New year, new graduate job?

SoHappy New Year!, 2012 is upon us. As ever, the dawn of a new year heralds a wave of resolutions, good intentions, fresh ideas and new approaches to life. With this in mind, January seems like a great time to introduce some fresh approaches to the graduate job hunt. Here are some tips for making the whole process less of a chore and more likely to yield results.

Make social networking work for you. Chances are you spend a fair bit of time on Facebook/Twitter already, so use these sites and their more professional counterpart – LinkedIn – to reach out to potential contacts, research companies that interest you and get the lowdown on what current employees think about their jobs. Social networking sites are a great way to start your research, firm up ideas and network with useful contacts, all without the pressure of face-to-face interaction with recruiters or official application processes. Of course, always be professional and polite in any correspondence with employers and on any forum where you have a public persona.

Make use of the ‘other interests’ section on your CV. There was a time when this section was all but a footnote to the main bulk of a CV, but this is no longer the case. In today’s fiercely competitive graduate market where differentiation is paramount, a choice piece of extra-curricular activity or two (did you set up a society at college? Were you instrumental in fundraising for a particular charity event?) can really give you the edge over your peers.

Don’t set yourself up for a fall. Many New Year’s resolutions never really get off the ground because we set ourselves wildly unrealistic expectations. If you’re bursting with good intentions and plan to apply for 20 jobs a week, but don’t manage half of that, the chances are you’ll be so disheartened that you’ll give up applying for any. Don’t despair: instead, revise your goals to make them more manageable. If five thoughtful, carefully researched applications a week is more achievable, then that’s perfectly fine. Make that your goal instead. And don’t forget to reward yourself for the successful achievement of any resolution, job-related or otherwise. Happy New Year!

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