The Truth About Graduate Job Hunting

10 mins

You’ve handed in your dissertation and sat your final exam, maybe burned your revision notes...

You’ve handed in your dissertation and sat your final exam, maybe burned your revision notes.

Now you’re just waiting for that piece of paper that defines the last three/four years of blood, sweat and – probably a lot of – tears.

All there is to think about is how many bottles of wine you need to buy and what you’re going to wear for graduation. Oh, and the small matter of deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life.

One minute you’re a part of something that gives your life structure and the next minute you’re left to fend for yourself, wondering what to do next. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Job hunting is stressful, so there are a few home truths you should know before you start your job hunt, and we’ve broken them down for you below.

Competition is high

It probably doesn’t come as a massive shock that you’re not the only person eager to find your first job after graduating – the market is super competitive so make sure you’re ready for some fierce competition.

Luckily, employers want to hire the person best suited to their company, which won’t always be the one with the highest grades or best CV. There are a lot of other things that factor in, like experience and attitude and you just need to wait until you find the company that fits perfectly.

Yes, competition is extremely high, it probably always will be, but don’t trust everything you read in the news. It doesn’t mean you won’t get the job you want. Recent government figures show the unemployment rate from 16+ is at its lowest for 25 years, so don’t panic and definitely don’t give up!

Working with a recruiter will make your life A LOT easier

Arguably an obvious one, but sign up to an agency like 3Search to help you in your job search. Recruiters work so closely with employers and know exactly what they are looking for.

Quite simply, recruiters likely know a lot more people than you do – a big part of their job is to network and secure roles with top-notch client on a daily basis. As a graduate, you may not even be considered if you go at it alone. Don’t take it personally, it’s likely down to the fact that there are far too many people to sift through for each and every vacancy that goes on the market.

This is where working with 3Search can help, our job is to build relationships with hiring managers and find the perfect person for the role. Our team will determine whether you’re the right candidate for the job and if you are that person, we’ll introduce you to some great businesses.

So, there’s no reason to not work with a recruiter really, it comes at no extra cost to you but will make the whole process a lot less stressful.

Still unsure on whether you should work with a recruiter? Check out a recent blog of ours to find out why you definitely should!

Employers might not get back to you

When employers have such a vast field to choose from, a CV and interview aren’t necessarily enough to distinguish you.

One of the worst parts of going to an interview is waiting for that ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to simply receive a blanket email telling you that ‘your application hasn’t been successful’ with no feedback as to why. We know this can seem super discouraging and just extremely annoying, but it is important to remain positive and motivated throughout.

Again, the help of a 3Search consultant is a great way to minimize your stress, because they should (and here we always do!) follow up with the hiring manager for feedback. Meaning you either get some constructive criticism or a job offer – it’s a win-win!

You need more than a degree

You have a degree, but now what?

Don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you that the last three years of your life have been a complete waste of time and tears, because that’s certainly not the case.

But you’re not the only person coming out of University with a degree, so you need something that differentiates you from every other graduate out there; having some sort of experience or skill, like an internship, isn’t necessary but it can really help you stand out from the crowd and boost your CV.

Uni isn’t only about learning skills in your specific chosen subject, you have likely learned a huge amount of transferable skills, so you might as well make the most of them!

Expect the unexpected

Some grads will come out of University thinking they know exactly what they want in their careers, while some have no idea whatsoever. Both are common and can make the job-hunting process extremely difficult.

Just because you don’t know exactly what you want to do, doesn’t mean you never will. Go to job interviews, do some research and you may find the perfect role a lot sooner than you’d expect.

It’s also important that you don’t narrow your options down too much by only applying for the roles you really want.

The job you thought you didn’t want might just surprise you. There are thousands of grads out there that have ended up working in fields completely unrelated to their studies, and most people don’t stay in the same job, or even sector, their entire lives.

You need to be patient and remember: you will get a job eventually. Just don’t give up, no matter how hard the job hunt feels – you’ve got this!

As much as we’d all love to accidentally fall into our dream job straight out of education, it probably won’t happen. Set yourself a target for the number of hours you should spend on searching or a number of applications you should submit daily. Don’t forget to give yourself some time off, we all know it can be extremely draining.

Ultimately, it is important to keep calm, most graduates are going through the exact same thing as you. So, if you get rejections, take it as a positive experience, learn what does and doesn’t work and make improvements accordingly, until you get that perfect role!


3Search is an award-winning UK recruitment consultancy, specialising in marketing, digital and creative tech positions. Whether you’re seeking new talent or looking for your next career move, we can help.

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