For many recent graduates, the joy after the jittering of examinations is confronted by the fear to an uncertain future. After years of training, they often see themselves joining the labour market not having a clue about the path they want to take.
Nevertheless, if they know how to handle it, that uncertainty can help them become better professionals. The key lies in finding out good solutions and not getting swept by despair or disappointment if that dream job is not found weeks after leaving college. In fact, the estimated time for a recent graduate to find his first job is between 6 months and a year.
That period of time, during which job searching becomes a job in itself, can also be dedicated to make up for one of the shortcomings of recent graduates: their lack of skills. By comparing requirements in the job offers they apply for, they can deduce which ones are in most demand within their sector. That can range from learning or improving a language in particular to entering a volunteer programme in order to show off their motivation and capability to both make a commitment and teamwork.
According to the II Ranking Universidad-Empresa de la Fundación Everis report, among the skills most appreciated by companies are: integrity, moral commitment, troubleshooting, learning capacity and the ability to work within multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary environments.
How to get a first job?
Acquire professional experience
One of the biggest challenges recent graduates face is their lack of professional experience. Hence, large companies have been betting heavily over the last few years on the development of their professionals since the early stages of their career. This means that having several years of experience is not indispensable anymore in order to join a reference company in their sector. With a will to learn, motivation and effort, they can gain access to junior job positions that will allow them to get subsequent promotions thanks to internal mobility.
ACCIONA is an example of this: taking into account training as a tool for growth and motivation, we hire junior profiles and help them to develop their career. We even give young candidates the chance to know first-hand how the professional world works before graduating from ACCIONA Academy.
Build a contact network
Programmes like this also help recent graduates to build a contact network, something essential in order to overcome another challenge before them: knowing how to search for a job properly.
Meeting new people who can tell you about a vacant position still unpublished or recommend you for another is crucial. Therefore, you must leave some time aside to search for people working in sectors or companies of your interest as a recent graduate. A good way to (use “networking”)do it is through social sites like LinkedIn or by attending events or trade fairs.
Getting to impress the interviewer
It’s also extremely important to know how to convey your personal brand to be remembered, be it through recommendations on social media or face-to-face meetings during events in the sector. This includes writing a good resume and cover letter that have an impact on the recruiter. Likewise, personal interviews must be prepared in advance in order to know how to represent who we are properly. This is precisely one of the main challenges when job searching: recent graduates don’t know how to construct a discourse that defines and differentiates them. For around 80% of college students, these tasks -along with managing themselves during group dynamics or aptitude tests- entail an issue, according to the OIE Report about Youth and Labour Market conducted by the Spanish Innovation Observatory on Education and Employment.
It’s true that the challenges recent graduates face are not few, and that can make them feel like there’s no ground under their feet, after years of development within a more secure environment during their training period. But they must be aware that every new stage brings new challenges which, once overcome, will help recent graduates to become great professionals in their sectors.