally if you hit 80%ish of what they want, go for it. If not, your time would be better-used elsewhere.
R is for Reward
If you complete a great application, treat yourself to a packet of monster munch, or whatever floats your boat. All work and no play makes job hunters dull grads.
S is for Social Media
So you've got a shiny new blog, now publicise the hell out of it on social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook and Google+ are ones I'd recommend, but it depends on what you're into or what would be most suited to your career. Social Media can be really good fun, and you can write and share things to do with your desired industry so it's a win-win!
T is for Talk
This is painfully obvious but talk to those around you about what you're doing. It's easy to feel embarrassed or like a bit of a failure, but swallowing your pride and talking to others about getting a job might help. Think Kevin Bacon and six degrees of separation. Someone will know someone who wants an intern or an assistant, you could be that lucky so-and-so.
U is for Umbrella
So you want to be a translator or inventor or TV presenter. That's brilliant and definitely go for those jobs. But look wider. If you wanted to be a translator for example, look at careers loosely involved with languages, travel and communications. Everyone harps on about how job transition works laterally but it is true.
V is for Vulture
Culture vultures assemble! Get to museums, go to the movies, read a book. I guarantee if you're hunched over a laptop all day no one will want to hire you. If you're excited about the culture that surrounds you that will come across in your writing, speech and body language.
W is for Work Experience
If you're struggling on the job hunt get a week's work experience somewhere or volunteer once a week at a local school or shop. It's not that hard to find work experience and it looks great on the old CV.
X is for X-Ray
X-Ray vision. Read between the lines with applications and highlight keywords and attributes that they're looking for. Then hone in on it.
Y is for You
You've probably noticed that there is a shed-ton of competition in the graduate job market. Whether you like to knit hats for dogs or spend your weekends morris-dancing, get that information out there. There's definitely something about everyone that is unique and intriguing, work out what it is and milk it.
Z is for Zealous
As there is so much competition you can't be shy or be a wallflower. Push yourself to talk to others, fight for opportunities and ask for help. The graduate job hunt is a sly old beast, and it's not going to be beaten by a quiet and polite little graduate. I really want to say the phrase 'unleash the beast' here but I feel that might have other connotations so basically just go for it.
GOOD LUCK! And tell us how your graduate job hunt is going!