3 Things I Wish I Knew When Applying for Jobs After University

BY Emily Wallace |

Excuse the reflective nature of this article. Perhaps it’s the fact that I attended countless events this week and my mind is buzzing or maybe the fact it’s Friday afternoon and I’m feeling very reflective of my week.


My role at Readygrad is mainly focussed around seeking out companies who are looking to host interns. The nature of this role involves meeting decision makers and engaging with people who are well on their corporate journey.


This week however, I have had an insight into the world of graduates and it was almost like taking a trip back down memory lane. Through attending these events aimed at educating students about their future careers, I met hundreds of graduates who simply seemed overwhelmed and did not have a clue on what they wanted to do.


Some years ago, I was in the exact same position. I had my degree and my CV in hand, but I had no idea what I actually wanted to do. To help you have the upper hand, let me share with you three things I wish someone had told me before I graduated.


1. A degree is a degree

When a potential employer is reviewing CVs, yes they will take a look at what you studied. But if you asked a recruiter if they have preference of someone with a double degree verses a single degree – the answer tends to be a ‘no’.


2. Never chase after a company just because it is ‘well known’

After attending these events and speaking with hundreds of students, it seems that a large majority of them wanted to gain employment at one of the Big Four. Don’t get me wrong, these firms do fantastic things for graduates but if the reason you are seeking a role there is purely because they are one of the Big Four, you are making a big mistake. Have you ever considered the logic behind being tactical in securing your first role? There are small to medium sized companies which are looking to invest in their young professional for the long term and can give graduates broad exposure to several parts of the business.


3. Your attitude speaks volumes 

Trust me, you can have a transcript covered in High Distinction marks, but if you have a poor attitude or an attitude of entitlement, a company will look elsewhere. Your attitude, your sense of commitment and your drive to succeed absolutely has to shine through if you want to have the best shot at kick-starting your career. I cannot stress enough how important this is and unfortunately, attitude is not something you can teach. The only person who can influence your attitude, is you!


These are the three things I wish someone had told me and they are key things that I have worked out along the way in my career.


In order to excel, you must know yourself, what you want and how you are going to get there.


But how do I know what I want? Great question – I believe the only way to truly know is through experience. As a soon-to-be or fresh graduate, consider the investment of completing an internship to get that experience and connection with mentors in your industry of interest.

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