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Top tips on looking for a graduate job during the current economic climate


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The Graduate Labour Market is changing every day. It is so easy to become overwhelmed at the moment and it is hard to come to grips with the fact that it is going to be significantly harder for the Class of 2020 to get a job. However, there are things we can do as graduates to make our job search more positive.

Nottingham Trent University’s Employability Team have given me permission to publish some of their top tips when looking for a job during the current economic climate. All of the advice in this post has been provided by employability experts.

Image credit to Nottingham Trent University

Firstly, the job market is changing on a daily basis so keep an eye out on all sources of information! For example:

· LinkedIn

· Institute of Student Employers

· Prospects

· Target jobs

It is important to keep up to date with what is happening in the market. You will find that some employers are adapting their recruitment practices to ensure that their graduate scheme continues e.g. digital interviews.

Flexibility is also key during this time. You might want to consider broadening the industries that you’re interested in. Some sectors have been hit harder than others.

Also, in the short term, immediate temporary work in the key worker roles could be an option to boost your CV and build on your skills.

What is happening with the graduate labour market?

This data has been collected by the Institute of Student Employers. They were published at the start of lockdown therefore the information is being updated regularly.

· 42% of graduate employers are continuing to employ in the same way, however it might be that inductions have to be moved to an online platform.

· Employers may have frozen their programme and it will reopen at a later date.

· There is more uncertainty surrounding smaller companies.

· The sectors that are likely to hire sooner rather than later: Health and social care, infrastructure, logistics and IT roles.

· It might be an option to consider postgraduate study, however, think it through and make sure it is the right course for you.

· Some recruitment has moved online. Employers are adapting to ensure there are still job prospects e.g. online tests, interviews, virtual inductions.


Don’t let the constant flow of news overwhelm you! It is important to divide fact from fiction. Consider whether the article is up to date, is it relevant to what you want to do? Look at the particular company you’re wanting to go to rather than general news. The graduate market can look different to the school leavers market. Check if there is bias with the author AND make sure it is from a trusted source.

Tips to manage your job search:

1. Be proactive in lockdown! For example, use this time to update CV and Linked In profile.

2. Add new strengths and skills to your CV that you have gained from the current situation. For example: Working from home, using digital tools which might include Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

3. Build your employability and career development by taking part in free digital courses which can be found on sites such as Linked In Learning, Future Learn, The Skills Toolkit etc.

4. Employers will now ask you what you did in the lockdown period, therefore if you can say you built your profile by volunteering, doing online classes etc. it will stand you in good stead.

5. Take this time to research your career path or career ideas thoroughly to make sure it is what you want to do. If not look at the job market to see what other opportunities would appeal to you and your skill set.

6. The market is changing on a day by day basis so stay up to date!

7. Be patient – remember that companies have staff on furlough, or are working from home etc. However, if after 2-3 weeks you haven’t heard back from them about your application then send a professional and polite follow up email.

8. Keep checking job search websites!

9. This is a really challenging time – it might take you longer to get where you want to be but consider short- and long-term goals. Re-evaluate what your plan is for the coming year.

10. Consider broader options.

11. Employers are learning with you. Employers want to be able to make you a part of their business.

12. Setbacks are normal and they help you build resilience, learn and improve for the next opportunity that comes along.

As someone who has just finished their degree and is jumping headfirst into the graduate job market I know that it can be extremely negative and overwhelming. A lot of people had it all planned out and are now back to the drawing board.

Here are a few mindset tips to keep you positive and motivated during your job hunt:

· Don’t worry about the things that are out of your control – think about what you can influence!

· Think about what information is accessible to you right now e.g. what jobs are being advertised.

· Think about your mindfulness! E.g. breathing techniques, exercise, take breaks during the day, find what works for you.

· Reflect and take time to consider mindset. Take time to ensure that you are in a good place, with positive thinking comes positive outcomes. For every problem there will be a solution.

· Keep your goals in perspective. Make sure they are realistic and achievable. Think short- and long-term goals – don’t focus too much on finding the ‘perfect’ job just yet.

· There will be a series of unexpected decisions that you now have to make e.g. do you want to do a Masters, are you willing to temporarily change your career path? Think of the new opportunities that are available and consider widening your options.

· Be kind to yourself!

· Revaluate and reassess skill set e.g. use of technology. What have you gained during this time?

· Reduce your anxiety and stress by learning to adapt to the current situation.

· Give yourself a break from the news and social media.

· Think about healthy eating and making sure your sleeping patterns are good.

· A problem shared is a problem halved – talk to people about your worries!

Resources to look after wellbeing:

· Silver Cloud

· Action for Happiness

· NHS Advice

· Headspace

· Mental Health

· Samaritans

· Mind


Finally, don’t assume there is nothing to apply for. Try to apply as soon as possible as businesses might shut off their application process early if they are inundated, but remember to keep looking. As I have said previously the current situation is not permanent and is changing on a daily basis so make sure when job opportunities become available you are the first to know about them.

Thank you Nottingham Trent University for letting me post your top tips - all advice stated on this post is credited to the NTU employability team.


Good luck in your job search! If you found this article helpful please let me know via social media (Instagram @edit.byelizabeth & Twitter @editbyelizabeth)

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