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Top Tips for Students Seeking Graduate Jobs after University

Student Blog Series: Part 1

Welcome to the first part of a series of blogs in which you’ll be hearing from all four of the Graduate Client Executives here at Bulletproof who will be going through some of the highs and the lows of getting a job after university. And most importantly, sharing some key learnings with you to help you on your way to a dream job in the design industry. Here’s Jenny’s story…

If you had told me this time last year that I would be working for an acclaimed independent, global, strategic brand design agency I wouldn’t have believed you. Less than 12 months ago, I was furiously working away on my final year projects and hadn’t even thought about what I wanted to do after graduation. When my housemates mentioned they had already started applying for graduate jobs, I began to panic! And so began a stressful period of job applications, excruciating interviews and a few demotivating rejections along the way.

Luckily for me, I made it through onto Bulletproof’s Graduate Client Executive scheme and four months into the role, I took the time to reflect on the entire process. Here are my top tips for any graduate finding themselves in a similar situation…

Top tips for students seeking graduate jobs blog

Where do I even start?

I studied for a degree in American Studies and English Literature. I loved it, but as I got further into my university course, I started to ask myself – what can I do with my degree? Most of the people I knew had studied law and there seemed to be a natural job for them once they graduated. But me, I hadn’t a clue how my knowledge of American film could help me get a job in any field!

When first applying for graduate jobs, I was being put off by the job titles themselves because I felt I wasn’t qualified. But then, I started to look at what skills my degree had given me and how I could apply these. I had no experience in branding, marketing and design, but university had taught how to work to tight deadlines, the importance of being organised and valuable presentation skills. These skills are all essential in a client services role making me the perfect candidate.

Tip: If you’re unsure which role you’d be suitable for, think broadly about the transferable skills you have gained during your studies and in any part-time job roles. 

Don’t panic!

Finding any job straight out of university is such a hard thing to do, and finding a job you like is even harder. Don’t worry that you don’t have a job lined up immediately after you graduate. I was stressing out like crazy before graduation that I had no plan. The moment I started applying for jobs I actually felt passionately about, the rest came naturally!

Tip: Once you find your dream job, ensure you put a lot of effort into crafting your job application – it’s your one chance to shine. 

How do I stand out?

Without any hands on experience, it can be hard to get a job in your chosen field. Graduate schemes are the perfect solution for this, as they give you give you the opportunity to learn the ropes on the job. But with the ever increasing number of grads hitting the jobs market each year, when I came across the ad for the Bulletproof Client Services graduate scheme on the Milkround website, I knew the competition would be high! After hearing stories of my friends’ experiences with gruelling graduate assessment days, I was slightly nervous ahead of my interview at Bulletproof. But I needn’t have been.

During the assessment day, we had a few tasks to complete; one individual and a couple of group tasks that allowed us to showcase our presentation and team work skills. It was great fun! And at no point did I feel intimidated by our assessors or that they were trying to catch us out. It allowed me to enjoy myself, show my enthusiasm and stand out against the other candidates, while learning more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role.

Tip: Relax and be yourself during the interview process; employers want to see the real you.

A steep learning curve

When I tell people I work for a design agency, most people assume that I’m a designer. With no design background or experience, I’ve had a steep learning curve with regards to strategic brand design and the structure of a design agency.

Firstly, the amount of work that goes into producing one pack is immense. It can sometimes take two years for projects to launch. In the first few weeks there was also a huge amount of technical design language casually dropped into conversation. That was a lot to take in, but everyone has been so patient, explaining anything that I didn’t understand. The more you know about workings of the business the better, so you can explain the process confidently to your clients.

Tip: There’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you don’t understand something, never be afraid to say so. 

You can do it!

I know you’ve heard it a million times, but honestly, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to finding a graduate position straight out of university. It’s a tough task! But at the end of the day, you just need to hang on in there and more importantly be yourself. Once you find your dream role, visualise yourself working there and remain positive. If you put the effort in and prove you’re the right person for the role, you will certainly reap the rewards.

Best of luck!

Blog written by Jenny.