The Secret To Finding The Best Graduate Job Opportunities



In this post you we’ll show you:

  • Which 4 Simple Steps Will Help You Find 30 Hidden Graduate Opportunities Right Now.
  • Where To Discover Graduate Employers No One Else Knows About.
  • How To Get The Best Jobs Without Using Recruiters Or Any Other 3rd Party.

By the end of this post, you will know how to uncover at least 30 hidden graduate job opportunities

Please note: if you haven’t read ‘How I Got A Graduate Job In 3 Days’ or ‘Hacking The Hidden Job Market‘; this post won’t make much sense to you – so I would advise you check those out first.

Your goal is to secure a job offer for a graduate role. As discussed in previous posts, in order to do that we need to get interviews by contacting potential employers directly.

And of course, that’s done by building a list of potential graduate employers in your field.

How? By gathering names of relevant companies and managers. At the end of this post, you will know exactly how to discover all the best hidden graduate job vacancies.

I strongly recommend that you have a pen and paper or if you are fancy, document the names on an Excel spreadsheet.

There are two steps to this process:

  • 1) We find companies that hire graduates in your field
  • 2) We get the names of relevant managers.

Step 1) Finding Companies That Hire Graduates In Your Field

Companies That Hire Graduates There are 4 main ways to find companies that hire graduates:

  1. Industry Magazines/Industry Journals
  2. ‘Best Of’ Lists
  3. Linkedin
  4. Google Search

I’ll discuss each method in turn below:

1)  Industry Magazines/Journals & Trade Publications

industry magazines

In my opinion this is the champion of finding under the radar graduate employers. I’ve found many a hidden graduate job using trade publications. How this works is very simple.

Firstly you find the top industry magazines/journals in your chosen field, If you don’t know any trade publications in your chosen field, go to Google and type in:

Field + Industry magazine + UK (or whichever country you reside in)

For example, for recruitment I would type in ‘ recruitment industry magazine UK’ – and get the following results:

finding graduate employers

The first 3 results are all industry magazines


After you’ve found several industry magazines, look through them for company names and write them down.Many industry magazines are published online these days so you don’t even have to go down to the library or WH Smiths to get them.

Things to look for

  1. Feature articles: often the authors are directors or higher ups in a relevant company – they’ll also mention relevant industry news, and market trends where you can find more names.
  2. Adverts/Sponsorship: Being able to pay for advertising or sponsorship is a sign that a company is doing well – and perhaps growing and needing more staff, including graduates: Make a note of the companies that are advertising or offering sponsorship.
  3. Industry Awards: I actually found my very first graduate job by contacting an employer who was up for an industry award. Magazines will often host their own industry awards and publish a list of nominees – use this to get relevant names. Expand this method by looking for past industry awards and the nominees and winners e.g. look at 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, etc.


2) ‘Best Of’ or ‘Fastest Growing’ Lists

best companies 2015

The Sunday Times Best Companies

Similar to industry awards, ‘best of’ company awards are great for finding relevant company names.

‘Best of’ company list are a rundown of the best companies in a certain category, i.e. the best nonprofits in the UK, the best small companies etc.

The fastest growing on the other hand are companies that are defined solely by how fast they’re growing (its a great way to find SME’s!).

There are two main benefits to using these lists for leads:

I) Good Reputation: as they are on a ‘best of’ list, it follows that these companies are widely recognised for excellence, are prestigious and have a good reputation – which is important because it eliminates the chance of you joining a dodgy company – and nobody wants that.

II) High growth: obviously, the companies on ‘fastest growing’ lists are experiencing a lot of growth, what that means for you is that lots of growth typically equals more need for staff, more vacancies and more hiring, including graduates like you.

Some great ‘best of’ lists include:

You can find more by doing a simple Google search.

3) LinkedIn

Linkedin is an online professional social network. It’s basically Facebook for businesses and many companies are on it. In fact the UK is the 4th largest user of Linkedin in the world.

If you’re a graduate job seeker, I would strongly recommend signing up and creating a brief profile – it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes and to a prospective employer it makes you look well organised and serious about your job search.

It’s also an excellent place to find relevant company names and potential graduate employers. You can do this by utilising Linkedin’s ‘similar ‘company search’ and ‘advance search’

advanced search


  • Linkedin: put a keyword in the box at the top of the page e.g. pharmaceuticals then hit enter.
  • This will give you everything with pharmaceuticals in it; people, companies, jobs etc etc
  • Go to the lefthand side, click ‘companies’ – now only companies will show
  • Use the filters on the lefthand side to determine things like the correct location, industry etc
  • This will stop you from getting results from all over the world and irrelevant e.g. pharma recruiters rather than clinical research companies.
  • Go through the list to find relevant companies

Screenshot linkedin

Similar profile check:

similar profiles

Another way to find graduate job leads using LinkedIn is to look at the profiles of people who are already in the profession you want to get into.

Look at (and make a note of) what company they currently work for, and what company they have previously worked for.

You can find this exactly the same way as the company search; but instead of clicking ‘companies’ on the lefthand side, select ‘people’ – this should give you a list of suitable profiles.

Rather than typing a generic keyword like pharmaceuticals [would also recommend typing an actual profession or keyword in the box e.g. ‘clinical researcher’ rather than just ‘pharmaceuticals’ as this will narrow it down for you.

Note: When you click on a person’s profile, check the right hand side. There should be a list of pictures of even more people with similar profiles; click your way through and get more suitable company names this way.


4) Direct Google Search

graduate vacancy search

A direct Google Search is a great way of finding not only relevant companies, but also actual vacancies. Although technically not ‘hidden’ many of these available jobs are ignored by other graduate job seekers because they’re buried deep in the search engine.

However, if you know how to look for these oportunities, it’s well worth it because you’ll cut your competition in half.

Before you start, draw up a list of keywords and phrases related to your niche. For example, if you’re looking for a software developer role in London you would type in the following phrases:

“Junior Developer Careers London”
“Graduate Developer London”
“Trainee Software Developer London”

Example search results

Example search results

Or someone who is looking for a position as a research assistant the Pharmaceutical industry in Manchester, would type:

“pharmaceutical research assistant Manchester”
“trainee clinical research careers Manchester”
“graduate pharmaceutical vacancies Manchester”

Sample Search Results

Sample Search Results

Pre-prepared list of keywords: Think of as many keywords and relevant phrases as you can and write them down before you start, I would always recommend at least 5 different phrases. Having a pre-prepared list makes the search easier, there’s less hassle as you don’t have to constantly stop to think of a new keyword.

Synonym help: If you can’t think of many keywords or phrases, use a thesaurus (or go to for inspiration!

Google Search Options: Make sure to take full advantage of Google Search options when you type in your keywords/phrases – just click ‘Search Tools’ on the far right, and start filtering anything that might apply, for instance, you probably don’t want career opportunities based overseas if you’re in the UK – so you can filter the search to show only UK based websites.


STEP 2) Finding Managers Names

GRADUATE MANAGERBy now you should have a list of at least 50 companies from following step 1. Now its time to go to LinkedIn, login and do some investigative work.

How to find hiring managers: In the top box, type in the company and the title that the superior of your chosen profession would have: e.g.  a web developer would probably report to the head of development, or the development manager. A broker to the head of sales, or sales manager.

Some good keywords to use in order to find relevant managers include: ‘Director’ ‘Head of’, ‘Manager’, ‘Team Lead’ – obviously this will vary depending on what field you want to pursue: but generally look for the title of someone who is one, two or three steps more senior than you.

*Please note: logging into LinkedIn will give you the best results but sometimes you can shortcut this by typing your search term straight into Google – as long as you prefix this with ‘Linkedin’.

Another option: You should always first look for a senior/team lead type person, as often a manager or ‘head of’ will be the person who makes the decision whether or not to hire you.

However, if you can’t find such a person, look for the HR (Human Resources) and internal recruiters of a company. You find them in exactly the same way you find hiring managers:

e.g. company name + hr (or recruitment)

Add their names to the list as well. Please note that HR and internal recruiters typically do not have the final say in whether you are hired: they are often only there to introduce you to the real decision makers (the hiring managers and Directors of a company) so don’t make HR and Internal Recruitment the focal point of your search.

At the end of this exercise, you should have at least 30 managers’ names and 50 company names.

If you can’t find a relevant name on LinkedIn don’t panic; I have prepared a pitch (in next week’s post) where you don’t need a name to get in touch with the relevant person. But a name is always nice to get and shows you put in some extra effort.

Next week’s post is about how to use this info to actually score some interviews!

What about you? What other stealth ways to find potential employers do you know? Let us know in the comments.


If you enjoyed this post, you might like:
Why Your Graduate Job Hunt Will Fail Without This Simple Action
This Is Why You Don’t Have A Graduate Job Yet: Top 8 Reasons You Haven’t Been Hired


Images via Flickr under Creative Commons License
hector aljandro – Magazines

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