Navigating the Job Search: A Guide for Business Graduates
The 12 best pieces of advice for business school students on finding a job after graduation
As a business graduate, you have a wealth of knowledge and skills that can be applied to a wide range of industries and job positions. However, the job search process can still be a daunting task, especially in a competitive job market. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the job search as a business graduate and find a job right after graduation:
1 – Start early
Begin your job search as soon as possible. You’ll want to give yourself ample time to research companies, network, and apply for positions.
Employers looking to hire graduates will often start their interview process months before graduation. Joining the job search early on will give you more chances to speak to hiring companies, and will let you avoid the rush of people looking for jobs post-graduation.
If this is your first venture into the job market, it’s good to get used to the job-hunting process. This will give you the chance to get used to the experience and learn how to conduct yourself professionally. It will also help you to get over the nervousness recent graduates feel during their first job interviews.
Even if you aren’t successful in your initial job applications, the experience will improve your chances of landing the next job.
2 – Be flexible
It’s important to keep an open mind and be flexible when it comes to your desired position, industry, and location. While it’s natural to have a specific career path in mind, being open to new opportunities can increase your chances of finding a job that aligns with your skills and interests.
A business degree can open up a wide range of career paths, so be open to different types of positions, even if they are not exactly what you imagined yourself doing. Gathering experience in one department can often provide valuable transferable skills which will later help you transition to your target position later on.
You should also consider exploring industries that may not have been on your radar initially. You may be surprised by the opportunities available in these fields and how well your skills translate. There’s a good chance you even discover a passion developing for this new industry.
You’ll also benefit from being willing to relocate, if necessary. Sometimes, a job in a different city or even country can be a great source of growth for your career. It can provide a whole new experience for you and give you a great chance to expand your professional network.
3 – Tailor your resume and cover letter
Your resume and cover letter should be tailored to the specific job or industry you are applying for. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position and use language that is specific to the industry.
A good method of writing cover letters is to base it on the description of the job you’re applying to. If you have any of the skills or experiences that the employers are looking for, then you’ll benefit by including them in the cover letter.
You should also make sure to highlight your transferable skills. Attributes like leadership, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking are excellent to have, regardless of the industry you’re working in or your position in the workplace. These are particularly valuable in management positions, so job candidates with their sights set on climbing the career ladder would do well to showcase these skills.
4 – Prepare for interviews
The best way to prepare for an interview is by researching the company you’ve applied to. Learn as much as you can about the department you’re applying for, and any information you can’t find will make for a good question when the conversation begins.
It’s also a good idea to practice your answers to common interview questions. Ask a parent or a friend with experience in job interviews and have them interview you.
Here are some common questions you can expect to be asked during an interview:
- ‘Tell me about yourself.’ This question is an opportunity for you to give a brief overview of your background, skills, and experiences that make you a good fit for the job.
- ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ This question allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your interest in the role.
- ‘What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?’ This question is a chance for you to highlight your strengths and provide an honest assessment of areas where you can improve. As a new graduate, one of your biggest weaknesses will likely be a lack of work experience, so make sure to show enthusiasm toward learning on the job.
- ‘What are your long-term career goals?’ This question gives the employer insight into your aspirations and whether they align with the role and the company. Businesses don’t want to employ disinterested employees, so use this opportunity to share your ambitions.
Having strong answers to these questions, which you’ve practiced beforehand, will go far in helping you feel confident and at ease during a job interview.
5 – Be persistent
Job searching can be a long and frustrating process, but don’t let that discourage you. If you don’t find a job in the first couple of weeks of searching, keep applying and keep your spirits up. Remember that finding the perfect job takes time and patience.
You should also consider applying through different platforms if your first applications are unsuccessful. If you’re only applying through LinkedIn, for example, then try searching for jobs on different websites, like Monster or Indeed. If online applications aren’t resulting in success, then consider other avenues entirely, like attending seminars, conferences, or networking events.
6 – Be punctual and respectful and honest
These are basic pieces of advice, but, sadly, many candidates fail to understand their importance.
Showing up 5-10 minutes early for an in-person interview not only means that you are ready to start your interview at the set time but also gives you a few minutes to get into the right mindset for the interview.
For interviews conducted online, you equally need to make sure you’re presentable for the interview. Make sure your background is appropriate for a business setting, do your best to minimize ambient noise, and be sure to dress properly. You also need to make sure your connection is reliable, and that you have the right link available.
While you’re in the interview itself, remember to conduct yourself professionally. This means being respectful towards the interviewer and the company. Speak politely, use their titles properly, and don’t interrupt your interviewer. Be honest about your skills, experiences, and ambitions. Show them the best version of who you are.
7 – Follow up
After an interview, send a thank-you note and follow up with the employer to show your interest in the position. It’s a good way to show your soft skills and make another touch point with the employer.
Even if you’ve been rejected, it can be worth following up to understand the reasons why. Many employers will provide their reasoning for rejecting your application. This information can be extremely valuable, as it can show you which skills you should pick up to help you with future applications.
8 – Networking
Networking is a crucial part of the job search process. Meeting a diversity of professionals will help you greatly in standing out as a candidate during the interview process.
Attend industry events, reach out to alumni, and connect with professionals on LinkedIn. Building relationships with people in your desired field can open up job opportunities that may not be publicly advertised.
9 – Leverage your school’s resources
Utilize the career center and alumni network at your business school to find job opportunities and gain valuable advice from industry professionals.
Geneva Business School collaborates with various companies and organizations to provide internships, volunteering, and work opportunities for students through annual Career Day events held in Geneva, Barcelona, and Madrid.
With a focus on networking and opportunity exploration, Geneva Business School invites a diverse range of companies to connect with students, including multinational corporations, NGOs, startups, small businesses, and alumni for valuable first-hand advice.
10 – Build a professional online presence
Your online presence is usually the first (and sometimes the only) impression that potential employers will have of you, so make sure it’s a positive and professional one.
Create a LinkedIn profile that showcases your education, skills, and work experience. Make sure it reflects your professional brand and includes a clear, up-to-date headshot. Stay active on LinkedIn by regularly posting updates, commenting on relevant articles, and connecting with other professionals.
Additionally, consider creating a personal website or online portfolio to demonstrate your expertise and accomplishments to potential employers. If possible, consider uploading some of the projects you worked on during your studies in order to highlight your skills and experience during your education.
Bear in mind that your online presence extends past your LinkedIn profile. It is common practice for employers to research the social media accounts of job candidates. So ensure that through all of your social accounts – your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and any others you have – you present yourself in a positive light to the public. These sites allow you to control what you’re showing to the public and what you’re sharing privately amongst your friends. Take a few minutes to research your social presence in a private browsing search. Whatever you find can also be found by a potential employer.
11 – Keep learning and developing new skills
Staying up to date with key skills, industry trends, and best practices is essential in staying at the cutting edge of industry professionals.
This is equally important for when you’ve entered the job market and started working. It can be tempting, once you’ve started working at a new job, to rest on your laurels. But your long-term career development will depend hugely on understanding the trends, technologies, and practices of the day.
12 – Show your passion and enthusiasm
You are not just a list of qualifications on a piece of paper, you are a unique individual with passion and enthusiasm for your chosen field. Show that in your cover letter and resume and during your job interview.
Employers always prefer to hire someone who has a genuine interest in working in their field over someone who would work in their industry reluctantly. So, showing a measure of excitement, along with knowledge of current industry trends and news, can go a long way in highlighting you as a valuable candidate for the job.
The job search process can be challenging, and if you’re not successful right away, it can become quite demoralizing. But, with a solid plan and the right mindset, you can increase your chances of finding the job you want. Utilize the resources available to you, be open-minded, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Remember, the right job is out there waiting for you!