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1 year out of uni and pretty lost. Just wanna get a job and fix my life. Any help?

So I graduated a top Russell group with a 2.2 in physics in 2021. I was avoiding life for a while and I had a flat on my own so I just worked temp jobs to make sure I earnt more than I spent but now I'm realising this isn't sustainable.

How can I get a graduate job at this point? I tried applying for Sales positions but I kept failing at assessment centres. Seems pretty weird how they do it, phone interview is too easy and then can't get through and now I don't even know if sales is good for me. Seems really dodgy.

Does anyone know any graduate jobs I could reasonably get and how? What excuse can I use for my year of not working? I just seem to get rejected for everything and I don't know how to get my foot in any door.
Original post by AspiringUnderdog
So I graduated a top Russell group with a 2.2 in physics in 2021. I was avoiding life for a while and I had a flat on my own so I just worked temp jobs to make sure I earnt more than I spent but now I'm realising this isn't sustainable.

How can I get a graduate job at this point? I tried applying for Sales positions but I kept failing at assessment centres. Seems pretty weird how they do it, phone interview is too easy and then can't get through and now I don't even know if sales is good for me. Seems really dodgy.

Does anyone know any graduate jobs I could reasonably get and how? What excuse can I use for my year of not working? I just seem to get rejected for everything and I don't know how to get my foot in any door.


2021 was barely 2 years ago. The general rule of thumb is that you can apply for grad jobs at any time, but you are more likely to be successful within the first three years after graduation. So you're still in a great position, and luckily have picked the right moment to start taking your job search seriously. You've got a top RG university on your CV, and you studied a course that proves you have strong qualitative and analytical skills. You'll be fine! Do you have any professional work experience/internships that would be relevant to a grad job?

As for grad jobs that you could reasonably get, because of your degree, you have an extremely wide range available to you. You could do anything numerate, such as research, quantitative research, or things that involve engineering, construction, project management, analytics... the list goes on and on! A one year gap isn't unheard of for graduates, and the fact that you've been doing temp work instead of being sat at home doing nothing will come across very well to interviewers. Describe your temp work on your CV and talk about your personal development and the skills you learnt: such as teamwork, working under pressure, handling responsibility, soft skills such as customer service etc - that now make you a better candidate to contribute to the grad job role you are applying to. You could also excuse your gap from professional work by saying the coronavirus affected your job search, or you wanted to travel etc.

Your Action Plan from today:

- Be confident about your skills and experiences. Be ready to sell yourself and explain why they should hire you. Don't make yourself seem like a pity story, because you're not one. Many graduates get 2:2's and go on to have amazing careers. Many graduates missed out on their jobs in 2021 because of coronavirus but they pushed hard and got great jobs in 2022. You have all the potential, you have just got to use it!

- Rewrite your CV and Cover Letter. Use CV/CL templates (free online) to help. Keep it professional, succinct and clean. Get it checked and improved by professionals (you can do this for free online, links below). Use doing words (I achieved, I completed, I increased, I improved etc....) instead of passive words (I took part in, I contributed to, I supported etc..) Mention the skills you have learnt from your degree/dissertation/work experiences e.g. that you have strong qualitative and analytical skills. You work well under pressure. You can multi-task. You love team work and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You enjoy and are successful at learning new concepts and applying them. Look at the skills the job description is looking for and tailor your CV/CL towards that: mention those skills with examples of how you've performed them successfully.

- Find and APPLY to graduate jobs (some links below to get you started below). Bright Network, Gradcracker, Indeed, Target Jobs and Prospects are all good websites to search on. Create an excel file to keep track of all the jobs you've applied for.

- Practise, practise, practise online assessments! The key to success with them is honestly just practise. (link below)

- Practise competency based questions, STAR answers and strength based questions (search for example questions and answers online!)

Remember:
- Set time out everyday for this graduate job search. Grad job searching may be a lengthy process, but luckily you'll only ever have to do it once in your life. This is your time. Dedicate the hours, it will be worth it!
- Keep up with your emails. Turn on email notifications on your phone to help
- Rejection is NORMAL and to be expected! Even if 70% or more of your applications end in rejection, who cares? The more you apply for, the better you will get because you'll know the process even better every single time. You only need one job to get your foot in the door! Grad jobs are very much a numbers game. Most people have to apply widely (anything between 20 - 50+ applications) before they start getting some offers and seeing success.
- You don't necessarily have to work within the physics/science field if you don't want to. As long as you can explain how you have transferable skills for the role, that you are eager to learn new skills, and you can show you have passions for the industry, you could apply for consulting or business roles, banking roles etc! It's definitely not unheard of for science graduates to become successful consultants and bankers, so don't limit yourself if you decide science is not for you!

Good luck going forward!

Some links to help:
CV Templates
https://standout-cv.com/pages/physics-graduate-cv-example
https://www.resume-now.com/cv/templates/sciences/physicist
https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/graduate-cv-template/
https://zety.com/uk/blog/graduate-cv-example

Free CV checker
https://resumeworded.com/cv-checker
https://www.topcv.co.uk/cv-review

Grad Job Opportunities
https://www.gradcracker.com/search/science/jobs
https://www.gradcracker.com/
https://www.brightnetwork.co.uk/graduate-jobs/pharmaceuticals-science/
https://uk.indeed.com/jobs?q=Physics+Graduate&l=United+Kingdom&vjk=e0164d0d7ab8a4d9
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/physics
https://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/physics-graduate/49290119?source=searchResults&filter=/jobs/jobs-in-wallingford?sortby%3DDisplayDate&utm_campaign=google_jobs_apply&utm_source=google_jobs_apply&utm_medium=organic
https://targetjobs.co.uk/jobs/health-physics-graduate-programme-69959?utm_campaign=google_jobs_apply&utm_source=google_jobs_apply&utm_medium=organic
https://targetjobs.co.uk/search/jobs?search=

Practise Online Applications
https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/cvs-applications-and-tests/try-your-hand-free-practice-aptitude-tests
https://www.assessmentday.co.uk/
https://www.graduatesfirst.com/
https://www.brightnetwork.co.uk/graduate-career-advice/aptitude-and-numerical-tests/
I would be careful with the sales jobs applications, a lot of them are basically glorified flyer hand out people and at worst they can be pyramid schemes. They are really glossy and well dressed up and I fell for one not long after uni (fortunately realised before I could get in any deeper with it).

Although you have been doing temp jobs its still transferable skills that you are picking up. A lot of physicists (no offense to anyone reading) can lack in the practical real world skills (interpersonal etc) so this is good to have.

I wish you luck with everything.
you're never too late to apply to graduate schemes. Someone I know on my scheme is in their early 30s - supposedly they have taken a career change but I haven't talked to them much

there are many schemes out there, don't limit yourself to sales. Try accounting/audit/consulting/business analyst, actuarial, engineering - all of these seem suitable for your degree. I would keep a journal for your applications, note down where you have applied to, the date you applied, the stage you're at, your thoughts on these stages. This helps you see on paper/excel where your strong points are and weak points are in the application process. If you're struggling with a certain stage, there are resources on youtube and blogs that can help you nail some of these.

Something I noticed when I apply was that you have to adapt your answers to the company, sometimes you do have to say things they want to hear even if it sounds like it's not something you thought of yourself. They really want applicants to be familiar with their values and culture. if you can demonstrate you know these through real life examples then you're going to be ok.

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