Many students go through university with one goal in mind – to land their dream job after graduation. But, with over 500,000 students graduating each year in the UK, it is fair to say that the job market can be quite competitive. While a qualification will certainly help in your job search, there is more to landing a job than a degree.

As the class of 2019 continue to navigate their way into the world of full-time employment, Fresh Student Living provides eight ways young adults can help boost their employability and maximise their job prospects.

What companies want the most?

Research already shows that most companies and sectors want to see achievements and characteristics in addition to qualifications. These could include soft skills like excellent communication, being a team player, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, problem solving, adaptability and willingness to learn, all of which are essential skills in the workplace.

How to boost your employability and stand out from the competition

  1. Get involved

Participation in societies at university can not only help develop any existing skills and talents but can also lend a hand to determining a career path that may not have been considered previously. Whether it’s sport, music, dance, culture or volunteering university is the perfect place for young adults to tap into their interests and show off skills.

Employers prefer well-rounded graduates who are involved and has some leadership qualities.

  1. Keep your grades up

An obvious one, but a good grade/class will always be more desirable to potential employers.

Granted academics are not always a priority with all industries. However, some companies and employers do want a minimum degree classification, and unfortunately, reflect applications that do not meet their entry criteria.

Employers do value a good grade as it can help to convince them of being a hard worker and the ability to excel under pressure and in a role.

  1. Gain some work experience

Gaining some work experience during while at university can put you ahead in terms of employment opportunities. Whether it is a part-time job, an internship or a placement, practical experience gained will not only aid development of skills but could lead to a permanent job offer in the organisation after graduation.

Many employers want to see some experience related to the field you wish to enter.

  1. Network and use LinkedIn to elevate career prospects

It is important to network, not just online but in real life as well. Networking is one of the best ways to make professional connections which could benefit career prospects in the future. Attending career fairs, utilising LinkedIn and following people within desired fields can all help to stay on top of industry news.

Building out and optimising your LinkedIn profile is an invaluable method that can put you in the eyes of the right people, and also provide you with a professional platform to engage with companies are brands you want to work with.

In the modern era, your digital footprint can make or break a career opportunity – keep LinkedIn profiles up to date with professional and educational achievements, and ensure that personal social media accounts never contain a prospective employer shouldn’t see.

  1. Research the job market

Industries approach recruitment differently, so research should always be conducted for companies of interest and applications tailored to it. Some of the top companies for graduate employment will have strict closing dates, so keep track of these, so you don’t miss out.

Timing is everything when it comes to applications – take note of closing dates but remember these aren’t set in stone as some companies close applications early when they have enough applicants to shortlist.

  1. Be flexible

Flexibility will help expand your job pool. Try not to be too hard-headed when it comes to the job you want and be more flexible to other options. Always consider a role that is close to your ‘dream job’ as it can help get your foot in the door of that industry or company.

Be flexible when it comes to companies, location and roles, and you might find your dream job.

  1. Persevere

81% of students admit feeling pressured to find a job within the first six months of graduating, but with so much competition, rejection can be inevitable and is something many people face on a regularly.

It is easy to get frustrated and discouraged, but don’t lose hope if your application is rejected – there are many opportunities out there.

  1. Confidence is key

With any job interview, employers look for confidence as well as skills and achievements you may have mentioned within the application or listed on your CV. If you don’t get offered the job, ask for feedback on your performance and apply it to your next interview.

Confidence in yourself and your skills will attract employers as much as your credentials will, even if you don’t meet all the job requirements.

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