How amazing would it be to secure yourself a graduate job offer before graduation?
Picture yourself graduating with a good degree and starting off your graduate life with a top job.
You can make this dream a reality. However, you’ll have to put in a lot of work to make it happen.
In this post, we will share some top tips on how to get a graduate job before graduating.
#1: Engage with potential employers
Graduate employers want to attract top talent. In fact, they invest time and money in building up talent pipelines made up of students in their first year of university onwards.
There will be several opportunities to engage with graduate recruiters.
Tip: Don’t rely solely on your university to advertise these opportunities. Be proactive and seek opportunities to meet and engage with recruiters. Here are some ways to engage with graduate recruiters.
Graduate Careers Fairs
A careers fair is an event that brings together employers and recruiters with potential employees.
You will have the opportunity to attend careers fairs at your university or externally.
Visit your university’s career site to see if there are any upcoming careers fairs being hosted at your university.
Conduct some research online to see if there are any upcoming graduate careers fairs that are being hosted externally.
You may want to start by checking out:
Getting first-hand insights from recruiters will inform you of opportunities and help you to send higher-quality applications. These insights can help to boost your chances of getting a graduate job before graduating.
Many companies that hire graduates each year host open days or open evenings for prospective employees.
Open days are generally structured and involve panel interviews, speeches from members of staff and recent graduates and application advice sessions.
It is a good idea to attend these open days because you’ll:
- Gain insights that will give you a competitive edge
- Learn tips for your application
- Have the opportunity to ask questions
- Be told when the applications open for summer internships, placement years and graduate schemes
Be proactive and find relevant networking events to attend.
Many students feel apprehensive about attending networking events, however, you will become more comfortable with the concept of networking the more you do it.
You never know who you might meet when networking! You could end up landing a graduate job before graduating through someone you’ve got to know whilst at university.
Sometimes it’s not about who you know, but who you get to know.
Some graduate recruiters host webinars online to connect with students and graduates who are prospective employees.
These webinars are usually held during the graduate recruitment application window. Check out our post on when to start looking for graduate jobs for more information on the recruitment application window for students and graduates.
Social media is a great way to connect and engage with graduate recruiters.
Many of the top graduate recruiters have active Twitter accounts. Here are some examples of companies that have Twitter accounts where they post information about student and graduate opportunities:
Following these accounts on social media will help you to stay informed of application deadlines, tips and upcoming events.
#2: Gain work experience
We cannot stress the importance of getting work experience enough.
During your time at university, you will have several opportunities to gain work experience.
Work experience will help you to gain and develop key employability skills. Graduate recruiters will be looking for evidence of these skills.
Being able to demonstrate how you have gained transferable skills will drastically improve the quality of your applications.
Some students focus solely on achieving good grades. Whilst grades are important, they won’t help you to stand out amongst the competition.
Work experience can significantly boost your chances of getting a job offer before graduation.
Here are some ways that you can gain work experience:
Shadowing involves observing a professional in their job to gain a better understanding of their role.
Students and graduates shadow professionals when they want to see if a particular role is suitable for them.
After shadowing for a few days students and graduates will be in a better position to make informed decisions about the direction of their career.
Shadowing experiences differ from internships as they are generally unpaid and informal.
Work experience placements
Work experience placements generally last 1-2 weeks.
Completing a work experience placement will give you hands-on experience. Working on tasks under supervision will help you to develop core employability skills.
Not all work experience placements are advertised so sometimes you will need to proactively seek opportunities. This may involve sending your CV and cover letter speculatively to employers that you are interested in.
The majority of companies that offer graduate jobs also offer summer internships.
Summer internships are incredibly competitive, however, if you manage to get yourself a place on a summer internship, you will significantly boost your chances of getting a graduate job offer before graduation.
This is because during your summer internship at a large company you will be assessed for your suitability for graduate programmes.
Summer internship programmes at larger companies are usually reserved for students who have finished their second year of university.
If you don’t get a place on a structured summer internship at a large company, apply for less structured internships at smaller companies. At smaller companies, you may be able to get an internship after your first year of university or your second year.
Summer internships will give you the opportunity to be immersed within a company’s culture and to develop your skills.
Placement years/ Industrial placement
Some university courses give you the option of completing a placement year or industrial placement as a part of your degree.
Students usually take their placement year after their second year of university.
Doing a placement year will give you a massive competitive advantage when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. This is because you will have gained a year of experience and received training.
After taking a placement year, you will be much more employable and you will have lots of real-life examples to demonstrate your skills in interviews.
It is a good idea to get a part-time job whilst you are studying. As well as gaining transferable skills you will also learn how to effectively manage your time.
Graduate recruiters will be looking for evidence of your ability to manage your time well.
If you are thinking of getting a part-time job that you can fit around your studies, you can start by seeing if there are any vacancies at your university.
#3: Take part in extra-curricular activities
It is a good idea to come across as being an all-rounder. Graduate recruiters will be interested in candidates who have broader interests outside of academics.
Adding extra-curricular experiences to your CV will help you to stand out. Furthermore, these experiences will give you more experiences to talk about during your job interviews.
Here are some examples of extra-curricular activities:
Volunteering is a great way to give back to society whilst gaining new experiences.
Whilst you are at university, you will gain several opportunities to get involved in volunteering activities.
You can also find volunteering opportunities on sites such as:
Volunteering can help you to gain a wide range of transferable skills. You could also find a volunteering opportunity that gives you experience that is relevant to the type of job you’d like to pursue after university.
Here are some benefits of volunteering whilst you are at university:
- Enhances your CV and helps you to stand out
- Helps you to gain new experiences and skills
- Gives you the opportunity to meet new people and build your network
Becoming a member of a society
From freshers week, you will be encouraged to join societies. There are several types of student societies that you can join whilst at university such as:
- Academic societies
- Cultural societies
- Faith-based societies
- Special interest societies
- Career-based societies
Attending society meetings on a frequent basis will help you to meet new people and enrich your university experience.
Taking up a leadership role within a society such as being the president or vice president will help you to stand out when applying for graduate jobs.
Pursue your hobbies
When your workload gets heavy, it can be easy to drop your hobbies. However, if you manage your time effectively, you’ll be able to enjoy your hobbies whilst pursuing your degree.
#4: Get a Copy of The Student Book
The Student Book was written by Chris Davies, the founder of Graduate Coach.
The book contains everything you need to know to get the job you really want.
Topics include: writing achievement-based CVs, working out what job are right for you and identifying your key skills and attributes.
Here’s a testimonial from a candidate we helped to get a graduate-level job.
The book is laid out in an easy to follow format and is designed to help students to get a job offer before graduation.
#5: Craft an achievement-based CV
Getting your graduate CV right is vital.
Graduate recruiters will scan your CV looking for evidence of your key skills.
Some tips for writing your CV whilst you are at university
- Be sure to highlight your key employability skills
- Use bullet points to give examples of how you gained and developed your skillset
- Include your university name course and predicted grade in the education section
- Utilise CV templates
- include your extracurricular activities and achievements
#6: Optimise your Linkedin profile
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to getting a graduate job offer.
You can use Linkedin to:
- Search for graduate and entry-level jobs
- Connect with recruiters and hiring managers that you meet at networking events
- Stay in touch with your peers and colleagues
- Search job titles that you are interested in to find out the skills and experiences recruiters are looking for
Recruiters also use a paid version of LinkedIn called LinkedIn recruiter to find suitable candidates.
Therefore, it is important that your profile is updated and demonstrates your competencies.
#7: Practise online tests
The majority of the most competitive graduate schemes will require you to complete online tests.
Some candidates struggle with these online tests. To improve your performance on these tests, complete practise tests and take the time to understand what the employer is looking for.
- Use Graduate Benchmark to find out your strengths and weaknesses when completing aptitude tests. Graduate Benchmark was created by Assessment Day and TargetJobs.
#8: Learn how to perform highly in interviews
Learning how to perform highly in interviews is a vital life-long skill.
Many students and graduate find interviews difficult. This is because we are not given adequate interview training during our academic career.
During the application process for graduate jobs you may be required to complete several interviews including:
- Telephone interviews
- Video interviews
- face-to-face interviews
Knowing how to nail these different types of interviews will boost your chances of getting a job offer.
We have put together an online interview course called Nail That Interview.
The course has been designed to help you to refine your interview technique and to feel more confident during your interviews.
#9: Get a Graduate Coach
A graduate careers coach will help you to do more than get a full-time graduate job. A graduate coach will
- Ensure that you get the right graduate job for you
- Help you to discover your career path
- Mentor you once you’ve started working
- Help you to build your confidence and self-esteem
Here at Graduate Coach, we have been helped over 500 students and graduates to get their dream jobs.
We have helped a large number of students who were keen to get a graduate job offer before graduation to achieve this and more.
Getting a job offer before graduation
Thanks for taking to read this post! We hope the advice we shared will help you to achieve your goal of getting a graduate job offer before graduation.
The graduate job market is extremely competitive, so taking the actions mentioned in this blog post as soon as possible will help you to boost your chances of success.