Day 16: How to find a job?

By Jan.31, 2017

Fiona Christie – careers consultant

Where do you go to find suitable vacancies to apply for? It can be a challenge to know where to actually find the right kind of opportunities for you. Google is good but may just overwhelm you with possibilities! Developing a productive job-hunting strategy can really help. What worked for you as a student getting part-time work might not for finding a job that will take you in the right career direction.

Did you know?

Graduates find jobs in all sorts of ways and all kinds of places. Here is a list which shows how 2015 graduates nationally said how they had found the job they were doing (data collected as part of the national graduate destinations survey 6 months after finishing university).


Recruitment agency/website – 19.7%

Employer websites – 18.5%

Personal contacts, including family and friends – 17.3%

Already worked there (including on an internship/placement) – 15.9%

University Careers service – 7%

Media (e.g. Newspaper/magazine advertisement) – 3.4%

Other university source (e.g., lecturer, website) – 3.2%

Social media/ professional networking sites – 2.8%

Speculative application – 2.5%

Other 9.7%

Source – Charlie Ball, Graduate Prospects (2016)


So people get jobs in all sorts of ways. It can be useful to think about the ‘open’ and ‘hidden’ job markets. The open job market refers to those jobs that are advertised. The hidden job market refers to those that aren’t advertised and you might get through contacts or an internal move.

How not to find a job

In the classic careers book What Colour is Your Parachute? Richard Bolles talks about the best and worst ways of getting a job. According to him your chances of success are most likely if you make highly targeted and tailored applications, you are least likely of success if you just post out your CV to as many employers as you can and rely solely on job ads.

And I’d agree with him, job-hunting isn’t like the lottery and just hoping the more jobs you apply for, the higher your chances of getting a job may be flawed thinking. The opposite may actually be the case if you invest valuable energy in applying for so many jobs, that you can’t do justice to the ones you really want.

Enhance your chances

So job-hunting is easier if you can work out your priorities in terms of the jobs you are applying for which takes time. Find out where the jobs are being advertised for the field you are interested in. The internet made job-hunting easier but also harder as it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of opportunities advertised especially by sites such as Indeed which harvest opportunities from a variety of sources. As a Salford graduate, you can also still access all the vacancies we advertise via our careers portal so make sure you do that, as employers come to us because they are targeting students and graduates.

Remember that looking for advertised vacancies is only one way people find jobs. Are there recruitment agencies that operate in the field of work you are interested in?  Check our web pages for advice on using an agency, and browse Agency Central which is an umbrella search site for agencies where you can search by specialism and location. You should never pay for registering for an agency. There are loads of agencies so working out who does what is important.

Word of mouth

But it’s also possible to find jobs through the hidden job market, i.e., through your connections. It’s always worth letting people you know you are looking and to ask them to alert you to opportunities. Some people also get jobs through an internal move too, so getting a job in the kind of organisation you want to work for, even if it not doing what you want to do, may allow you to move into other positions later. We cover this further in the Grit your Teeth and Get Networking post.

Beware of fake job ads

The internet has also spawned a variety of scams that seek to trick innocent job seekers out of money and/or personal data. So be alert to this. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  As a university Careers team, we occasionally hear of specific scams, some of which are pretty plausible. The website SaferJobs is a good resource for getting information or seeking advice if you are suspicious. General good rules include never parting with money as part of an application, don’t ring premium rate telephone numbers for an interview, be sceptical of hiring agents or go-betweens that rely completely on technology for interacting with you and don’t appear to have proper contact details and a real address.


Consider the following points and questions and make some notes.

  • Do you have a job-hunting strategy?
  • How would you describe your approach to job-hunting?
  • Reflecting back on the jobs and work you have done (career-related as well as just to earn money), how did you secure these opportunities? What worked best?

If you have not done this already, make sure your account in our University careers portal is set up. This means you can browse job opportunities that the University has been sent by employers.  Ensure your preferences are accurate so we know what work you are looking for.


Further information

Salford Careers job vacancies page

Information page about job-hunting from your careers team

Information about using recruitment agencies

Agency Central – umbrella site for searching recruitment agencies

Review job vacancy sources for the careers you are interested within the Graduate Prospects job profiles.  Are you looking in the right places for job ads.



2 thoughts on “Day 16: How to find a job?

  1. Matt Keleher says:

    Great blog, Fiona and thanks for the mention!

    Applying for your first job after university can be daunting, but graduate recruitment agencies can help make landing an interview that much easier!

    Many recruiters offer free, professional advice and assistance to graduate jobseekers. So, to give yourself the best chance of getting your dream job, you should take the time to register with a few recruitment agencies catering to your chosen industry and location.

    The Agency Central site has a directory of graduate recruitment agencies covering a wide spectrum of industries across the UK.

    This resource is free and simple to use. To track down the recruiters that would most benefit you, simply select ‘Looking for a job’ from the ‘I am…’ field, choose an industry from the search bar, and enter your location. You can filter the results by relevance to your specialism or distance from your location.

    By taking advantage of the help available from your university’s Careers service, online resources such as the Agency Central site and graduate recruitment agencies, you should soon be taking the first steps towards an exciting, rewarding new career.

    We wish all current and upcoming graduates the very best of luck!

    The Agency Central team

  2. This is so informative article. I really appreciate your time and efforts for writing this. I recommend everyone to go through this article once.


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