You've ploughed through three years on a student budget and battled the all nighters, you've had the highs and lows of university life and this is your reward.

But how to get there?

You've heard from nearly everyone you know how hard the post-graduation months can be, how difficult it can be to get a job and how it can be deflating when after sending what seems like ten's of thousand CV's you aren't hearing a single thing.

Fear not, there are steps you can take to make the process easier and get you all set for your first day.

We've all heard the age old saying, 'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail' and it applies to everything, even job hunting. ​

  • Start looking at job adverts long before you are even starting the job hunt. Look up roles that you think you'd like or companies you would like to work for.
  • Study the different sections from the company brief, job and person description and the essential and desirable criteria.
  • Having a heads up about what kind of skills that employers are looking for early will give you the opportunity to look at any gaps in your own skill set and time to do something about it.

If every marketing role is asking for Photoshop, use your free time to teach yourself the basics. If that dream IT role is looking Unix or Python experience, buy yourself a Raspberry Pi and get cracking. Even if you aren't fully equipped, employers will love your initiative and your desire to go above and beyond. It may well give you a leg up on your competition.

  • Personal details - your name, email, address and phone number      
  • Profile - a short personal statement giving an insight into you as a person  
  • Education -include dates, where you studied and the results. 
  • Work experience - set out the company name and your job role / function. Bullet point responsibilities and achievements.
  • Awards, achievements and interests - academic achievements, sports or societies help to build a 3-dimensional person from the page.

Make sure you use your CV to:

  • Sell yourself. Use words such as 'managed' and 'presented' to demonstrate your achievements and show you have commercial understanding
  • Give evidence of skills you have. If you claim something like 'I am a great leader' make sure you back it up with evidence.
  • Be specific. If you are applying for a role in Digital marketing then make sure your CV is full of digital skills and experience, otherwise it will end up at the bottom of the pile.

There is nothing quite as frustrating as finding a graduate role, ticking all the boxes of the essential criteria except for those dreaded words '1 to 2 years experience'

If you choose to do a placement year, then great you are half way there. If not, don't despair. Thinking of all the part time jobs you have done in the past and try and relate the tasks and responsibilities you had there to the skills required for this jobs. You'd be surprised how your summer job can prepare you for the real world.

  • Where you a shift supervisor in your local pub or café? Then you have proven leadership and team management skills.
  • Have you been a key holder in a retail setting? you have cash handling experience.
  • Did you Volunteer for a charity or fundraising event? Then you have organisational skills.

You have Facebook albums to mark three years of amazing parties, messy nights out and fancy-dress events galore but now that you are a graduate, and are putting yourself out into the working world expecting people to take you seriously, your social media needs some TLC. Make sure your personal accounts are private and your professional accounts are professional.

  • Update your email address, your first ever Hotmail account may have served its purpose at this stage.
  • Use your twitter account to keep up to date with you dream companies and the overall environment of your chosen field.
  • LinkedIn is an online CV. Make sure your photo is professional, your work experience is detailed and you keep your profile up to date. The summary section is the main place for you to stand out and it adds a personal element to your experience and your goals. Write about what motivates you, what you've done and are skilled at, and what makes you unique. If you don't have a lot of work experience, don't worry you can really fill out other sections to show your transferable and soft skills. You can list any prizes or awards you have earned as well as classes, languages, certifications that you have already under your belt. You can also list any voluntary work you have done, this shows employers another side to your personality.  Add some real examples of your writing or projects that you are proud of, they show the standard of your work and acts as a talking point for interviews. Don't be afraid to add some hobbies and interests too, you never know what you and an interview could have in common.

Speaking to a recruiter

Recruitment companies are a resource that are often overlooked by graduates but they are a hidden treasure of advice, jobs and somewhere to go for that guidance you may be lacking at this time. Watch Alan speak about MCS Group and his best tips for Graduates.



The recruiters at MCS Group work across IT and Digital, Accounting and Finance, Engineering and Professional Services and they combined industry knowledge of our consultants is endless. They know their field and work with some of the biggest companies, SME's and start ups across Northern Ireland.

If you register with MCS, you will come in and meet a consultant for a one on one consultation. Here, they will talk through your university and work experience, you CV and your goals. Setting out your career goals with some one who can really help you get there can be a massive weight off your mind, and you are more likely to achieve them.

A good recruitment consultant will help you navigate the job search and help you through each stage of the interview process, as all companies are different. This might be the first time you've ever been given an employment contract, asked salary expectations and been offered a package - it can all get very overwhelming and you may feel a bit intimated asking your potential employer. This is where a recruiter becomes your Fairy Job Mother, they are on hand to answer all your questions and worries - no question is too small. Pick up the phone and ask, we have all been in your shoes at some point. We know exactly how you feel.

We have placed graduates into their dream jobs as well as graduates in amazing companies they never even knew existed.