Practical steps graduates can take to help secure that job

Plan, research and build your experience and skills


The world of work has transformed over the last six months. What were once reasonable expectations of the job market have now been thrown askew. We asked Orla Bannon, director of careers at Trinity College Dublin for her view on what practical steps graduates could take as they survey the world of work.

The good news is that there are things that you can do now as a student/graduate to take control of your career including:

1. Expand your connections: Build your professional and personal networks to help you connect with potential opportunities. Like Trinity, most colleges will have an online alumni network that graduates can use to connect with alumni and find alumni mentors. This can be helpful to find out more about areas of interest to you and how best to use this time to build your skills. 

2. Values and culture: Take this time to explore what is important to you in your career and what type of organisation culture you would like to work in. Reflect on what you care about and what gives you energy and on how well your career interests and experiences are aligned with your values. Start a career journal to capture your thoughts.

3. Update your CV and online presence: Get your CV and LinkedIn profiles ready and practice presenting yourself online. Many recruiters are now using online interviews for hiring so it’s important that you understand how you come across on screen.

Reflect on the skills, experience and knowledge that you’ve acquired through university and any additional work experience and extra-curricular activities you’ve engaged in. Be able to not only articulate them but also apply them in new and different scenarios. Key skills employers are looking for evidence of now include adaptability, digital and learning agility, capacity to work with ambiguity and resilience.

4. Upskill and reskill: Plug the skills gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Start by researching the sectors, organisations and types of roles you would like to work in over the next six months to six years. Identify the skills and knowledge that those working in those roles evidence in their online profiles and what employers in these sectors seek. Then look at ways to develop your skills in the right direction - either through online learning or further study.

5. Find and listen to your own voice: It’s important that you reflect and take stock of where you are at now. It may be a time that you are keen to learn new skills and seek out new opportunities, but it may also be a time for you to pause and consider what your next steps are. Your University Careers Service is there to help and support you so reach out to them.

6. Be ready: The opportunities that you want may not be there right now but they will be there in the future so the more you plan, research and build your experience and skills now, the better position you will be in to apply for opportunities when they arise.