If you have left university it doesn’t mean that you have missed the boat for graduate jobs. Many employers have several recruitment points during the year, and many recognise that there are some final-year students who choose to concentrate on getting a good result and defer their job search until after finals. However, compared with your situation when you were a student, there are some key differences that you need to tackle in order to manage your graduate plan.
If you are working full-time you may find it more difficult to have time off for interviews, and consequently feel less motivated to keep on with your job search. Think about how best you can use these days off, take unpaid leave or offer to work extra shifts to make up for lost time.
After university, I worked part-time for a year and did work experience on my days off. It was great because I built up quite a bit of experience in a short space of time. However, I wanted to earn more money so I could continue supporting myself through work experience and save up for a postgraduate course. So the year after that, I worked full-time and used my holiday allowance for work experience and networking opportunities. I also took unpaid leave to intern at a national magazine.
Keep in touch with your university careers service. Are you on their email distribution list? Have you let them know that you are still working on your graduate plan and welcome their help? Are they running any workshops to help you into work? I visited a university careers service a few months ago just for reassurance and further advice. The advisors were more than happy to talk to me and were impressed that I still had a plan of action 2 years after graduating. Even if you feel like you are losing focus, go and see an advisor and you’ll be surprised at how re-motivated you’ll feel afterwards.
Keep a record of the skills and experiences you are developing through the job you are currently doing. Graduates in direct-entry jobs often get early responsibility, so think about what being a bar-supervisor or shop manager means for your future employability. Don’t underestimate shop floor or call centre experience either- verbal communication, teamwork and commercial awareness are all essential skills in any workplace.