The post-university job search is more challenging than ever

Graduation is an exciting event and a huge milestone in anyone's life. However, if you've graduated recently, your celebrations might be mixed with anxiety and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the job market dramatically. With businesses cutting down on hiring and with internships and placement numbers also down, it's only natural to feel discouraged as you start your job hunt.

That doesn't mean you should abandon all hope, though. Feeling discouraged is one thing, but what matters most is what you do about it. Now more than ever is the time to focus on solutions, to be flexible, and to take a positive approach to finding a way forward. We hope the tips below can help to get you on the right track. 

You've got plenty of opportunities ahead of you 

When times are tough for job seekers, they're tough for employers as well. That might not sound very encouraging, but consider this: a challenge for an employer can be an opportunity for a job seeker. If you take a look into what businesses need, you might find a gap you're able to fill.

Keep an eye on business news or check in with a careers advisor or a recruitment agency. Find out where the skill shortages are and you'll find where opportunities lie. You can make yourself more appealing to employers by finding out what they're looking for, ensuring you have the skills they need, and highlighting how you're the best person to fill that need.

You can write a great CV even without experience

Maybe you're feeling discouraged because you don't yet have any work experience, or any experience relevant to the industry you want to work in. It's a common stumbling block for graduates ‒ for all new job seekers, really ‒ but the good news is that it doesn't have to be.

From showcasing your personality in your cover letter to focusing on hobbies and extracurricular activities, there are things you can do to make yourself an attractive candidate, even without a lot of professional experience.

Consider your transferable skills, too. You have skills employers are looking for, whether you've used them in a professional environment or not. You can list skills you've picked up whilst studying, volunteering, even whilst participating in extracurricular activities and hobbies in your CV. Highlighting how these skills can be useful in a professional role can help you to stand out to potential employers.

You're don't have to be perfect, just persistent

The more time you spend dwelling on discouragement, the bigger your difficulties will seem; your mind will amplify what you focus on. When faced with a frustrating job hunt, common challenges can seem difficult and difficulties can seem catastrophic.

These may be far from perfect times, but there's no perfect time to find a job and there's no such thing as a perfect person. There's only the situation in front of you and the people who keep at it until they get what they want.

So rather than focusing on the things you can't change, focus on the things you can do. Focus on writing and improving your CV and gather whatever tips and tricks you can find that will help you to simplify the job search and get you ahead. Staying persistent and working towards achievable goals is a great way to boost your confidence and encourage yourself in the job hunt.

You're not doing this on your own

If you're discouraged, you're not alone ‒ the overwhelming majority of graduates are in exactly the same boat as you. Reach out and you'll find more than enough people to talk to, such as your friends from university who can certainly empathise with your situation. Simply talking things over can be a great way to get some perspective on your struggles.

If you need to discuss your professional options, you can speak to your careers advisor. If you need help finding opportunities, you can speak to a recruitment agency. And if you need advice on your CV, TopCV can help. Whatever you need, reach out and you might be surprised how much help people are willing to offer.

You can only move forward

The only way out of tough times is through them, no matter how discouraged you might feel. That doesn't mean you should ignore your feelings ‒ sometimes you just can't help how you feel.

But the truth is this: it doesn't matter how positive you feel ‒ what matters is what you do. Whatever your circumstances, the only way forward is forward and the only way to do something is to do it. So keep at it, assess your circumstances, identify the challenges, find the opportunities, and keep moving toward solutions.

No matter what else may happen, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you'll end up reaching the finish line.

Continue making progress in your job search by crafting an impressive CV. See how yours stacks up with a free CV review.

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