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Graduate Opportunities: How Can A Recent Graduate Get A Job Without Experience?

After finishing university you might be faced with the conundrum of not having the necessary experience to get a job. But without that first job, you may be left wondering how to build your experience level in the working world. If you end up in this situation, there are several things you can do to give yourself a higher chance of securing a job as a graduate.

Focus on your strengths

There is often a lot of competition when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. That’s why, your job applications need to help you stand out from the crowd. To do this, you should include work experience, internships and volunteering on your CV. However, with it being your first job after graduation, you might not have any relevant work experience. Therefore, to still build an impressive CV, you need to focus on the skills you have and how they make you a good fit for the job.

Before you make the assumption that you don’t have any experience, you should extract the skills that you developed from your previous jobs. By doing this, you might be able to find experience that you didn’t know you had. Even if this experience isn’t entirely relevant to your chosen field, you have probably gained some transferable skills from which you can build your job applications around. Transferable skills don’t just have to be taken from a place of work. In fact, they can be developed from a whole host of different places. For example, if you have played a team sport for an extended period, then that can be used as evidence to suggest that you will have the ability to work as part of a team in a professional environment.

Not having any direct work experience doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing, as it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your passion and dedication to learning. To emphasise this, you can provide examples of when you have shown a commitment to learning, through either education, work or internships.  


Without the necessary experience to get a job, it can be difficult to get your foot in the door and uncover that first opportunity. When applying for jobs in highly competitive fields, you will probably have heard something along the lines of it’s not what you know, but who you know. While, this might not seem like a fair process, employers are far more likely to hire you if come with a recommendation from a reliable source. To diversify your network, you can go about optimising your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. So whether it’s your university lecturers, fellow graduates or even recruiters, building your network will allow you to be closer to those who can provide you with a relevant job posting. 

If you just rely on sending off formal job applications, you will miss out on a range of opportunities. As not all graduate jobs are advertised, you can still send off your CV and cover letter to an organisation. This is known as speculative applications, which allows you to highlight the reasons why you’d be a good match for a company. Even if the company doesn’t have any current entry level positions, they might consider you for future job vacancies. While, this is likely to be practiced more within some industries than others, speculative applications can be a direct route into a company.


If you have absolutely no relevant work experience to put on your CV, then fortunately you can create some. You can do this through either voluntary work, work experience, or an internship. However, it’s important that the experience is relevant to your chosen field, as you don’t want to waste time with unrelated work.

Be realistic

If you don’t have any relevant work experience, it’s unlikely that you will land your dream job first time round. Therefore, it’s important to manage your expectations accordingly and avoid setting your hopes too high. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ambitious, but you will find it more beneficial to target positions that match your level of experience when you are just starting out in your career. By turning your focus towards entry level positions, you have a higher chance of being successful with your job search. From here, you can gain work experience and then work your way up the career ladder.

To help you get your first job after graduation, you should be targeting entry level positions that are less competitive. These opportunities can usually be found in regional areas outside of cities. Therefore, it’s sensible to check the location of each job posting before going through the effort of filling out job applications.

Speak to a career coach

For guidance on transitioning from university into your chosen field, there are likely to be several recruitment services available to you. If you are still at university, then you will able to take advantage of career fairs and networking events. However, if you are a recent graduate, there’s always the option of talking to a career coach. Even if you are undecided on your dream job, sessions with a career coach can help to identify the right kind of work for you.

If you need further support in landing your first role as a graduate, then make sure to contact Pareto for help.  

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