Graduate or student – preparing yourself for the job market!

A few pointers! Including looking for work in Europe and further afield.


Speaking to many young people I am amazed that many of you have never heard of EURES! It’s the European Employment Service https://ec.europa.eu/eures/public/fr/homepage, the equivalent to the French Pôle Emploi, it’s Europe wide. In 2017 they had 1.6 million vacancies on their site. You can look at adverts all over Europe and you can post your own CV so recruiters can find you! There are tips on how to get jobs abroad. There are over a 1000+ staff available to help you in your search (you can search on the site for an EURES advisor close to you). They regularly host European job days. They offer traineeships and apprenticeships abroad https://www.youtube.com/user/EURESjob The world is your oyster!

If your future aim is to work abroad, before leaving try to gain work experience in international companies. Recruiters abroad can relate to your ‘international’ experience. A big name company has as much value here as it does abroad no matter how far afield you go.

If you work in a small company, you often have more diverse tasks to do. Large companies often have specialist departments so you generally do more specific tasks. If you are looking for diverse experience go for a smaller company, if you are looking for very specific experience aim for larger companies.

If you have to work when you are not studying, try to find work in something relating to your studies/future career (or relating as closely as possible to your studies). It’s easy to find part-time catering work for example, but although these jobs pay finding work relating to your future career adds income and experience to your CV.

Do you know your true level of English or other foreign languages? If you don’t, please get yourself certified. The TOEIC seems to be quite popular. It’s a diploma you can add to your CV and goes beyond self-assessment of linguistic competence.

Try to do as many personality tests as possible. Most are free of charge and online. They will help you to explain yourself at interview. We all know ourselves, but it is another affair trying to make third parties understand our strong points.

Working holiday visas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_holiday_visa#Australia are generally offered to young people from 18 years to 30 years sometimes 35 years according to the country. You can gain international and travel experience in one go! It could be an adventure of a lifetime and a great selling point in your search for work upon your return to your home country.

Every time you have work experience, ask for a written reference before leaving. References are third parties saying how great you are. You need that, it’s credibility, someone else needs to sing your praises.

Ensure your CV and Professional online profiles mirror each other. There is nothing worse than receiving a CV, checking the LinkedIn profile and discovering discrepancies.

Many employers check Facebook profiles these days. You can make your page Private and should do so. It’s in settings and privacy (parametres et confidentialité). Block people you don’t want looking at your profile. Private and professional life do not mix well. Clean up your social media and ensure professional online media represents you.

If you are not getting interviews, perhaps you need to review your CV. If you are getting interviews but no job offers, you surely need to review your interviewing skills. If the period for seeking work is not favourable, instead of wasting time looking for work and hitting brick walls, think about bringing forward Plan B and move abroad for a while. Constant negative replies are very demotivating. If you are not keen on moving abroad, just think of it as an extension of your studies, 6 months to 1 year can greatly increase the sales power of your CV. You will return ready to hit the job market!

Privilege quality applications as opposed to quantity. There is nothing worse than receiving a CV and ringing for more information only to be asked by the candidate for which job they applied!

Prepare yourself for finding work little by little and well in advance: CV, scanning relevant documents, tests, diplomas, interview skills, … Don’t wait until the last minute. You would be ill advised to do this for an exam and job hunting is the same.

Once you have your diploma, apply for jobs straightaway. Don’t wait, finding work will take time and even if you are lucky enough to find work immediately, most companies will let you have a couple of weeks off in August!

Try reading our other documents relative to finding work:

http://smartsteps.fr/fr/2017/07/16/la-certification-de-competences-en-langue-anglaise/

http://smartsteps.fr/en/2018/07/05/to-be-successful-an-interview-is-being-prepared/

http://smartsteps.fr/en/2016/09/10/the-art-of-improving-your-cv/

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