Your exams are finally coming to an end, and with it, if you're a finalist, your time at university. Here's our guide to what comes next: the graduate job search

So you’ve graduated – now what? If you’re like many graduates this year, you’ll be looking for your first job in your chosen industry. So just how do you find that first graduate job you’ve been yearning for?

Ask friends and family

You might not think you know anyone who can help you, but you’d be surprised how important connections are when you’re looking for your first job. Ask people to keep an eye out for you, ask for email addresses of people who might be able to help, and take a good look around you for inspiration. Even if someone in your family isn’t in the exact industry you want to be in, could it lead to a job where you could learn transferable skills that will help you later on? If so, go for it. You can always say no if it doesn’t quite suit you.

Make contacts online

These days it’s easier than ever to directly approach people who may have previously hidden behind hard-to-find email addresses. Use social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to your advantage. Phrase a tweet right and you could find yourself shadowing someone you respect and look up to in your field, or they may even give you some insider info on a job that’s about to come up. They can also explain to you how the company works, and what the different roles entail.

Approach your ideal company directly

If there’s one company you absolutely want to work for, then contact them directly and find out as much as you can about any upcoming jobs that might be available in your field. Even if they don’t have any jobs at the moment, you never know when a company might be looking for a junior staffer, and often they will keep impressive CVs to look back over when the time is right. Make sure you have the CV and cover letter sorted so you can really impress them. Cold-calling with your CV is a tough gig, but if you have the experience, genuine interest in the company, and personality to pull it off then what are you waiting for?

Do internships

It’s not unheard of for people to get jobs in their chosen industry after doing an internship. Behave well, be smart, be enthusiastic, and get stuck in to everything they ask of you, but be wary that you don’t trap yourself in the Eternal Intern situation. You are doing work you should be paid for, so make sure that they know you want to actually become a staffer and ensure that you aren’t just wasting your time working for free. While you’re on an internship, enquire about potential vacancies and put out feelers among the people you’re working with.

Job hunt the traditional way

Job boards, job sites, google searches, local papers… These are the traditional ways of finding a job and they may seem outdated but there’s a reason that people still use them: they’re tried and tested ways of finding and eventually getting jobs. One of the downsides to using job boards and searching for jobs online is that sometimes, jobs aren’t advertised, and when they are, you can guarantee there are at least twenty other people going for the same job.

Once you’ve found a great job, applied for it, and been invited to an interview, check out our job interview tips for some advice on how to prepare for them.