Employability is a common concern for graduates and young professionals, especially considering the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the jobs market.

There’s no shortage of career advice out there, but what do you need to know about looking for a graduate job in today’s landscape? Read on for our key graduate career tips.

1. Stay resilient

Paul Chen, former Finance Associate Manager at Page Personnel, co-panelled a webinar, COVID-19 and Career: How to stay relevant during uncertain times, as part of The University of Queensland’s Young Professionals Series.

Chen graduated from UQ at the end of 2012 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Major in Finance). The key piece of advice he gave during the webinar discussion was to be resilient.

“Remember you are not alone – we are all in this situation together,” Chen said. “You might not land your dream job right now so focus on five to 10 companies you want to apply for and keep them on your radar and keep applying for those roles – everyone’s career path and journey is different.”

2. Highlight your transferable skills

In the current climate, you must be strategic when applying for graduate jobs. Without a lot of industry expertise, it’s crucial to learn how to translate, frame and market your transferable skills using terms that your future employer will value and appreciate. These could be skills you picked up at university, in a casual job, work experience, or during extracurricular activities such as volunteering. Essential transferable skills include:

  • Communication

  • Organisation and time management

  • Motivation and enthusiasm

  • Initiative

  • Teamwork

  • Leadership

  • Problem solving

  • Flexibility

  • RELATED: 3 important transferable skills for your career

    3. Follow through with your job applications

    Although the jobs market is slowly bouncing back from the impacts of the pandemic, it will continue to be a highly competitive employment landscape for some time. As such, it’s important to make all your job applications count. Apply for roles where your interests and skills are aligned. Also be sure to follow up on your applications with a call or email if you haven’t heard back after a few days – it could be what it takes to land you an interview, particularly as communication and connection have become so crucial in this time of working from home and isolation.

    RELATED: A simple guide for writing a follow-up email

    4. Use this time to invest in yourself

    If you find yourself applying for job after job with no luck, take advantage of beginning a passion project or side gig that you’ve always wanted to start, or engage in volunteer work.

    While it may not necessarily be linked to your dream job, it demonstrates to future employers and hiring managers that you are motivated, self-driven and entrepreneurial. Relevant upskilling and personal development will strongly assist with your chances of success in your future job search.

    RELATED: A guide to upskilling for professionals: why, how and where

    5. Work on your personal brand

    Use this time to also step back to assess your personal brand, and whether you need to reposition yourself in a way that opens you up to a broader range of job opportunities. Really question: Have you represented yourself and your skills in the best light possible? Does this genuinely speak to your personality, work ethic and potential? You may realise you’ve been pitching yourself incorrectly this entire time so invest the time into properly aligning your personal brand to the real you.

    Once you’ve clarified and developed your personal brand, inject this into your CV and cover letter, ensuring that you tailor them to each role you apply for. Don’t forget to do the same with your LinkedIn profile. Give yourself the best representation possible in this highly competitive job market.

    6. Be more proactive with your job applications

    A poorly written, or generic, resume and cover letter will not land you an interview nor a job in this climate. If anything, you should be investing greater effort into these two important documents to ensure you stand out.

    When applying for grad jobs, you can even try other less traditional avenues: pick up the phone, find out who you can speak to about roles, or network your way into a role. Again, it’s about thinking outside the box and being strategic.

    RELATED: How to tailor your resume to a job description

    7. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

    Don’t hesitate to leverage your network and reach out to industry professionals for their advice. Their insights will assist your job search and help you to target companies that are currently hiring, or have intentions to resume recruiting again soon. This is also a vital step in building professional relationships and laying the groundwork for a successful long-term career.

    Ready to find a job? Explore our current opportunities or talk to our specialist recruitment consultants today.

    The University of Queensland’s Young Professionals Series, COVID-19 and Career: How to stay relevant during uncertain times webinar, was held in June 2020.
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