Graduation is an exciting time for many, but the thought that you need to start your job hunt can be daunting for many. Luckily there are solutions and tools which will help a new graduate on their way to pursue a career. The bulk of the work and preparation to get you started on your career should happen before your first interview. But don’t worry, we’ve prepared a checklist for new graduates which will help prepare you for what may seem to be a bit of a scary move. This should help take away some of the anxiety behind the job hunt. We’re going to explain the points in more detail here, so before you scroll to the download button down below it’s worth going through these points here! Let’s get started.

go where the jobs are

First things first:

You need to set up a designated workspace. Especially in this time, interviews may still be being held virtually so you need to find a spot that is free from distractions and noise at home or anywhere you deem comfortable enough to be interviewed at. You may probably need to hold on to your study nook a little while longer – as you stow away your course work and books, refresh your set up. After having this space set up, you’re good to go (to the next point).

Set personal career goals.

However, before you start applying, spend some time defining your career goals. This is probably the point in your life where you have the most time at your leisure to not rush into a career decision. Ask yourself what you’ll probably soon be asked at your first interview – where do you see yourself in five years? What is your career trajectory? At this point, do some legit LinkedIn “stalking” and seek what people in your dream career/ doing your dream job have done to get there. What were their first experiences and what career moves did they make? If you know someone personally – all the better, you can directly ask and many will be happy to help. Don’t hesitate to connect with people and ask for help. Thinking about your career path and where you’d like it to take you will help you set goals – both short term and long term and will help you streamline the jobs that will offer a stepping stone to your dream goal. It may also be helpful to ask yourself whether you are after a career or are looking to change goal posts every so often. After all, you may get into a career and realise it’s not right for you and that’s ok.

Google is your best friend.

Make sure you research and discover the many resources available online for job seekers. You can also visit the Keepmeposted blog for the many articles available for job seekers (just click here). Think about where you want to work – would you like to work in a busy, bustling environment or do you prefer a smaller office set up? Do you enjoy working in large or small teams? These are all worthwhile questions that will lead you to streamline your perfect job.

Sign up to a job board… like

Signing up to a job board means you get the latest jobs as they are being advertised usually in the form of newsletters in your inbox or via notifications on your account. When you sign up make sure you tick the industries/categories you are interested in as this will streamline the number of incoming job posts in your inbox. These are worth going through as will give you a good idea of which skills to highlight and which of them you may be missing. Along with this, now is the time to create a Linkedin profile (if you haven’t yet) and/or improve it with skills you have picked up during your studies or even in past jobs. If you have any references, it is worth collecting them and asking for them here. Many recruiters and hiring managers use Linkedin as their first point of contact with you, so this is worth improving.

Prepare your CV (and portfolio)

Outline how skills from your school experience can be adapted to the jobs you’re applying for. Keep in mind, that the skills highlighted in one role may not be the same as those required in the next. Adapting your CV to each application is a worthwhile exercise as it will show how your skills can be applied to the role.

Perform a salary check

If you haven’t discovered it yet, take a look at It’s a useful tool that will guide you on what you can expect from your end of month paycheck after taxes. It is worth checking out what the usual entry salary for the role you are looking for is. Going to an interview with insight on your role and what you expect will also show interest from your end. It may help to ask those pursuing a similar career path, a few years ahead of you where they started salary-wise and what their prospects are.

As you wait for your first interview, hone your skills

It may take a while for you to be called in for your first interview. Use this time to fill in any gaps in your skillset. Chances are there are skills in any role description that you may be missing or aren’t as well practiced in. Practise makes perfect, as is said. If you’re creative, it’s a perfect opportunity to work on some extra stuff for your portfolio. You can also peruse Linkedin’s one-month free premium trial and make use of the LinkedIn learning tool. Look up courses on these skills you may be missing. Even if you don’t manage to completely finish the course once you’re called in for an interview. It will still show your willingness to learn, which is a great “soft” skill to have.

Once you start applying…

There are many resources out there outlining common interview questions and how to prepare yourself for them and answer them. It’s also worth going through one of our recent blog posts which outlines some special questions you may be asked in a pandemic-dominated 2020. Ask a friend to help you practice answering some of these questions in a practice interview. When you are called in for an interview, it is worth researching the company if you haven’t done so already. The interviewer is probably going through your social profiles to so it’s best to keep these in check!

Be prepared for impromptu phone interviews

As many like to perform a quick phone screening, due to the possibly large number of applications received, be prepared for an impromptu phone interview. These are usually quite casual, and it will also save you some time if it’s not what you’re after. This leads us perfectly to the next stage.

During an interview

Remember that you are not the only one being interviewed here. You are also gauging whether this is a company you want to work at, whether it nurtures a company culture you like and whether you would feel proud of the company’s goals. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the company, especially if any came up as you were researching their social platforms or online presence. Another question worth asking is about your potential career path at the company or if the role was occupied before. This is your opportunity to clarify questions about your CV and highlight skills that you picked up or come naturally to you that make you a good fit for the role.

Be prepared to talk money

Chances are that you will be asked about your financial expectations from this role. That is why it’s worth researching the benchmark salaries for your role at entry-level.

The all-important follow-up

Many forget this all-important step and often times it’s the key to the second stage in your application and what makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants. After an interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer and follow up with any additional questions you might have and if they require anything else from your end.

If you’ve been made an offer (congrats!) go through the contract as now is the time to revert with questions and change anything you might not agree with. This will avoid misunderstandings once you’ve accepted the offer and started work there. If you’re rejected, it’s not the end of the world.  Use the opportunity to ask for feedback on what you may need to improve on. It could be a simple case of the other person being a better fit within the team.

Don’t be discouraged – the process can sometimes take months. Keep applying and remember that quality is better than quantity.

Good luck!

Download the checklist here.

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