If you'll soon be donning the gown and throwing the cap, here's what you need to do once the party is over.
Graduation ceremonies come as a welcome release after your hard work—but the celebration can't last forever (even if the hangover feels like it might). Before you hang up your cap and gown and dive into your graduate job hunt, you need to get the foundations in place to give you the best chance of success.
Here's five things you should do as soon as you graduate.
1. Don't panic
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams – Don't Panic! News headlines may drone on about a doomed generation facing an impenetrable job market and millions of graduates competing for the same places on graduate schemes—don't take any notice.
Concentrate on your own ambitions. The most important part of your graduate job hunt is to find your niche and decide what career you want. If you don't have a clue, now is the time to start reading up, chatting with people in different industries and even dipping your toe with an internship.
2. Correct Documentation: Your CV
When you have a good idea what you want to do, it makes creating a CV much easier. You need to skew all of your life's achievements towards this goal. We do not recommend having one CV, but several. In fact, it is unadvisable to send out the same CV more than once.
You should be tailoring your CV to each application and highlighting aspects of your experience and education relevant to the specific role. We know it is tedious and boring work, but what's the point in sending out 30 irrelevant CVs?
Read our advice on creating an awesome CV.
3. Digital Footprints: LinkedIn and Assorted Social Media
The internet never forgets. It is a scary proposition for graduates entering the market, especially considering how many constantly upload their lives to a public audience through tweets, Facebook updates and even Myspace statuses.
You need to make sure employers find the right information about you. Some graduates choose to completely hide their online presence from employers (which is perfectly acceptable), while others use the internet to their advantage. Set up a LinkedIn profile to show employers a standardised list of your achievements and background.
Social media channels like Twitter and Facebook can also be used to demonstrate your commitment to and understanding of an industry—for example, posting opinions and engaging in current discussions on current industry news.
Find out more about making social media work for you:
4. Product Launch: Your personal brand
You may have heard a lot about having a "personal brand" and using it to sell yourself to employers. The concept is relatively simple: your personal brand is your complete approach to not only job hunting, but your direction in life and how it is perceived. You are essentially marketing yourself to buyers (in this case the employer).
There are many ways to create a strong personal brand but the most important thing to remember is consistency. You are trying to create an overarching narrative about your past, your goals and your ambitions so make sure you keep to your personal branding line (whatever it may be).
Here's your guide to creating a personal brand.
5. Friends in high places: University contacts
"It is not what you know, but who you know" is a tired cliché, but it's true. Friends, lecturers, careers advisors and even family members all want you to succeed (and so do we), so it is important you make use of your network.
Take advantage of the limitless experience around you and talk to these people about your ambitions. They won't serve you up a graduate job on a plate, but family, friends and advisers may be able to give you an honest assessment of your chosen career path and what you need to do next.
Reach out to lecturers now, before they forget you—they can provide good references and possibly even an industry connection. Send them a polite email stating your career goals and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of any relevant opportunities.
There is plenty of time to enjoy your graduation and we'd like to be the first to say: well done, good work! Don't worry about the graduate job market and be ready to carve out your niche.