Your university years will pass by faster than you think, and before you realise, you’re a couple of months away from graduating! It’s not always easy to immediately figure out what you want to do after graduating, and for most people, it takes them a while to find the ‘right’ job for them. As someone who just graduated with a Computer Science degree and found my first full-time job as a software engineer in the finance sector, here are some things from my experience that I wish I knew before job hunting:
1. It helps to take some time to narrow down your search, if you don’t exactly know what you’re looking for,
Most job listing websites have a filter that can specifically help you do this. Look at the different sectors and industries out there, and figure out which ones excite you the most. It’s helpful if you can use keywords relating to the roles you’re interested in. I was mostly interested in roles within technology, so I used keywords like ‘Software Engineer Graduate’ in my search, and set up email alerts for when new jobs relating to the keyword are posted.
2. Ideally, you should try to keep an open mind when searching for jobs.
You might not get the perfect job the first time around, but it’s the experience and the steps you take to get where you want to be that counts. Be open to roles that don’t exactly meet your requirements but are still related to what you want to do. I personally didn’t think I would be working in finance in the beginning, but there are lots of software engineering positions within the sector that would allow me to get the same valuable experience I would’ve hoped for.
3. Gain experience where possible
If you are in first or second year, it’s a good idea to try to take on internships over the summer to find out what might be right for you and build up your CV at the same time. Alternatively, working on your own project is also experience that you can put on your CV as well. This gives you a chance to try different things to find out what you like and don’t like. Having these experiences, whether within university or outside will also help you through the interview process and give you something to talk about when answering questions.
4. Take time to do your research
You will find that company research, searching for roles, and interview prep will take more time than the actual job application, but these are all important in a successful job hunt. If you have the chance, talk to recruiters, employees, and graduates that are working at a company you’re interested in. Ask about their experience at the company and what their day at work might look like. This is the best way to get to know the company better and to find out what the job entails, as well as getting tips for their interviews.
5. Be organised and keep track of your applications
It can get very overwhelming if you apply to multiple jobs at once, and it’s easy to forget which stage you’re in once you’ve applied for a job. One of the best things I did to keep my applications organised was to make a spreadsheet with all the jobs I was interested in, including details such as the position title, deadlines, application status, and links to the application so I could easily access them. This will save you a headache and make the process much easier to deal with.
Those are all my tips for finding the right job for you after university. I want to emphasise that this process is different for everyone and it’s okay to not immediately know what you want to do. Take your time to do your research and explore different options. Good luck and all the best in the search for your first job!