Land a job straight after graduation.

So you’ve done the hard yards. The all-nighters. The sh*tty group assignments. The public speaking presentations. The internships. The extra-curricular activities. The volunteer positions.

The last three years has turned you into a bitter, aged-beyond-your-years, drinking only black coffee, almost-graduate (only joking) (maybe).

Yes. Graduation is right around the corner and you’ve realised there’s one last test waiting for you – landing a full-time job.

If you’ve clicked on this article, congratulations – you are ahead of the game. Why? Because you’re *thinking* about how you can land a role, rather than expecting it to happen.

But be warned – this isn’t one of those “land a full-time job in 4 steps” articles. This is a #NoFilter, realistic, in-your-face, practical article that will have you re-thinking your university-to-landing-a-job strategy or even helping you create one.

Below, you’ll find a checklist of all the things you need to consider and plan while you’re still at uni!

1// Landing a job takes. time. I’m not disregarding articles that encourage you to apply for internships (read here), or amp up your enterprise skills (read here), or to network (read here).

What I’m saying is – none of these things will speed up the process they make you stronger candidate.

Which means you a) need to not set yourself a deadline of when you have to land a job b) create a realistic timeline of when you need to have your eggs in order to be able to start applying for jobs c) take into account recruitment periods (busy vs slow).

2 // Be strategic. Sure you can start applying for jobs on a whim, tailoring your cover letter here and there and crossing your fingers. OR. You can be savvy about it by setting up a strategy.

a) What date can you realistically start your role? Bear in mind that companies will be more than willing to interview you before you actually finish university, if you can demonstrate the likeliness of your graduation.

Therefore in most cases you can apply for graduate programs, graduate roles and normal full-time positions pending a smooth graduation!

b) Is your resume up-to-date, clear and concise? While your cover letter should almost always be tweaked prior to submitting it for a job, your resume is one part of the application that you can completely finalise and tick off the list prior to beginning your search!

c) Have you identified what industry and job role you’d ideally like to work in? This. is. a. big. one. You will be wasting valuable time scrolling through Seek for hours if you don’t know what you want – yes, this is where those internships come into play.

Think about what you like doing, identify your strengths, management preferences, company structure and your weaknesses. All of these factors affect what job role you should be looking at. For example, if you like working in web design/coding/IT, it doesn’t make sense to apply for a junior communications role – UNLESS the job position specifically states there will be aspects of these tasks in your role.

3 // Be honest with yourself and your potential employer. Do you want a full-time job as soon as you graduate? Do you need a break before you go straight into one? There is no correct answer to either of those questions, it will depend entirely on YOU.

For example, I went straight from graduation into a full-time role. Yes, I wanted a full-time job straight away! BUT I also had a holiday planned PRIOR to beginning my job search (I was one of those graduates).

What did this mean?

> I was applying for roles steadily 3 months prior to graduating. I was projected to graduate in July, therefore I was applying from April.

> Although I started applying for roles early in April, I did not land my first interview until mid May – (an example of how long this process takes).

> I was 100% transparent with Lisa in my interview on the fact that I had a 2 week holiday planned in September (10 business days) knowing that it may well jeopardise my chances in progressing to a 2nd round interview.

> My starting date for the position was before my last assessment for university was submitted (again, your graduation date shouldn’t hold you back from when you start applying).

4 // The ‘real world’ isn’t just a pun.

Yes we all like to joke about graduating and entering ‘the real world’. But I didn’t TRULY believe juggling university and part-time work was that different to working full-time until it actually began. For example –

Things you will enjoy once you start your full-time role:

> Having a consistent day-to-day schedule AKA a routine *gasp*.

> Your pay package and benefits.

> Every day you are investing in your career (goodbye part-time chocolate store job – yes it helped but I wasn’t looking to be a chocolatier).

Things you will miss:

> Those random sleep-ins you gave yourself when you didn’t want to go to a lecture.

> Sleep, social life, productivity: choose two.

A need to understand ‘Real world’ processes:

> Get some advice on your Super, because once you start your full-time role, you need to know where your money is going!!

> Get some advice on your Tax or better yet, hire an Accountant to help you once tax-time swings around.

> Understand when you’ll start paying your HECS debt back – the ATO is your best contact for this!

> Don’t be afraid to ask your employer questions about things that are completely new to you i.e. your leave, sick-pay, employee benefits or workers compensation.   

My advice? Take it easy on yourself. You will probably be tired for the first few months; and yep you will definitely have to sacrifice weekday catch-ups with your friends while you build a routine that works for you; and sometimes you will question why you ever wanted to leave the ‘safety’ of uni. BUT, don’t forget how much work you put in to get where you are today … and as an added benefit, you no longer have to tick ‘student’ on any forms *crowd cheering*.

Hustle hard, you got this!!!