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It's not all about whether you are right for the job, but also whether the job is right for you. Here's what to look out for as you consider your options and start to work out what you want to do when you graduate.

When you're choosing the right graduate career for you, you can either start by looking at yourself – your strengths and needs – and then looking for jobs that match your skills and needs, or you can look at jobs that interest you and then see whether you have the necessary skills to do them. Browsing jobs can be a really useful way of getting started on your career planning and understanding the range of opportunities out there, and seeing where you might fit in. Ask yourself:

  • What are the main duties of the job? 
  • What skills is the employer looking for? 
  • Have I got most of these skills? – be honest 
  • Could I persuade the recruiter I have?

Point to evidence that confirms your suitability

The best way to prove anything is to point to evidence – the times in your life when you have successfully demonstrated the key skills that they are looking for. And remember that skills are transferable from any part of your life and can be used to show that you have the potential they seek. But don't torture yourself. If you have no evidence, it may be that you are looking at the wrong job.

Work experience

Of course the best sort of evidence is if you have relevant work experience in the job or the sector. This doesn’t have to mean that you need a long summer internship with a top employer. There are all sorts of work experience opportunities out there. The old expression ‘all experience is good experience’ has never been more apt than when applied to your career.

A part-time job at uni will give you transferable skills (such as teamwork, communication, time management and so on) as well as showing that you have knowledge of working in the real world. However, if you know the area that you want to work in then seek out work experience in the types of organisations that may interest you. This can also help you to decide whether the career suits you or not.

Ditch the baggage

There will be times when things don't exactly go to plan. You may have all the right skills and experience and have a terrific personality but sometimes the jobs you crave are just hopelessly competitive. In such cases you have to ditch the baggage and apply the reality test. How realistic is it to carry on? If you can't face doing something completely different from your aspirations, can you do something similar that's easier to get into? The classic examples are working in sales as a foundation to a career in marketing or working in a bookshop to gain useful experience for book publishing.

Supported by

This describes editorially independent and objective content, written and edited by the GTI content team, with which the organisation would like to be associated and has provided some funding in order to be so. Any external contributors featuring in the article are independent from the supporter organisation and contributions are in line with our non-advertorial policy.

Advertising feature by

This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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