So you’ve graduated from university and are officially entering the job market – good on ya!  For some people, finishing school and getting a real-life job is an exciting prospect, but for others it can be incredibly nerve wracking. From applying for positions, attending interviews and finally landing a job, here are a few tips to make your transition from university life to the job market a little bit easier.

Prep your CV and cover letter

When applying for a new job, pretty much every employer will request a copy of your CV and cover letter.  For some, these will be the only things you submit for your application.  It’s crucial you make sure your CV and cover letter are well put together, concise and contain all the relevant information. Yes, this means you might have to adapt your CV and cover letter for each position you respond to, but trust us when we say that it’s worth the extra time!  Employers are bound to notice if you’re using a generic cover letter, with nothing specifically tailoring it towards the position you’re applying for.  Also, take a few minutes to tighten up your CV and make sure everything is up-to-date before applying.  This will be your first impression on a company, so make it a good one!

Do your research

So you applied for the job and you actually have an interview – so far so good!  Next step, do some research. Before your interview, hit up Google and find out as much as you can about the company, their mission and the available position. If you know who’ll be conducting the interview, try to seek them out on LinkedIn to give yourself a little head-start. Doing some background research will leave you feeling prepared for the interview, and can also really help relieve your nerves! Plus, it makes a great impression if you share your newfound knowledge throughout your meeting.  If you’ve learned about a company’s history and comment on it, it’ll be clear that you’ve done your homework.  This is a good way to demonstrate your enthusiasm and preparedness for a position. 

At the end of almost every interview, the interviewer will ask the potential candidate if he or she has any questions – this is basically a given.  While conducting your research and preparing for your meeting, you may come across a few questions you’d like to ask.  This is the perfect time to get those questions answered, as well as anything else that’s playing on your mind.  You definitely should come up with something, even if it’s only about their own experience working for the company!  It’s unfortunate, but a lack of questions might come across as a lack of caring…

It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed

Okay, your application is in, the interview is set and you’ve done your research. Next step? Wardrobe. While many people think what you wear to the interview doesn’t matter, it might matter a great deal to the person conducting the interview. It’s best to ‘Err…’ on the side of caution the majority of the time, dressing formally for the purpose of an interview. That means no jeans, t-shirts, flip flops or excessive jewellry. If it’s a company with an informal vibe, again, it’s always better to overdress than it is to underdress. If it’s an informal startup and the boss wears jeans everyday, once you get the job you can dress down a bit while remaining work appropriate! But as previously mentioned, do your research and be prepared! When you’re contacted about the interview, you might be told to dress casually or comfortably, or if it’s a job in the fashion industry, to wear something you’d classify as your signature style. If you’re unsure, ask the interviewer about the office dress code. It all depends on the job and the company, but when in doubt, overdressing makes a much better impression than turning up too casual!

Don’t be too informal

So after all that, the application process, the interview and your perfect outfit, you nailed the job! Hopefully, your boss and coworkers are amazing people, who you work well with and actually really like. But even if your manager or director acts like your new best friend, don’t let your relationship become too casual. There’s nothing better than having a boss you respect, love to work for and get along fabulously with. That being said, no matter how cool they may be, it’s important you remember that they are still your boss! You can have great friendships with coworkers, all-the-while maintaining relationships that are work appropriate. This means no cussing, over-sharing your personal life or being inappropriate. If you work in an office that employs a lot of recent grads, all around the same age, it’s bound to be a really fun environment to work in. Maybe you even work for the same company as some of your university friends! Just remember to find the proper work and social-life balance, and save any stories about your crazy weekend for happy hour with your coworkers – outside of office hours of course, not during work!

Every opportunity becomes a networking opportunity

For most recent grads, the word networking becomes one of the most boring and repetitive…ever! But no matter how annoying, it really is a necessary evil, especially when transitioning from student life into the job force. Every person you meet in a work context becomes a potential networking opportunity. You may attend an interview and not get the job, but connect really well with the person conducting the interview. If this is the case, take time to call them after and thank them for their time. They’ll appreciate the sentiment and it also makes a really good impression.  Maybe you were a great fit for the company, but not that specific position. If something more suited to your expertise crops up later on, that person might contact you before advertising the job. By making the effort to network and reach out to people, you’re creating important connections you can benefit from long into the future!

Transitioning from university life to working full-time can be a challenge for recent graduates, but believe us – it’s totally possible! Just remember that finding a job can take time, so be patient in waiting for the right one to come along and try not to feel disheartened! Your career is on the cusp of great success, it just needs a little coaxing to kick things off.

Image via Shutterstock.

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

How to prepare for your IELTS exam

Studying abroad: How to convince your parents