Checklist: Preparing for the job hunt

Whether you have already graduated or if you are just about to do so there are steps you can take to help you along the way

Build a strong, informative social media profile. Photograph: iStock

Build a strong, informative social media profile. Photograph: iStock


Congratulations, you have made it to the business end of the education system! While you may have planned for this moment for many years and already have a good idea about what career path you would like to embark on, you will undoubtedly face challenges in the months and years ahead as you take your first few steps along that road.

1. Understand what you want

If you are new to the job market, ask yourself, what type of company you would most like to work for? Do their corporate-social policies concur with your beliefs? What kind of career progression possibilities do they allow for? Is there a mentoring programme in place? Where do you see yourself in two years’ time? Write down your answers.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses

List your interests. What are your transferable skills – do you work well in a team? Do you excel at written and verbal communication? Can you demonstrate a capacity to lead? Are you a good listener? Are there examples you can cite where you demonstrated strong research and analytical skills? Are there areas you need to improve upon? Write down your answers.

3. Social media

Build a strong, informative profile. Employers look at social media these days so it would be worth your while keeping your profile as professional as possible. Build a LinkedIn profile as it is the go-to platform for many employers. Review whatever other platforms you use in case you need to update them.

4. Organise your references

Draw up a list of potential referees. Ask yourself how relevant they are to the jobs you are applying for. Contact them and ask their permission to list them as references. In the event that you are in the running for a job, they will be contacted so don’t forget to include their relevant details (email address and phone number).

4. Prepare your application

You will find advice on these pages about how to prepare a CV, how to complete a job application and how to prepare for interview. Include your achievements on your CV. Don’t be shy about including any extra-curricular activitites as employers often look to these when deciding between candidates.

5. Target your job search

To be fully prepared, you will need to understand more about the job search process. Write down the names of companies that interest you. Attend talks, speak directly with company representatives, and seek advice from graduates on who is recruiting and how they go about doing so.

6. This is a campaign!

List the jobs you applied for and the dates you did so. Include contact details for companies and their representatives and jot down a few notes after the interview to keep track of your performance. Keep your eyes open – continue to attend career fairs, read newspapers and trade magazines. Keep up to date with developments in your chosen field.

7. Most of all, stay positive!

Don’t worry if you get knock-backs! While it can be disappointing to be told that you are not the person for the job, it can also be an opportunity for you to take stock and learn from your experience.