woman wearing academic cap and dress selective focus photography

Upgrades from graduate to professional

You’re about to graduate from your undergrad or masters. Maybe you’re dotting the i’s, dotting the t’s and disguising your ChatGPT copy and pastes. You might be busy finishing up but your attention will or should be switching to getting a job. Yep, you’re looking to turn from student to professional.

Hinterland

You’re now about to enter into a phase where most of you will be between jobs. Some of you will be snapped up by an employer – you’re the lucky annoying ones! Some of you will stay in education with further, further study – living the student life for another 3-4 years. Most of you will be on the hunt for a job. While you’re reverting to a summer of lifeguarding, waiting tables and living on minimum wage but now with a degree, here are a few things I would suggest you do with your time to help develop your chances in the race to get work;

SM clean up

Go through your social media profiles and give them a good clean up. Many employers don’t allow employers to; ‘google you’, others are relaxed. You don’t which ones will look at who you and make judgements on what they see. If you want to project a healthy, professional view of yourself, give your profiles a spring clean by imagining what an employer might think! Does this mean you need a sterile profile – no. Personality is valued. But does it convey what you need it to? Give special attention to Linkedin. Change your biography, change your Linkedin picture from ‘Graduating today’ to a warm and engaging picture of you.

Get networking

The phrase, “It’s not what you know it’s who you know”, makes most people tut and huff with the disappointment that your quality, grades and the wonderful formatting of your CV, aren’t the only thing that fast track you to employment. If you view it from the other side of the table – would you employ someone you know or someone you don’t know – all things being equal? Of course, you’d employ the person you trust, know adds value and is proven. So, get connecting! At the very least connect with people on social media.

Here’s mine for starters on Linkedin

and Twitter

… for starters

Hint. Look for people who are actively discussing the profession. They’re much more likely to connect. Top tip. Connect with them and tell them about something that you’ve read of theirs and what you took from it. If they respond see it there is a chance for a conversation or further connection

Vary your experience

If you haven’t got experience, then you need to get some. If you have got some – now is the time to add variety. Putting one relevant experience on your CV is a good start, but putting two, in different sports, with different demands, doesn’t just read as double, but is a real multiplier of your experience. Why? Because variety will offer you contrast as well as difference. Contrast will give you perspective. Perspective will give you wisdom.

Not everyone can afford to or is funded by BOMAD to do volunteer placement after volunteer placement. In which case dedicate what time you have to nudge your experience forward. Can you put 1 hour per week to finding opportunities? Can you put another hour to getting more experience 1 evening per week? Can you find a way to communicate this and the implied commitment on your job application paperwork? If so, progressive and open minded employers will value that highly.

CV sort out

Now is a good time to tidy up your CV. Shake the shackles of your career centre advice and prioritise communicating in an active voice.

Compare these;

  • Delivered S&C support to Billingham Warriors
  • Developed activation protocols to prepare players for high intensity training with multi-disciplinary team

Don’t spend forever choosing a font or a layout in word. Prioritise conveying that you are the right person for the job. Imagine you have 7 seconds to impress – don’t waste it by choking up your CV with irrelevant stuff. Let the good bits take centre stage.

(If you want to dig deeper – take a look at my book The First Hurdle)

Read Broadly

You’ve probably just spent the last few years reading more and more narrowly, niching and getting more detailed. Unless you’re going further into in-depth research, now is a good time to read a wider breadth of subjects. Start by following your interests. What has been on your list that you would like to read vs the must reads? As above, perspective is highly valued. Adaptability is highly valued. Innovation is highly valued. All of these qualities are enhanced by reading and learning from diverse topics and perspectives. Assume that every graduate applying for ‘that’ job has a similar level of technical skills – so you can get an edge by presenting some purpose and philosophy into your job applications and again at interview.

Be active

Best of luck with the next stage. Don’t wait for the opportunity just to present itself. Start curating your profile now to improve your chances of taking one when they come along.