How To Find A Job in 2018: The College & University Leavers’ Guide

30 May, 2018

How To Find A Job in 2018: The College & University Leavers’ Guide

30 May, 2018

Employment in 2018

Data from the recent House of Commons Youth Unemployment Statistics Briefing Paper illustrates that the unemployment rate among 18 to 24-year-olds decreased by 0.6% between November 2017 and January 2018. During this period, only 411,000 18 to 24-year-olds were unemployed whilst a impressive 3.5 million were in employment!

This positive outlook is echoed in a study from the Institute of Student Employers, which estimates a whopping 11% rise in graduate vacancies in 2018.

With the job market looking strong, students leaving college or university this year should have a better chance of securing work compared to previous years' graduates. Nonetheless, employers still demand high quality applications and with increased choice, it’s important for young job-seekers to know how to target their search and be aware of the different ways they can apply for jobs.

Where to look for jobs

First of all, a word of advice: When looking for an entry-level job, do not expect to walk straight into the role of your dreams. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn't ultimately aim for your dream job but just be realistic at the start of your career.

Whilst your knowledge, skills and passion may make you a great candidate, you do not yet have the hands-on experience. So let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use in order to stand out during the application process...

Careers Services and Advisors 

Your college or university is likely to employ a team of careers advisors or, at the very least, they will be able to put you in touch with external ones.

These advisors are there to help you decide what type of jobs to apply for and point you towards companies that may have entry-level vacancies or graduate schemes available.

Similarly, they will be aware of any careers days, presentations or events that are set to take place internally or in the local area, and will usually offer mock interview and assessment day services so that you can practice before the big day.

Optimise your online presence

Professionalise your email address

Using an email address like Cutiepie96@gmail or Davethebest94@hotmail is not a great way to present yourself in any kind of communication with a potential employer. Try setting up an email address that uses your full name only and remember that if you've been using your university email, it will eventually expire after graduation.

Detox your social media profiles

These days, employers are likely to look you up online before they invite you in for an interview.  Even just Googling your name could bring up pictures that either you or your friends have posted and tagged on social media platforms.  Make sure that anything a potential employer can find is something that you wouldn’t mind them seeing!

Applying for jobs

Jobs boards and websites

Create a professional profile on job search websites and specify the types of jobs you’re looking for (temporary, permanent, part-time, full-time), as well as the locations you want to work in.

Before uploading your CV, take a look at the types of jobs you think you could apply for. If lots of graduate jobs say that they’re looking for someone with a particular trait or skill, make sure you include this, where relevant, in your CV.

Tailor your job applications

When you apply for a job, always tailor your application. If you send off the same CV and covering letter for jobs with different requirements, you’re not going to look like an ideal candidate for most, if any of them.  Make it as easy as possible for an employer to see that you tick their boxes.

Register with recruitment agencies

Recruitment companies like Instant Impact find candidates on behalf of businesses which are looking to fill a vacancy. They often have a specialist area of expertise and work with a range of employers to recruit candidates for roles of varied seniority.

Being one of a consultant’s available candidates makes you automatically more likely to be considered for roles that suit your level of education, skill and experience.

Instant Impact is always looking for talented students and graduates. We work with exciting clients across all sorts of sectors so be sure to check out our jobs boards for all our latest vacancies, including internships and graduate positions.

Graduate schemes

Graduate schemes are programmes which combine work with further training. They can often include the completion of a professional qualification, alongside getting paid for carrying out work. In many instances, a graduate will be offered a permanent job for which they have been specifically trained at the end of their graduate scheme.

Apply to the companies you want to work for

Once you’ve found a great looking company that takes on college or university graduates, check for vacancies.  When applying, take your time writing a tailored application, including how you came across the vacancy through researching the company as a place you would love to work at. If there aren’t any current vacancies, try sending a speculative application.

Using social media

An article by The Undercover Recruiter states that in 2016, 84% of companies globally were recruiting via some form of social media. This means that they’re advertising their vacancies to specific markets using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

To increase your chances of being able to see job posts on social media, follow the companies that you’re interested in working for and check their pages for updates regularly.

Work for yourself

Give freelancing a go

If you’re struggling to find a job but know that you have skills that could make you money, then why not try your hand at freelancing. Websites to take a look at include Freelancer and People Per Hour.


About the author

Will Potterton is from, a company which provides hoodies for school and university leavers. Leavers Hoodies Company was founded in 2005 and now supplies hoodies for students at hundreds of educational establishments up and down the UK. Working with so many schools, colleges and universities Will remains up to date with educational factors, particularly those concerning leavers and several of his advice articles have been published in educational magazines such as Primary Times (Leicestershire) and Independent Education Today.

Ready to start applying for internships or graduate jobs? Check out Instant Impact's latest vacancies here!

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