The Graduate Perspective: 8 tips for securing a job in 2021

Written by Samantha Oates-Miller, Careers Insights and Graduate Support Assistant at The Careers Service

Looking for a job at any time can be difficult, but this year is especially challenging. After graduating from my MA in 2020, I have navigated virtual job hunting during the pandemic, and now have a job at UoM. These are my eight top tips for graduates who are looking for a job in 2021:

  1. Don’t panic. The current global situation makes job searching seem daunting, but there are things you can do to make it easier.
  2. Take the time to update your CV and tailor it to specific roles. A polished CV will help you stand out in applications. Another good tip is to use LinkedIn; networking and connecting with industries you are interested in can give you early access to vacancies, insights into companies and career pathways and see what other alumni are doing.
  3. Consider upskilling by completing an online course or joining a virtual work experience programme if you have some spare time. These will not only boost your CV and give you great experience to talk about in applications and interviews, but they can also help ease lockdown boredom.
  4. Create a schedule. Set a target of the number of applications you want to complete each week and divide your days to ensure you have enough time to apply for each one. Save copies of your answers to application questions to speed up future application forms. A spreadsheet may be useful tool, detailing the roles you have applied for, along with any training or work experience you have signed up for and the deadlines you need to meet.
  5. Sign up for vacancy alerts to keep on top of new opportunities. Set the parameters you are interested in on several job-search websites and then you will receive emails for new matching roles, allowing you to use your time more effectively. The Careers website has several tips for finding roles, including the Manchester Graduate Talent scheme, which places new graduates in one year internships either at the University or within small Manchester based businesses.
  6. When you start applying for roles, remember to celebrate small wins. It’s important to stay motivated and recognise even your smaller achievements. Made your quota for the week? Got through to the next stage of applications? Celebrate it!
  7. Prepare. So you got that big virtual interview and you’re feeling nervous? Try using the Shortlist.Me interview practice software to help you know what to expect. Before your interview, make sure that your mic and camera work, you have a plain background and there is enough light. During the interview, talk clearly and remember to pause for video delays. Find out more about how to prepare for online, video or telephone interviews here.
  8. Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t get an interview immediately. The current jobs market is very competitive, but by following these tips, you can improve your chances and make the process easier. Find out more about how to navigate a competitive job market and tips to help you bounce back after rejection.

Remember, if you need any more support throughout the whole process, you can continue to access the Careers Service now, and for two years after you have completed your course. Find out more about your graduate careers support package, book a careers guidance appointment or get application advice to help you get started.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us:

Good luck!

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