It’s still tough out there in the job market and it can be very hard to stay motivated if you are struggling to find work as a graduate. Self doubt and a lack of confidence in yourself and your skills can begin to creep in, especially if friends and classmates have jobs already lined up. So what strategies can you use to stay proactive?

I recently read an article on graduate employment which quoted Heather Carpenter, a New Zealand career management specialist and author. 

Your [a graduate’s] biggest challenge is to continue to grow your career capital in an adverse environment – but you can do this by applying 21st century solutions and a self managing approach to keep yourself current and motivated.

So what is career capital? Your career capital is like a set of personal assets that relate to your career, and is particularly important when you need to build up experience to get that first job. Career capital can be made up of knowledge capital (your learning and skills); your connections capital (networks and relationships); and motivational capital (the inspiration and aspirations you have). Here’s a summary of Heather Carpenter’s strategies for growing your career capital and staying confident while looking for a graduate role:

  • First assess your current capital. Make a list of your technical skills and training, and generic skills and knowledge you have gained from your education, part-time work and internships. Go back to this often and remember you still have all these fantastic assets to offer even if you have no job yet. 
  • Any temporary or part-time work is valuable while looking for a graduate role. Even if it is not work experience directly related to your study, all learning can be added to your career capital. 
  • Develop self-directed learning skills through observation.  You may not be getting formal training but what skills and behaviours can you see being applied in the workplace?  Look for opportunities to upgrade your own skills by watching and practicing alongside more experienced people you come across.
  • Build connections capital. You can network anywhere, at any time, and building relationships can lead to work experience and additional skills. Friends or family may be able to help you learn new software for example, or try to negotiate an unpaid internship or voluntary work.
  • Include self-directed learning on your CV. It may be from casual work but it shows potential employers that you have maximised your opportunities and are keen to learn.
  • Maintain your motivational capital by reviewing your skills, and reminding yourself of your abilities and competence. Create a vision of your ideal job and workplace and keep it in mind.

To read about these strategies in full go to 

I recommend you check out the ePortfolio on Victoria CareerHub as a great way to create and record your career capital. It enables you to reflect on your learning and think about evidence and examples where you have put your skills into practice. Then when it comes to job applications and interviews, you are able to easily articulate and prove your skills to employers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s