Class of 2020: tips for looking for a job

It might seem as though it's impossible to find a job right now, but recent graduate Mariia Kogan shares some tips that helped her to land a job she loves 

Mariia Kogan's avatar

Mariia Kogan

October 1 2020
Application for graduate job


Being a graduate in 2020 has been challenging and confusing. You had to finish the last semester online and you didn’t have a proper graduation with your peers. Many companies furloughed or even fired their employees and applications for many graduate positions were closed. It felt weird and scary to go into the real world in the middle of the pandemic, trying to get a job you like, often without being able to see or hug your friends and family.

Nevertheless, I want to believe that every challenge presents an opportunity, and this situation is no exception. For me, not getting a job straight after final exams became a chance to pause and re-evaluate what was important to me at a future workplace and to think about the industries I could see myself working in.

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The result of that, for me, was securing a dream job in a dream company four months after the end of the semester. So, I want to share my thoughts on how a recent graduate can structure their job search. I followed these pieces of advice myself, and I hope that you too will find them useful. 

Mental health 

Before starting the job-search process, think about your mental health. If you are anxious or don’t have any energy left, looking for employment may become an unbearable burden. 

Make sure you get enough sleep, take time for yourself, introduce exercise into your schedule and spend time outdoors. Make sure that you have a support system who you can talk to and express your worries. It may be a family member, a friend, a partner or a therapist. Many universities have free counselling services – and if you feel that you need help, you should definitely contact them.  

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What do you really want to do?

Instead of applying to every position available, spend time understanding what it is that you really like. It’s better to send 10 tailored applications to companies that you are interested in than to send hundreds of applications without knowing if these companies are right for you.

I would advise talking to a career consultant from your university. Many universities offer free online video consultations, resources and volunteering opportunities from the stage when you are just figuring out what you want to do to when you are preparing for an interview. 

Additionally, I would recommend that you try to find a mentor either through your university’s mentoring scheme or on LinkedIn.  

Personal brand 

Now it’s time to start building a strong personal brand on LinkedIn and to network with people from the companies and industries you are interested in.

Don’t forget about alumni from your university. Your shared background can be a great foundation for mutually beneficial professional relationships. Take part in volunteering or short projects to build confidence and network with professionals, as well as to add value to your CV. Join webinars and online conferences. 

Do your research and establish communication 

Research the companies that you like and share values with. If they don’t have any vacancies listed on their website, job board or LinkedIn, feel free to send them an email explaining why you would love to work with them – and don’t forget to attach a tailored CV.

You can try to find people from these companies on LinkedIn and ask for their advice or even mentoring. Just make sure that you show your real personality and passion and why this would be worth their time.  


Doing all of the above should increase your chances of finding a job. However, at this stage, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, rejections may become a part of your everyday life. It’s upsetting, but don’t let it demotivate you. Every vacancy you are rejected for opens a way for the special one with which you click. It’s a matter of time and self-belief. 

And you know what? I believe that if I, an international student from Russia, managed to secure a job I dreamed about, then you can do it, too. 

Read more: Your student experience is on hold; career development doesn’t have to be


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