Finding a graduate job

Tariro talks about her approach to cultivating the skills she needed for a graduate role, and how she worked out the kind of roles she was interested in. Erin then talks about how networking helped her find a role, and how she protected her mental health during her job hunt.

Tariro and Erin share their experience and tips for finding a job during the pandemic

Video transcript

Speaker 1 - Tariro

Hiya, I am Tariro, a recent graduate from the University of Nottingham. For reasons we are all aware of, being a student or graduate looking for work has been particularly trying this last year. Upon graduating, I was expecting to be thriving in Bali, and ended up in Birmingham, so that was a major expectation gap! However, I've managed to use this time to embark on a DIY grad scheme, before I looked for a full time role in January.

The main thing that I found super useful during times of uncertainty was trying to maintain my energy levels, which is easier said than done. But one way I did this was finding something that I really enjoyed and making sure that I did it every day. So I'd go to bed thinking, yes, that was a good day.

The second thing I did was looking at the Ikigai model. Now this is a Japanese concept which translates to "the reason for being" and what it essentially does, it looks at what you love to do and what the world is willing to pay for and in that intersection is a sweet spot of where you'd find joy, fulfillment, balance, which is super, super helpful. And it was good for me as I found myself in this rut where I'd look online and I'd look at 'oh' finance jobs look really good, law jobs, amazing, engineering, really fun. When in reality salaries were looking really fun. And I thought that really having that introspection and thinking, “if you like to be creative, you love, you know, client facing roles, you might need to re-adjust your thinking Tariro.”

So, that was really helpful to me, really recommend. And this was then really useful in the next step, which was leveraging the fact that everything is digital, with firms doing lots of webinars, internships online. I was able to cultivate the skills I'd need in my chosen career, whilst at home. Now what this will looked like was eternally researching really just digging a little bit deeper into how to upskill, how to cultivate different skills. I think for me, it was important to remember, our lives are not on pause, we've just got extra time to really think about the direction that we're heading, and making use of that. So if you're watching you have 100% got this, you are exactly where you need to be.

Speaker 2 - Erin

My name is Erin and I'm a recent graduate. Graduating in the pandemic was a strange experience. There was none of the usual end of uni celebrations, nights out, or even a graduation ceremony, which made the whole thing feel very anticlimactic.

Then comes trying to find a job in the global pandemic. The most important thing to remember if you're in this position is that you are not alone. I felt some level of post-graduation pressure to immediately find a job that was 100% related to my degree, and the field I wanted my career to be in. Looking back, these are the most important things that I learnt during my job hunt.

The first is that among all of the things that the pandemic has brought, like feeling more isolated, it is important to take care of our mental health. Facing job rejections, after putting hours of work into CVs and cover letters, can be really disheartening. It made me feel like successfully getting an interview or securing a job was near impossible. But looking back, it's important to keep in mind when applying for jobs that rejection is not personal, and the business or organization may not have been the right fit for you either.

The second is remember to take time out of job hunting to do something that you love. I know how hard it can be to take your mind off the worry of unemployment, but cut yourself some slack. For me taking time off allowed me to come back with a fresh mind and a more positive outlook. Taking a break meant I didn't burn myself out.

Personally, I found it challenging seeing so many people on social media posting about everything they were doing, all the goals they were achieving, and the skills they had acquired in lockdown. It was important for me to remember that even if my life looked different, it didn't mean I wasn't doing enough. Taking time to figure out what helped me to mentally recharge was vital. Everyone is different and someone else's success does not equal my failure.

In the end, I managed to secure a job through networking on LinkedIn with employers in my area. I know it can be really difficult finding a job as a graduate especially in this climate. Connecting and networking virtually with the relevant people in the sector and area you want to work in, while setting realistic expectations for yourself, and taking some time away from the pressure is vital. Persevere and keep applying to jobs, keep reflecting and most importantly, look after yourself.