Career Job Hunting

As you start to think about choosing a job, you will not know about all the jobs available in particular industries, but a good starting point is to think about what you enjoy, where your interests lie and what you are good at. 

The more clearly you know what interests you, what you like doing, what your talents are and which skills and strengths you want to use in your working life, the easier it is to recognise the opportunities that best suit you.

Ask yourself what is really important to you and what you are willing to do. Everyone has unique motivations and ambitions and yours may be different from those of people you know. Writing your ideas down or talking them through may bring out more possibilities. Your friends and family may help you identify the key deciding factors for your career planning and may point out strengths that you take for granted.

Crucial step in your job search is to learn what people actually do on a day-to-day basis. Understanding jobs is the best way to ensure you make the right decision for you. It is also essential for writing strong applications to persuade a company or organisation that you are a good fit for the job.

Once you have an idea of the type of work you would like to do and the industry you would like to work in, it is important to research the jobs available in that industry. Remember you can never do too much research - visit your university careers centre, use search engines and read job adverts.

Job hunting involves much the same research, whether you are a graduate looking for your first job, or an experienced civil engineer looking a career move. Job hunting is all about finding the right job, not just any job.

To be successful in your job hunt you must be clear about:

  • what you do want to do?
  • what job suits me?
  • how do I use my degree?
  • what do different jobs entail?
  • what kind of company you want to work for?
  • what kind of opportunities you want this to job to lead to?
  • how far you are prepared to travel?
  • are you prepared to move home?

Your answers to those questions will change over time, depending on your age, commitments and career level – but you still need to answer them before your job hunting begins.

There are two main ways of finding a job – by browsing in the open job market and or by looking on the hidden job market. Only around 20% of jobs are ever openly advertised – most people, in fact, secure their jobs via the hidden market.

In the open job market, vacancies are advertised openly on job boards, employers websites, national broadsheet newspapers. Graduate vacancies are advertised on universities vacancy databases and graduate directories and publications.

Generic job websites have general vacancies, but niche industry websites (like will have vacancies for specific industries.
Many employers will also advertise vacancies on their own websites, so you can do some research to target employers that you would like to work for, and then monitor their vacancy pages.

The national broadsheets newspapers have at least one day / week dedicated to engineering vacancies. Some companies will advertise in the local papers or industry specific publications.

You can also approach recruitment agencies who may or may not advertise the job directly in one of the above mediums or on their own website. List of recruitment agencies specialising in recruitment for energy industry.

Many employers try to minimise the expense and risk of hiring new staff by recruiting in the hidden job market. Recruitment process is an expensive one: cost of advertising a job, cost if a full selection procedure or cost of hiring recruitment agency are quite high. Recruitment on hidden market also prevents from being swamped with applications, particularly in the most competitive jobs area.

In the past when looking for work, browsing the jobs section of a good quality newspaper was the way forward. Now, more often than not, most jobs are advertised online in a variety of different ways. Even the newspapers have followed suit!

Employers will usually carry their own vacancies within the content of their respective home pages, but will also publish their posts elsewhere to catch the attention of you and any other potential applicant. Read on to find out how best to make use of the plethora of sites available.

What type of employer suits me?

Finding an organisation that suits you is as important as choosing the right occupation. There are pros and cons with any employer.

Large employers

These are often household names and traditionally key graduate recruiters. They tend to offer structured career development and support for employees studying for professional qualifications.

A whole cohort of graduates may be recruited together, with planned social events. Graduate entrants may earn high salaries and gain early responsibility. There may also be scope to experience different business functions.

On the other hand, the hours may be long and the work highly pressured. Some new entrants may also find their career development options restricted by the organisation's long-term plans.

Small and medium-sized enterprises

SMEs may provide the chance to enjoy a wider involvement in issues affecting the whole organisation from the start. They may also offer variety of workload and flexible conditions. In smaller organisations, you may get to know all your colleagues rather than just those in your own department.
The down side is there may be less frequent opportunities for advancement without changing employers, and starting salaries may be slightly lower.


Setting up a business or self-employment is likely to suit self-motivated and well-organised graduates who value autonomy. The freedom to choose assignments and make independent decisions is balanced by the need to take responsibility for all tasks, including mundane or difficult ones.

Whatever size of employer you prefer, there are three main sectors of employment for you to choose from, each with its own characteristics:

Private sector

• deliver profits to investors;
• operate in competitive markets;
• higher salaries;
• commercial awareness is valued.

Public sector

• delivery of goods and services by or for the government;
• exists to serve the public interest;
• includes healthcare, education, local and national government;
• may offer greater security of employment.

Voluntary sector (also called the 'third sector')

• charities and not-for-profit organisations;
• offers both paid and unpaid posts;
• sector experience is very important for entry.

Choosing your location

Your dream job is unlikely to be on your doorstep, so you may need to move to a new area. Metropolitan areas have a greater concentration of businesses, offering more opportunities. However, there are certain types of work or specialism that are clustered in specific places. For example, there are jobs in ports and airports that do not exist elsewhere. Always take into account how you will get to work and the time it will take. If you are considering relocating, remember to research the local area; this can easily be done by reading the local newspaper and researching online.

Once you have done this, selecting a particular and relevant job site to suit your needs will be much more straight forward, enabling you to make best use of the differing search options (e.g. location; sector; keyword) of each of the sites available to you.

Always remember to thoroughly read through the job description for each post you wish to apply for, ensuring that you meet the requirements listed by the employer.

Finding employers

Some employers will not choose to openly advertise some of their jobs. This is when making good use of contacts gathered through Networking comes in handy. It is also a good reason to make use of some Speculative Applications having carried out some Employer research.

Employer websites

Many employers will have a 'Careers' or 'Job Opportunities' section on their website. If you've identified an organisation or two you are interested in, try looking for jobs directly on their website. If the link to job opportunities isn't obvious, try the site map or contact us page. Don't be put off if an interesting job doesn't say 'graduate', as long as your skills and experience fit the requirements, you will be considered. As with all applications, be sure you tailor it, clearly demonstrating how your skills and experience fit the job on offer. Finding the organisation's website has the added benefit of giving you access to good information on the organisation which might be useful in preparing an application or for interview (visit Employers research for more details)

People are willing to help. Look for someone working in a job, industry or organisation you are interested in.

Alumni and Professional Associations

University graduates work in a variety of industries, jobs and locations. Have a look at your university Career Center. There are also a number of professional associations which can be good sources of job opportunities, with organisations looking for people experienced in that field. While you are a student, you can usually join these associations at a reduced rate for students, which gives you access to a range of information and publications.

The Careers Centre have developed the a database of graduates who have volunteered to offer careers information to existing students. Enter a search term such as job title, sector, employer name, location, or degree discipline to find people who may well be able to help you. Use the Careers Network to gain behind-the-scenes insights into an organisation or occupation, and to create valuable opportunities for networking.

Recruitment Agencies

As well as advertising jobs online most recruitment agencies can be contacted by email, telephone or in person. They can be useful for some sectors and for casual work, but make sure that you don't rely solely on agencies to find a graduate job. To use recruitment agencies successfully it is important to:

▪ Select the agencies carefully - do they specialise in certain sectors or locations? do they deal with graduate entry positions?
▪ Make yourself known to the most appropriate consultant - by telephone or in person
▪ Find out as much as you can about a particular opportunity before you apply for it
▪ Keep in touch with the consultant regularly
▪ Recruitment agencies' income comes from the employers not job seekers, so you should not normally be asked to pay a fee

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) website allows you to search for agencies which deal with employers by sector and location.


Did you know that at least 60% of jobs are not advertised, and that many students and graduates obtain careers information, work experience and graduate jobs through contacts they have made themselves?

Networking is the use of contacts to gather information about a chosen or considered career path and available job opportunities. In fact networking is seen as vital if you want to succeed in the world of work, not only at the beginning but throughout your career.

Maximise your chances

As job seeker you can maximise your chances on the hidden market by trying one of the following:

• Be prepared to take any job with your chosen employer as a stepping stone into the sort of work you are aiming for. Consider short-term contracts, agency work or a period of unpaid work experience. Once on site, you will be amongst the first to hear of any permanent vacancies and may be able to apply for those which are restricted to internal applicants. Plus you will have insider contacts and knowledge, giving you an edge over the competition for that dream job.
• Network with family, friends and other contacts in the field to find out where jobs are likely to come up, and to get a better grasp of what employers are seeking.
• If you can't see the job you want advertised, or you are faced with a high volume of competition for advertised posts in your chosen field, consider a speculative approach to specific employers for whom you would like to work. Make it clear if you are available at short notice, or are prepared to consider part-time work or a short term contract.
• Consider approaching small, local companies as well as bigger employers in your occupational area. Small firms often don't have the budget for large press advertisements but may still need someone with your skills.
• Use the web Online recruitment is one of the great internet success stories, but when job hunting your best bet is a specialist 'vertical' job site – like Energy Jobs List – rather than a bigger, generalist 'horizontal' job board (like
• Sign up for regular job alerts Energy Jobs List has a good Jobs-By-Email, but you need to register to receive them at a personal E-mail address. One risk of job hunting online is that your inbox at your current employer fills up with job prospects with their competitors. Not the most embarrassing thing you can do with your email, but best avoided all the same. SMS alerts are also available on some sites, but read the terms and conditions to make sure you are not paying for them
• Register with a recruitment consultant You can take some of the pain out of job hunting by using a consultancy, but job hunters proceed with care. There are reputable consultancies which will use your CV with discretion, where others will throw it around like confetti. When job hunting, especially if you are already in a job, the last thing you want is your CV turning up on the desk of your current employer. Remember that consultancies are recruiting to fill specific jobs – you can't rely on them to find a job for you.
• Rewrite your CV Web sites and consultancies will expect to see an up to date CV, so revisit and refresh your CV to make the best impression

Job sites and social networking sites can help you find and attract the best opportunities. Here are some tips:

Make time

It is easy to let job hunting fall to the bottom of your to-do list, but you can not afford to let that happen. Schedule at least 15-20 minutes a day in your calendar to work on your resume, update and check online networking profiles and search job listings. Opportunities come and go quickly, so you need to be in the game on a daily basis.

Get noticed

What better way to impress a recruiter than to have a professional networking profile appear as the first search result for your name? Completing your LinkedIn profile to 100% with your education, experience, recommendations and group memberships will increase your search ranking and give employers a strong impression before you ever meet in person.

Be keyword savvy

Make sure your profile is chock-full of keywords that will attract a recruiter's attention. Look through job postings and LinkedIn profiles that appeal to you and incorporate some of the same words or phrases. In addition to job- and industry- specific words, recruiters also love leadership terms (captain, president) and action words (managed, designed).

Reach out

Connect on LinkedIn with everyone you know - friends, family, neighbors, professors, family friends, internship colleagues and others. Once you are connected, send each person a friendly message on LinkedIn, asking if they would keep an eye out for the particular kind of job or jobs you're seeking or if they can introduce you to other helpful contacts.

Spread the word

To build your credibility and stay noticed during your job hunt, regularly update your status on LinkedIn and other social networks. You might share links to articles you think would be relevant to people in your field (to show you are up on the news), announcements about events you're attending (to show that you are actively networking) and good career news (to show that you're headed for success). Just remember to keep your updates clean and appropriate.

Get into groups

Beyond connecting to individuals, join LinkedIn groups related to your alma mater, professional associations, volunteer organizations and industries you want to join. Every discussion in which you comment is an opportunity to market yourself to people who might be hiring, and every group contains a "Jobs" tab where members post opportunities to one another.

Search high and low

What makes LinkedIn's job postings different from others is that they don't just tell you who is hiring, they tell you how you are personally connected to that company through your network. Even when you see a job listed on another site, LinkedIn can help you research people at that company and tell you how you are personally connected through your network. No matter where you look for jobs, cast a wider net by altering your search terms and location criteria from time to time.

Follow companies

When you see a job you like on another job board, use LinkedIn as a company research tool. Check out the LinkedIn Company Page of any organization where you'd like to work and click "Follow company." Activities of that organization on LinkedIn (job postings, hires, announcements) will appear on your homepage and alert you to potential opportunities.

Be persistent

While you don't want to be a pest, persistence is a very important component of the job search process. Sending follow - up messages can help you stand out from other candidates. Every time you send someone a message through LinkedIn, the recruiter or hiring manager can easily click over to your profile and check out your credentials.


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