find a graduate job you love

May 2, 2018, by Grace Pownall

Five Tips to Help You Find a Graduate Job with Your Dream Company

By Grace Pownall, final year, studying civil engineering

Way back in October 2015, right at the beginning of my second year, I wrote my first-ever careers blog post. For it I covered the civil engineering autumn careers fair. I went along with a particular goal in mind: to kick-start my search for the perfect summer placement. 

Little did I know that almost three years later I would still be writing for the Careers blog, and have a job lined up as a graduate structural engineer for straight after graduation. What’s more, that job would be with Arup, one of the companies I talked to at that first careers fair! So clearly, my first tip has to be:

1. Visit their stand at the careers fair

Careers fairs are definitely the best place to start your job hunt. Companies literally come to your doorstep with the intention of finding candidates to fill their available positions. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to introduce yourself.

If there’s a company you’re particularly keen on, do a bit of research before you visit their stand to show them that you’re interested and aren’t just talking to them to nab a free pen or bag of sweets. (Although there are also lots of these to be had once the serious talking is over!)

careers fair freebies

I chatted to several employees at the Arup stand and even added one of the recruiters on LinkedIn afterwards to keep in touch.

2. Engage at events

Employer presentations give you a chance to learn about a company in more detail. Particularly what their application process is like and what they are looking for from you.

Pay attention, ask questions, and make sure you mention that you attended the event on your application. If you’re really dedicated, attend a networking breakfast event and show you have the ability to get up early – key for most ‘9-5’ jobs! More tips from me on this topic here.

3. Do your research

Being aware of opportunities is really important if you want to stand out. I followed Arup on Twitter and LinkedIn. I also reviewed my own use of these channels, as they are a great way to demonstrate your commercial awareness, professional interests and show your interest in the company.

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4. Go the extra mile

You can also watch out online to see if the company you’re interested in is holding any events at their offices. These kind of events are real chance to make a good impression. You will get to meet both graduates and recruiters over several hours, which also makes it a more relaxed experience.

Although networking can be a bit terrifying at first – read advice on how I navigated the experience here  – the more you practise, the easier it gets. Last term I travelled to London to attend a networking event called ‘Future Female Engineers‘, where I met loads of inspiring engineers and students, as well as seeing what the Arup HQ looked like.

5. Get work experience with them

I was lucky enough to spend two summer placements working as an undergraduate structural engineer, which I wrote about on the blog here.

Not only did these help me get valuable experience for my CV, but they also gave me a real feel for the company and I made many valuable connections. These experiences definitely helped when applying for a graduate role – and ultimately, I was successful!

Are you graduating this year and looking to find a graduate job you will love? Discover lots of careers support on our website. We’re also hosting the Graduate Jobs Fair on Monday 11 June when lots of employers are coming onto campus with opportunities targeted at you. 

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