Graduate job hunting using LinkedIn

Written by Samantha Oates-Miller, Careers Insights and Graduate Support Assistant at the Careers Service and Hui Huang, MA Educational Leadership 2020, Research Executive at The Insights People

Hui graduated in December 2020 with a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from The University of Manchester. She now works as a Research Executive at Manchester-based market intelligence organisation. Here she discusses how she used LinkedIn to secure her graduate role.

“I come from China but I planned to work in the UK for a while after finishing my degree. As such, I started to apply for jobs in the UK from March 2020, several months before I graduated from The University of Manchester. I wanted to experience more of the British culture, as one year of graduate study was not enough for me! So, I was determined to stay in the UK.

At first, I applied to lots of big companies since they were most likely to offer me a Tier-2 visa. I searched for jobs on LinkedIn and official company websites. I targeted my applications, hoping to get a job as a Consultant. However, I failed some online tests, which made me feel low. After several rejections or not receiving any response from recruiters, I started to reach out via LinkedIn. I thought this would be my last chance to get a job in the UK.

Before lockdown, I went to the Careers Service to seek help from the Careers Consultants and to attend some of the workshops that they had on offer. One of these sessions was an alumni panel, where an alumni shared his own experiences of searching for graduate work; he encouraged people to reach out, build connections and connect with alumni in the sectors that you are interested in, as you would not lose anything. This encouraged me as I was feeling frustrated due to recent applications rejections. Therefore, I decided to continue with my hunt for a graduate job in the UK, but this time, utilising LinkedIn more. I also tried to encourage my friends or classmates who wanted to stay in the UK by saying, ‘Just reach out! You will not lose anything. Every time you reach out, send emails or send LinkedIn connection invitations to somebody, you should be proud of yourself, no matter what the results are because you’re making the effort to expand your network.’ This helped me stay motivated.

Months later, one of my invitations on LinkedIn was accepted. My new contact thought I was brave to reach out speculatively, and introduced me to the company where I wanted to work, which is a leading children’s marketing company based in Manchester. I got the job, and am now working as a Research Executive with kind and brilliant colleagues! At first I worked part time, but after finishing my degree I started full time.”

If you’ve been inspired by Hui’s success story, check out our website for more information on using LinkedIn, connecting with alumni and speculative job hunting. We also have lots of support for international students and graduates searching for work in the UK on our international careers pages.

Don’t forget, you can use the Careers Service for two years after you finish your degree, so ongoing support, guidance and information is available. Check out our graduate careers pages for more information.

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