Unemployed 3 months after graduation? Here’s what to do

Jun 25, 2021

Having spent 3 years at university and graduating with a good degree, you thought you’d walk straight into a good graduate job. However, 3 months later, you are still searching for your first graduate role. 

If you are in this situation, you may feel frustrated from sending out application after application and attending countless interviews and not hearing back. 

In this post, we share top tips for those who have been unemployed for 3 months after graduation. 

1: Stop applying for graduate jobs willy-nilly 

So it’s been 3 months since you graduated and you’re concerned that you have not yet landed a graduate job. Many graduates in this position ‘panic apply’ for jobs in a desperate attempt to get a job. 

The problem with panic applying is that you shift your focus from getting a job that is best suited to you to focusing on getting any job. 

This results in sending out a high volume of low-quality applications. Graduate employers need to select the candidates who are best suited to the job and who show a genuine interest in the role, company and industry. 

Take a structured and strategic approach when applying for jobs. Do this by first identifying the right types of roles and companies suited to you. Also, track all of your job applications and feedback.

2: Work out what type of graduate job is right for you

Many graduates make the mistake of not identifying what roles are right for them before applying for jobs. 

Following on from point 1 above, if you do not know exactly what you are going to apply for, and know why it is the right role for you, your job search will lack focus. This will prolong your job search for a graduate job

In The Student Book, Graduate Coach Chris Davies outlines a framework that will quickly help you to identify your career typology and subsequently which types of graduate jobs are right for you. 

If you have been looking for a graduate job for 3+ months with little or no success. Reflect on which roles you have applied for, work out your career typology and the roles that are right for you, then narrow down your job search accordingly. 

3: Identify and demonstrate your employability skills

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has identified nine employability skills that employers seek in those they hire. These are:

  • Business awareness
  • Communication and literacy
  • Entrepreneurial skill
  • Fluency in information technology
  • Numeracy
  • Problem-solving
  • Resilience
  • Self-management
  • Team working

It is vital that you evidence these skills throughout your entire application process. It is your skills that will help you to stand out from the competition and fill employers with the confidence that you have what it takes to do the job.

If you have been searching for a graduate job for more than 3 months do the following activity.

For the skills above, write out an example using the STAR method to explain how you have demonstrated these skills. Even if you do not have much experience, you can use examples from volunteering, university assignments, sports, or university societies.

4: Fill in gaps in your skills

If you realise that you struggle to demonstrate some of the skills above, you may wish to consider getting some work experience or an internship, for at least a month before applying for a full-time graduate position.

Even though you are a recent graduate, employers will still expect you to have some work experience on your CV. You cannot rely on your degree alone to impress employers. The graduate job market is highly competitive, and you will be competing with thousands of graduates who will have a degree and a wealth of work experience under their belts. These graduates will be seen more favourably by graduate recruiters.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that you also have good digital skills. If you are not digitally fluent, check out our Digital Academy.

5: Redo your graduate CV 

Have you created a CV that highlights your achievements?

If you have been unemployed, looking for a graduate job for 3 months or more, and you have sent out several job applications but have not heard anything back, you probably need to redo your graduate CV.

Your CV is one of the most important documents you are ever likely to create in your career. The quality of your CV is the difference between hearing back and not.

Ensure that your CV has the following sections:

  • Personal statement
  • Key skills and achievements
  • Academic achievements
  • Non-academic achievements

For examples of good graduate CVs, get a copy of The Student Book.

6: Get professional careers advice 

Have you considered getting a careers coach? Maybe you envisioned getting one when you are much further in your career. However, it’s never too early to get a coach to help you to excel in your career. A graduate coach, is a coach who specialises in coaching university students and graduates.

A graduate coach can help you to:

  • Work out what career path is right for you
  • Create an achievement-based CV
  • Become interview confident
  • Gain work experience
  • Send out high-quality job applications
  • Negotiate your salary
    And more

Unemployed 3 months after university: summary 

At the 3 month mark, many graduates start to panic if they haven’t yet secured a graduate job despite sending out several applications. 

It might seem like 3 months is a long time to be searching for a job. However, be reassured that getting your first job after graduation will be the most difficult. As you gain more and more experience, your employability will increase and your job searches will become much easier. 

We hope this post has helped you if you have been unemployed for three months after graduation. Before you go, be sure to check out the following resources that will help you to land a graduate job: 

If you feel worried about getting a graduate job, remember, help is available, get in touch!

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