The Job Search – Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd!

In this competitive graduate jobs market, how can you make sure you stand out from the crowd? The Grad Soc suggests five simple but effective ways to seriously differentiate yourself from others (while you’re still at university, or soon after graduation).

Red tulip stands out in field of green buds

Stand out from the crowd – Photo by João Jesus on Unsplash

The past few years have seen a couple of pretty big changes in the graduate job market. Aside from the pandemic that shall not be mentioned, shifts in the ways companies use social media and the new skills and qualities they’re looking for mean there’s tons of new opportunities out there for confused grads like you.
At the Grad Soc we don’t want you to get left behind, plain and simple. We know first-hand how tough it’s been recently to stand out from the crowd with internship and graduate job applications, and we’re here to help. So, put those “I’m pleased to announce…” LinkedIn posts you’ve been constantly comparing yourself to out of your mind, and focus on yourself instead.

Here’s our top 5 tips to avoid getting lost in the crowd:


  1. Organise something

In today’s graduate market, it’s no longer enough to just get good grades and play the numbers game with 50+ applications. Why not show that you have something extra? Being an organiser demonstrates a little something called initiative. Whether it’s organising a sponsored bike ride, running events for your society, or even getting a group of mates together, writing some code and calling it a hackathon; organising events can be a brilliant way of demonstrating some vital skills outside of academia and anyone can do it. EVEN YOU.
The key to including this in your applications is finding the link between your experience and the role you’re applying for. Take organising an event for example. What skills have you developed from this experience that you could bring to the role? Obviously, organisation. But also people management, digital communication, proactivity, problem solving, teamwork – the list goes on.
Remember – never stop at just listing your skills. Always give an example of you using that skill and the results it had. Read a little more about this in our free guides.

  1. Read

We’re not saying read 104 books a day like these self-proclaimed inspirational founders all preach. Set yourself a realistic target every 6 months and try to stick to it. Purchase books in advance if you know what you want to read and have them ready in a pile by your bed as a reminder. This will not only improve your knowledge, it will also improve your vocabulary, the way you speak and articulate your thoughts, and make you a more interesting person in general.
Also, read the news. This might seem like a trivial and long thing to do if you’re not used to keeping up with daily affairs but trust us, people will notice instantly. This not only equips you with great worldly awareness and more to talk about in conversations, but it also allows you to discover new interests and spark curiosity as different headlines grab your attention.
TIP: If you’re applying to jobs in the legal world for example, get yourself a few different sources for specific legal news. And with any mainstream news, try to consider the legal implications which that event might cough up, and bring your thoughts on this into an interview.

  1. Learn a new skill

This isn’t as hard as you think. Learning new skills can be something as simple as watching a YouTube tutorial on Excel, or nailing down Photoshop, or taking a short online course on something that interests you. The internet has all the information you could ever want at the tip of your fingers – learn to use it effectively.
Set aside 30 minutes a week to learn something new. Learn something that not many other people know, something outside your degree that shows you can go above and beyond the bare minimum (trust us, attending uni is the bare minimum).  When it comes to talking about it on your CV, again don’t stop at listing the skills or courses you’ve taken. Write up clear as day why this matters and makes you suitable for the role e.g. “In order to demonstrate my commitment to the x industry and develop my knowledge even further, I have completed x courses. As a result of this…”

  1. Start a blog/vlog

Continuing from point 3…whilst this one won’t be for everyone, it’s simply one of the most rewarding, confidence-boosting things you will ever do. You not only become a better writer, you improve your ability to organise your thoughts, have a healthy emotional outlet and you have the ability to add something to people’s lives. There’s also the rather nice added benefits of opening up more opportunities for you and even the possibility of getting paid through ‘guest blogging’ gigs (google it) – no brainer!

  1. Do your research

Just do it. And do it well. If you haven’t bothered to find out anything about the company you’re applying for, why on earth should they hire you? Make sure you research the position you’re going for and understand the company’s core values (usually found on their homepage). You can also look and see if their founders/senior team members have ever done any interview that can give a bit more insight.
Hint 1: Why not look into a recent piece of work or a deal that they’ve done, and form an opinion on it?

Hint 2: Try and get in touch with someone who works there – you’ll be surprised at how much help some people are willing to offer. Just because the first few people might not respond, sooner or later you’ll find someone willing to give you their time. LinkedIn is great for this – see this HelloGrads article for tips on how to get started with LinkedIn.

By George and Shona @ The Grad Soc

The Grad Soc makes extraordinary internships accessible for everyone, and provides career/employability support and resources to help students and graduates get jobs.

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Find out more:

Grad Bites: Work Out how to Stand Out