Applying for jobs after postgraduate study

If you are applying for a job that requires a postgraduate qualification then other applicants will have one, too. So how do you make sure an employer selects your application and wants to meet you in person?

Perfect your application

It may sound pedantic but making sure your CV looks good on the page, is well laid out and easy to read is bound to win it a second glance. If you are posting it, then something as simple as putting it in an A4 envelope instead of folding it up to fit an A5 or smaller envelope can make it look smarter.

  • Take a critical look at your layout. Does the information flow in a logical manner?
  • Is it in the order the company requested?
  • Have you kept it to two pages?
  • Have you thought carefully about the content? Consider the  relevance of what you have studied and your work experience and marry it to the job description. Try to offer information that will help an employer envisage you in the job.
  • Ask a friend to proofread your application. Poor grammar or typos will not create a good impression.

Beyond academia

Although your academic qualifications may be important most employers will be looking for something more. There are several ways in which you can show that you've got what it takes.

  • Work experience is vital, and experience in the sector in which you want to work is of particular importance. Use your holidays or part-time work to build on your knowledge of your chosen area of work. This shows your commitment and willingness to learn from the bottom up.
  • However, the good thing about any work experience is that it helps to develop other life skills. Working in a team, in a public-facing role or carrying out some in-depth analysis will indicate that you are a team player, can cope with a variety of people or can concentrate fully on the task in hand.
  • Keep a record of all the things you've done and what you learned from them so that you can relate your skills to a job description and add them to your CV.

Relating to others

A postgraduate job either is, or will probably lead to, a senior role within a company. This means that you are likely to need to be able to relate to colleagues, clients and, eventually, your staff. If you aren't naturally a very outward-going person you need to try to develop the skills of communication, interaction and networking. Putting yourself forward for jobs like helping to organise a student ball, being secretary of a club, doing an internship or voluntary work can really help you. Don't be shy - you have everything to gain!

Top tips

  • Keep your CV brief, relevant and smart.
  • Tailor your application.
  • Grasp work-experience opportunities.
  • Seek work that can help you develop new skills.
  • Log what you've learned from work.
  • Relate your skills to the job description.

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