Finding your dream graduate job

Two young people are graduating from university. One of them is raising their arm in celebration to represent finding their dream graduate job
As a student, you might be thinking about what to do when your degree ends and a common worry can be that jobs for graduates are competitive and difficult to find. If you’re sat there thinking,”what can I do with my degree?”, we’ve got you covered. We’ve teamed up with the experts at upReach to help you improve your graduate prospects and prepare for life after university.

How to find a graduate job

Amongst juggling the frenzy of deadlines, exams and a healthy social life, it’s understandable why many students push aside all thoughts of finding a job in a mental box until their final year. But by then, it’s more like opening Pandora’s box – a mix of stress, panic and uncertainty! 

For years, attending university has been viewed as the golden ticket to a successful career, but even with a degree it can be a tough job market out there – a poll by Prospects found that 45% of university students felt they were ‘not at all’ or ‘not very’ prepared to find jobs. 

The prospect of securing a job after uni may seem daunting but does that mean it’s impossible? Absolutely not! You just need to be prepared to stand out from other applicants. Want to know how? Read on.

Making the most of your university’s career service  

Universities have dedicated careers staff to help you with a range of things, from exploring careers to applying for opportunities like internships, which can often be converted to jobs for graduates – job done before you even start your final year! Why not make the most of this excellent (and free!) resource while you can? 

Additionally, many universities partner with charities to provide additional careers support to students from underrepresented backgrounds. For example, upReach is a social mobility charity that provides students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds with a free 1-to-1 career coach, application reviews, exclusive events and other exciting opportunities to grow your employability and secure work experience, graduate prospects and eventually a job after uni. 

Developing employability skills  

We hate to break it to you but, in most cases, good grades alone aren’t enough to impress recruiters; they’re also looking for you to evidence your ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. Next question: what are ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills?  

‘Hard’ skills refer to the specific skills needed to fulfil a role. For example, you’d struggle to be a professional translator if you only spoke one language! However, ‘soft’ skills are equally important, and these refer to the interpersonal skills required in every job, like communication, teamwork and resilience. 

The good news is that you can develop soft skills anywhere, and the even better news is that you can enjoy yourself while developing these! University gives you access to a huge range of societies and opportunities, allowing you to try new things, meet new people and take on positions of responsibility. For example, you could demonstrate leadership skills by editing your student newspaper! 

Unsure of your employability skill strengths or development areas? Take upReach’s getEmployable survey to identify where to start!   


Networking is all about building relationships with people who can benefit your career development.  

Networking can feel like an unfamiliar and scary concept, but a great starting point is making use of the connections you already have; even if they can’t offer you experience themselves, maybe they know someone in that industry who could help!  

But how do you make new connections? Sites like LinkedIn enable you to connect with professionals and stay updated with the latest industry trends. This will allow you to ask informed questions and engage meaningfully with professionals, increasing the chances of a strong, lasting relationship. But it doesn’t stop at online networking! Attending networking events like careers fairs offers a great chance to not only collect a hoard of free pens, but to mingle and build connections, boosting your graduate prospects! 

Attending Insight Days 

Researching different employers and industries can feel like running a marathon in quicksand – impossible and exhausting! Thankfully, Insight Days can reduce this stress and you can access these through organisations like upReach, career services and employer websites. 

Think of an Insight Day as a sneak peek into a particular company; it gives you valuable insight into an employer’s work environment, company culture, and day-to-day operations. 

So, how does this improve your employability? Insight Days give you insider information on what employers are looking for, increasing your chances of making a successful application in the future! They can also enrich your job applications by demonstrating a genuine interest and understanding of the industry.  

Be CV ready  

It’s incredibly important to have a CV drafted, even if you’re not actively applying for jobs. Think for a moment about all your experiences and all the skills you have ever developed – can you immediately identify them all? Probably not! 

A CV gives you a record of all your achievements, experiences and transferable skills gained. There are so many resources available to help you draft a CV, and we’d recommend getting someone to check it over for you, whether that’s a friend, a careers advisor, or an organisation like upReach, which provides helpful guides and personalised feedback. 

Most importantly, get started now! 

As you navigate the whirlwind of university life, remember that a genie won’t magically appear in your final year and grant you your dream graduate job; you need to lay the groundwork for your own success, and the sooner you start taking proactive steps, the further ahead you will be on this journey to success. So, start now! Use the guidance listed above – and know that there are many organisations like The Mix and upReach that can help you boost your chances of landing a top graduate role. 

Next Steps


Updated on 26-Jan-2024

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