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Finding a job after college/ graduation – average time and how?

Hi my name is Domenic and I graduated from RMIT University…twice! I am going to share my top tips and story finding a job after college/ graduation. 

Applied courses and internship

I collected my first degree back in 2013 (even though it only feels like it was yesterday!) with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Economics and Finance (GPA 3.0). The course was one of RMIT’s applied courses. This meant that in my penultimate year I had the opportunity to complete a paid, fulltime internship, where I worked for General Motors in their procurement team.  

I enjoyed the course so much that I decided to complete the honours version of the course the following year (GPA 3.6).

It was a tough, fast paced year but I got through it in the end. I even surprised myself when I was awarded a cash scholarship for the quality of my thesis! (read cash scholarship as cash for one final Uni night celebration).

My journey finding a job after graduation

When it came to finding a job following my honours degree I thought employers would be throwing themselves at me. After all my GPA was good, I had an honours degree, I had earned the scholarship and I even had a year of real work experience. Finding a job would be a breeze right?!

Well as it turned out maybe I had overestimated how easy it would be.

I started applying for graduate jobs throughout my honours year. I signed up to the Gradaustralia (www.gradaustralia.com.au) mailing list which kept me notified of any up and coming graduate programs.

Keywords you should search on job sites

Regularly searched Seek with the keywords ‘graduate’ and ‘entry level’ and attended all the information sessions the Uni offered with guest speakers (usually RMIT alumni who had made it as big bankers or important consultants).

Although occasionally I got through to the online testing stage, I just couldn’t seem to get a face to face interview even though it felt like I had applied for hundreds of jobs, to say I was disheartened was an understatement.

I tried employment agency, did it work?

I was beginning to get desperate, disheartened and was struggling to find a job on my own so I turned to a recruitment agency for a bit of help. They promised me the world! But in reality the jobs they were offering didn’t require you to even finish year 12, let alone have a degree.

Continue my journey finding a job

One sunny spring day, after I had submitted my honours thesis but before arriving at the pub, I got a call. One of the interviews I had attended for a call centre job at one of Australia’s big four banks were so impressed with me that they wanted to offer me a financial consultant role! I was over the moon! All my hard work had paid off!

Until I started asking questions about the role… It turned out the financial consultant role wasn’t a pathway to being a financial planner, but rather another call centre role where I advised customers where there personal loan applications were at. I was gutted, but I still accepted the job and started working the following week.

Now, I didn’t enjoy the job, but I worked hard at it and that led to me training other staff members in the call centre who were underperforming and my own little team who I mentored.

Try to get the most out of the job, learn everything you can even you don’t really enjoy it.

The role, even though not what I wanted to do forever, provided me with real-life experience, the exact kind that employers want to see.

What happened after being in the role for six months was incredible. I started getting call backs for the jobs I was applying for and I started getting interviews! I was seeing progress!

Even though I was beginning to attend, interviews I didn’t get the first few I went to. To be honest that was probably partly on my performance during the interviews and partly because of the sheer numbers of applicants (the reality is they can’t hire everyone they interview).

Don’t be afraid of rejections

But I kept applying and I tried (as hard as it was) to not let it impact my confidence and not take the rejection personally. I also made sure that I always asked for feedback so I could improve at the next interview I would have.

Then finally I was asked to attend an interview day (made up of an assessment centre, writing task and one on one interview) with the Victorian Public Sector. It was a gruelling day and I still remember rewarding myself with some greasy junk food on the way home! Then I waited to hear back.

As the days passed by I was convinced I was not successful, I just thought it would be another interview I would politely ask for feedback from. Then, the call came through! ‘Domenic we would like to offer you a place in the Victorian Public Sector Graduate Program in the State Government’s Department of Economic Development!’ I sounded cool and relaxed on the phone but I was jumping and pumping my fist as I was offered the role!

A combination of relief and joy rushed over me, I’d finally been offered a graduate job!

Time it took me to find a graduate job

It took twelve months of job hunting to finally find a job in my field. It was frustrating, it was disheartening.

There were times where I second guessed my abilities. But lucky for you, you have the benefit of my experience to better position yourself to find a job out of Uni and not ride the emotional rollercoaster I did.

My advice to students who are finding a job after college/ graduation

If you take anything away from this to assist you during your job hunt it should be these things:

  • Find a job (or volunteer work) during Uni that gives you leadership opportunities and experiences that can be translated as a trait that will be beneficial in the field you are applying for.
  • Remind yourself that you will find a job! Sure it might take a little while, but don’t be disheartened by rejection. Sometimes it is simply a numbers game. They can’t hire everyone they interview, someone has to miss out.
  • Always ask for feedback from the interviews you were not successful with. You might be the best candidate for the job but if you can’t express that to the employer you won’t be offered the job.

As for me, I am still working in the Victorian Public Sector in the Department of Justice and Regulation, assisting in the management of multimillion dollar projects and I couldn’t be happier!

Author: Domenic

Domenic

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