Venatrix Talent Manager Alex O’Brien’s tips for making sure you’re in charge of your future

After end-of-exam celebrations and the glory of graduation, hunting for your first graduate job can be a profoundly sobering experience. We’ve all been there- scrolling through hundreds of adverts for candidates with at least two years’ experience (how exactly are you supposed to get the experience?!); waiting to hear back from businesses whose rejection policy is to ghost unsuccessful applicants and hope they get the message, and being astonished by quite how boring jobs can be.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Looking for your first job should be exciting and empowering- you’re taking the first steps in the career that will shape your life! Here are some ways you can take control of your job search, and make sure you’re applying for things you’re passionate about.

Use the phone- and pick it up when people call you

I got my job at Venatrix because I rang the office directly, and I think you should pick up the phone too. In this generation of emails and texts and WhatsApps, lots of people hate the phone- actually speaking to someone requires a level of engagement far beyond that of writing a quick email, and getting a phone call can be quite panic-inducing. But employers (who, remember, tend to be from the time before phone calls were a strange and intrusive way to communicate) love candidates who call them. Phoning in is a great way to distinguish yourself, amid stiff competition, as a proactive candidate who’s serious about getting a job. If you’re interested in jobs that suit outgoing people with strong relationship-building skills- in Sales, Events, Customer Services, Marketing or Advertising- phoning in is a great way to demonstrate you’ve got what it takes. Finally, talking to someone directly reduces the possibility of your CV getting lost in the ether- the person you’ve spoken to will be expecting your application, and less likely to lose it in a jumble of emails when it arrives.

Submit speculative CVs to the companies you love

The fact that a company doesn’t have any roles advertised on its website doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not hiring- the CEO might have ‘find Marketing assistant’ written somewhere on an endless to-do list, or be contacting potential applicants directly. Sending your CV to a company you’d like to work for allows you to demonstrate all the same qualities of energy and dedication as phoning them does. It also provides the perfect opportunity for you to write enthusiastically about why you’d like to work there, demonstrating why you’d be a great brand ambassador. Make sure you write a killer email to accompany your CV.

Send follow-up emails after interviews

After each interview you attend, leave a lasting positive impression, and demonstrate your tenacity, by emailing the interviewers to say how much you enjoyed the opportunity to meet them and discuss the role, and how excited you are at the possibility of working for them.

Make yourself a great LinkedIn page, and make your Facebook private

Before they take a chance on a fresh graduate with no experience, it makes sense that companies will want to know as much about them as possible. Make sure your online presence is a positive one by updating your LinkedIn with a professional picture, a bio outlining your skills and experience, your degree results and any work experience.

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