Entering the professional working world after graduating can be daunting. You might have had casual jobs or internships in the past, but now is the time to really home in on your ideal post-graduate job and the types of companies you would like to work for.

Regardless of your field of study or the type of work you’re looking for, preparation is key to landing the job you want. We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to defining your goals and researching your options so you can start your job search on the right foot.

1. Understand the different types of roles available

An important first step is to make sure you understand the full scope of roles you could potentially apply for. Keep in mind that relevant roles might not always relate directly to your field of study. For example, studying human resources not only applies to HR jobs but could also open you up to entry-level jobs in talent acquisition, recruitment, diversity and inclusion or employer branding. It pays to think outside the box at this stage, because it will help broaden your job search. 

It’s also worth noting that many companies offer dedicated graduate programs, which provide the opportunity to work in various areas of the business for a defined period. If you’re not sure exactly what you want to do post-graduation, these programs can give you real-world experience and help you pinpoint your specialism.

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2. Define your goals

Once you understand the market and the roles you could realistically apply for, think about what you want out of a job and your career. This doesn’t have to be set in stone or apply to a specific role – rather, think about the area and type of work you find most rewarding and suited to your skills and passions. Questions to consider include:

  • What are your core strengths and attributes?
  • What sort of tasks would you be satisfied doing day-to-day?
  • Which types of roles best match your skills, interests and values?
  • Where do you want to be in five years’ time and which jobs could help you get there?
  • Which types of roles are likely to be in high demand by employers in the future?

RELATED: 5 easy steps for creating a career plan

3. Research companies

Now it’s time to pinpoint the companies that are aligned with your values and goals. Make a list of what’s important to you – this could include corporate social responsibility, innovation, an established reputation and so on – and start researching companies that match those parameters. 

Explore companies’ LinkedIn profiles, websites and even employee reviews to find out if they can offer the experience you’re looking for. Selecting the right company can have a huge impact on your post-graduate job experience and ensure you’re the right cultural fit for the organisation you choose.

Once you have a list of ideal companies, sign up for job alerts and don’t be afraid to proactively reach out about potential opportunities. Taking the initiative could be what gets your foot in the door.

4. Chat to a few recruiters

Recruiters are always on the lookout for enthusiastic talent, and even if they don’t have a suitable role for you immediately it’s always worth building a relationship. A good recruiter will work with you to understand your skills and career goals and keep you updated on appropriate graduate and entry-level job opportunities. They can also offer valuable insights into what your ideal employers are looking for and how to set yourself up for the best chance of success.

Kickstarting your post-graduate job search? Browse our latest graduate jobs or talk to the team at Michael Page about opportunities in your field.

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