1 year after graduation no job – What should I do?

Sep 18, 2019

So you graduated a year ago, and despite sending out several applications, you haven’t been able to secure yourself a graduate job. 

In this post, we’ll share some advice on what you can do if you have no job 1 year after graduation. 

 Don’t panic – help is available

If it’s been one year since you graduated and you haven’t found a job yet it can feel pretty disheartening. 

After all, you invested a lot of time and money into getting your degree. 

First of all, if you are in this situation, don’t worry. You haven’t missed the boat. 

You can still land your dream graduate job.  

It can be easy to compare yourself to your friends, especially if they all seem to be in great jobs. However, it is important to not compare yourself and focus on your own journey. 

This will be the main focus of this blog post – helping you to get on the career path that is right for you. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped hundreds of graduates that come to us 1 year after graduation with no job. So if you need some help and personalised career guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

Reflect on what you have done so far

Point number 1 is important because we see graduates who get themselves in a panic and start applying for any job vacancies they find. 

This is a poor strategy for finding a job because graduate recruiters are trained to spot genuine motivation. 

If you are just applying to get yourself a job so that you can start earning money, the interviewer will be able to tell. 

So if you have been “panic applying” stop. 

Take some time to reflect on the past year since you graduated and your time at university. 

The whole point of reflecting is to get you thinking about your interests and skills so that you can start to narrow down your job search. 

On a piece of paper or in a word document, write down all of your non-academic experiences These will help you to stand out from other candidates. 

Did you play an instrument? Take part in a sport? Run a society? Gain work experience? Volunteer? 

If so, these are all excellent accomplishments!

Write down the skills you gained from these activities. 

Also, think about what you enjoyed doing most during your time at university. 

Did you love working on group assignments? Or did you enjoy working with numbers? Perhaps you really liked carrying out research your essays? 

Have you developed any new interests in the past few years? Perhaps you are passionate about technology, or leadership. 

Write down anything you think of as this will come in handy in the next steps of this post. 

Complete a skills audit

A skills audit is an assessment of the skills that you currently have. 

Even if you don’t know what you want to do yet, doing a skills audit will prove to be beneficial. This is because regardless of the graduate job you apply for, all recruiters will look for the following 6 key skills in graduates: 

  1. Communication
  2. Team Work
  3. Organising and planning
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Professionalism
  6. Working on your own initiative 

Using the examples you listed in step 2, for each of the above skills write down an example of how you can demonstrate that you have those skills. 

Remember, even if you don’t have a large volume of work experience, you’ll still be able to complete this task. You can draw upon your non-academic experience. 

Get into the habit of answering your questions in a STAR format. 

STAR is an acronym for:

  • Situation 
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result 

It is a way of concisely articulating your competencies. 

The reason why we advise you to get into the habit of using the STAR method from now is that it will come in very handy in your interviews. 

Think of it this way, if you are asked in an interview to tell me about a time where you had to work as part of a team, (Which is a skill that all graduate recruiters will look for)  you’ll have a concise, powerful answer ready that you won’t need to memorise. 

Identify the problem

Now that you have spent some time thinking about your skills, non-academic experiences and your interests it is time to work out what is holding you back. 

When graduates come to us 1 year after graduation with no job, there tends to be four main things holding them back. 

  • They haven’t got a clue about what to do after university.
  • They’ve been sending out several applications but not progressing to the interview stage.
  • They keep failing during the interview stage.
  • After 1 year of job searching, they have started to lose confidence or self-esteem

Identify what it is that is holding you back then work towards the solutions. 

Don’t know what to do after university

Some graduates remain unemployed for a year after graduation because they are confused about their career path.

If you haven’t got a clue about what to do, read our post on CV-Library about how to discover your career path after university

There are a lot of different graduate job titles so it can be really confusing if you do not know what to do. 

That’s why it is important to understand what your career typology is because that will narrow down your search. 

There are three career typologies for graduates:

Specialists – these graduates are hired for their specialist knowledge in a subject such as Doctors, nurses or pharmacists. 

Knowledge Architects – these graduates are hired for their ability to analyse data and draw valuable insights from it. Examples of graduate job titles for knowledge architects are: consultants, finance, business analysts etc. 

Communicators – these graduates are hired for there ability to communicate important information and to develop and maintain profitable business relationships. Examples include sales, marketing and PR roles. 

Which one of these career typologies do you identify with most? 

Once you’ve identified this, you’ll be able to narrow down your job search significantly. 

Not getting any interviews

If you’ve been applying for several jobs but not getting any interviews, it’s time to revisit your CV.

Your CV needs to convince employers that you have what it takes to excel in the role you’ve applied for. 

Therefore, it is important that you tailor your CV to every application. 

Your CV is not one size fits all. 

Writing your first graduate CV can be difficult. 

However, based on what you have learnt so far in this blog post, you’ll be able to write an achievement-based CV. 

You must highlight the skills that you have gained from your work experience or non-academic experiences.  

It is a good idea to refer to the job description listed on the job vacancy to see what skills are required and then demonstrating that you have those specific skills on your CV. 

To find out more about how to write an achievement-based CV, grab yourself a copy of The Student Book. 

In The Student Book we’ve got a section that is dedicated to writing an achievement-based CV. We have even included several examples of some excellent graduate CVs. 

Keep failing interviews

1 year after graduation no job

If you keep failing your interviews, you’ll need to brush up on your interview skills. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have been failing your interviews. 

Performing highly in interviews is an art and a science. 

There are some basic tips and tricks that you should know if you want to perform highly in interviews. 

In addition to what you need to know about interviews, in order to get really good at interviews, you must practise. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have condensed all of our expertise and learnings gained over the past 10 years to create our Nail That Interview course

You can access the introduction and module 1 of the course for free. 

Confidence level has dipped

If it’s been 1 year after graduation and you still haven’t been able to find a job, it could have started to take a toll on your confidence. 

If it has, it’s important to keep building it back up as confidence plays a vital role in helping you to get a job. 

If you are not confident in yourself, why should the employer be confident in you? 

If you have lost your confidence from continually being rejected from jobs, you might want to consider getting some one-to-one career coaching with an experienced graduate coach. 

1 year after graduation no job – Summary 

We hope that you have found this post on what to do if you are still looking for a job one year after university helpful. 

Remember, you haven’t missed the boat and you can still land your dream graduate job. 

Whilst it may have been a difficult year, you will have had the time to think about the type of graduate job that is right for you. 

If you’ve been unemployed for a year after graduation, get in touch with us.

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