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Six ways to prepare for your first graduate job

Two students wearing hard hats and safety glasses standing in a engineering lab.
Preparations for your graduate job begin while at uni.

It’s never too early to begin preparing for the job hunt. Follow these tips to give yourself a better chance to be recruited.

1. Seize the day

The days of browsing online jobs boards are long gone. Today you must have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and make as many connections as you can – right from the start of your studies.

Only thirty percent of positions are found through job adverts in Western Australia, so word-of-mouth counts for a lot.

Careers Advisor at ECU Gina Susca says don’t wait for the job to come to you, search it out yourself.

“Most people find work through ‘happenstance’. That is, being at the right place at the right time.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know. Not all jobs are advertised and students need to tap into the hidden job market,” she says.

2. Be prepared

It’s never too early to start your job search. The general advice is to always be actively looking because you might miss a great opportunity. Some times of the year are slower than others, especially holiday season.

“There’s no right or wrong time to be looking. Be creative when job hunting.

“Old fashioned ‘cold-canvassing’ is quite acceptable in most industries, so be pro-active, even if you still have part of your degree to complete,” says Gina.

This includes researching key people in an organisation and emailing or calling them to enquire about opportunities, or offering to send your CV.

Six people sitting at a table with a laptop, pens and paper.
Tailor your CV to appeal to a specific role.

3. Have a killer CV

Recruiters have short attention spans, so your CV must stand out from the rest of the pile of applications they’re working through. First impressions count!

However, one CV does not fit all. You need to tailor your CV for each job application. Look at the job description and use keywords that are specific to the advertised role.

Your CV should read as if you’re the ideal candidate for that specific job.

4. Promote your volunteering work

Employers are always impressed by people who have completed work experience or volunteering. It shows initiative and that you have developed soft skills.

Many of ECU’s undergraduate courses include the option of Work Integrated Learning. If this is offered to you, make sure you grab the opportunity. It’s valuable experience to include in your CV or covering letter.

“Future employers don’t just want you to have a degree, they want to see that you have real-life experience, and that’s why volunteering counts,” Michelle Moss from ECU’s Careers and Leadership Services says.

“They’re not just after a qualification, but also interpersonal soft skills.”

Three people in business attire walking in front of building one on Joondalup campus.
ECU students and alumni are eligible for the CareerHub service.

5. Make the most of ECU resources

All ECU students have access to the Careers and Leadership Services to develop skills, search job vacancies and find employment.

The CareerHub lists jobs and has up-to-date information about the labour market and any skills shortages across a huge range of industries. Use all this information to your advantage.

“Be aware of your industry and the job market and the skills required to do that job so you come across as knowledgeable about your chosen industry,” Ms Susca says.

6. Be open to non-dream job offers

Remember a job is better than no job at all. Employers like people who are pro-active. Ms Susca says if you can’t find the job of your dreams, look for a position that will suffice in the meantime.

“No job is beneath you. There are many transferable skills to be gained from exposure to the workforce and these can be stored in your skills bank.

“In any role you’ll learn and grow your network; there are immeasurable advantages to meeting people through your workplace.”

Want to learn more?

Check out ECU’s Careers and Leadership Services webpages for more resources to help you secure your graduate job.


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