Looking for your first full time job after university, college or school can be daunting. It is something we really appreciate and understand at Bain and Gray, and see our role as recruitment consultants to help you with this important step to get your career off on the right foot. The job hunt requires resilience, planning and focus, but it should also be something to enjoy and learn from, remember you have lots to offer and lots to prove, this is an exciting time!

As a college or university leaver you are more than likely to still be living at home or in accommodation that is temporary after school or studying. Often first jobbers are initially based out of London and looking to get jobs in London which means planning is key. You need to be available at short notice and think how you can organise to stay in London to make it as stress free and simple as possible rather than travelling in and out of London for interviews. Try and organise your interviews over a number of consecutive days to make the most of your time, your consultant should be able to do this for you. However, be careful not to do too many interviews in one day, ideally one in the morning and one in the afternoon; more than three and you won’t make the best of them or make an informed decision or feedback after the interview.

Use your network and stay with friends and relatives, think of it as good practice and experience, and you will also start to get a feel for the best places in London for you to live, and the best commuting route. Also think about your life outside work, where you will be travelling back to in the evenings and where your friends are.

At Bain and Gray, we invest time in our candidates who are embarking on their first job. We strongly believe our role as recruiters is to make sure we understand our candidates and give them the best advice for them. Often young candidates benefit from advice on CVs, salary expectations as well as job opportunities. We really train our consultants to advise on your search based on our time spent listening to you, it is really important that you trust your consultant and feel that you have been understood. It is a real pleasure and a privilege to help our candidates start their careers and set them on a path where they are around people they can learn from in an environment that suits them.

We know that often candidates looking to get their careers started are actually very unsure where they would be best suited and what they want. This is normal; how would you know what suits you when you have never worked in an office before. The first job you do is very much a first rung on a ladder, you must focus on working alongside like-minded people, within in a company with an ethos that you can relate to and are attracted to. I often see candidates being blinded by company ‘names’ or specific industries that may sound glamourous or exciting, and ending up in offices that sounded amazing but are actually very difficult to work in or full of people that you don’t ‘click’ with. Preconceptions around industries and companies must be parked, you should keep your mind open and listen to your consultant. You can always walk away from an interview if you decide it’s not for you, but you will never know until you try something and take a look!

Remember that your recruitment consultant has knowledge and can negotiate the difficult questions for you. Often salary is an issue for first jobbers. It is difficult to live in London on £22,000, but it may be the salary that gets your foot in the door to a company and job you love. Remember this is a starting salary, your consultant may well be able to negotiate a salary review for you after your probation period which is typically 3 months from when you start. You may also be eligible for a bonus or be able to negotiate travel or cycle to work schemes as part of your package which will all help. The starting salary quickly goes up if you are in a company that recognises and values you and wants to nurture and progress you as much as they can.

My top tips for first jobbers are:

  1. go into the job search with an open mind and a positive attitude.
  2. take advice and be brave. It’s an exciting step.
  3. remember it is not the job that will pigeon hole you forever, it’s the springboard that gets you started.
  4. You must be happy in your first job and having new experiences to build on.
  5. Your first job should be for at least a year to put solid experience on your CV.

We have lots of advice for your job search on our website or talk to the team.