How I Got A Job After University During The Pandemic

Coming to the end of your University experience is an exciting but scary time. The joy and sensation of completing your graduation is rewarding, but then comes the time to go into the big bad world.

The obvious first thought is applying anywhere and everywhere. Whilst this is true, the importance of reading the advertised job description is just as important, as this allows you to see what the company requires and what the job entails. This ranges for various language skills along with personal experience. Rather than going through recruitment agencies, researching and applying with the company direct makes you stand out more compared to other candidates.

A common sight that you will see is that a large number of companies will require previous commercial experience, meaning on the graduate scale, we are overlooked by many. To counter this, keyword search is useful with the terms Graduate or Junior to ensure that the jobs which appear match these criteria or are close to that term. But don't let this stop you from applying to the companies that do require experience, as you'll never get the opportunity if you don't apply.

In my recent job search, I started applying whilst I had another 3-4 month left at University. This meant that in that time I had a few interviews and despite the rejection of the offer, I still gained the experience of what to expect in an interview. I had around 5 interviews, not being successful in 4 of them until I was offered a position from my final interview.

How To Prep For Interview

When applying to companies, it's always important to attach a portfolio of your work, along with your CV. This allows the company to inspect your knowledge based on your code: having live examples of projects is also greatly beneficial. At the end of my last interview, the developer gave me a quiz to test my knowledge and then asked for my GitHub link so that she could "be nosy and look at my work" which showed some level of interest in me as a developer.

The Interview

With the recent pandemic, half of my interviews were online; but this doesn't mean you can stay casual! Even at the comfort of your own home, dress to impress, well at least upper body, as I wore a smart jacket and shirt then had shorts on. Before joining the meeting, triple-check that everything is working, i.e. webcam and microphone - don't make a bad impression by not checking beforehand.

For my interviews which were face to face, I dressed to impress (this time including my lower body) and ensured I was prepared, arriving early to my meeting. There's nothing saying you aren't allowed to take notes or even help yourself to stand out. Have information about yourself ready to discuss, a copy of your own CV as well as information about the company you are applying for, or at least conduct research into the company before going and preparing questions to ask your interviewer.

Remember: You want to be leaving that interview confident and satisfied with your performance, even if you don't get the job in the end because someone was more qualified. Just be satisfied that you gave it your all and that you can be proud of that stage.

To summarize:

  • Prepare and research the company before attending the interview
  • Have questions ready to ask, quality is better than quantity
  • Dress smart and look the part
  • Be confident and ensure you sell yourself
  • Don't be hard on yourself if you feel like you aren't getting anywhere, we all feel the same

I hope this helps you and good luck with a career in development!