The graduate job search process – a lesson in persistence rather than good career management?

Tui McKeown (Department of Management, Monash University, Clayton, Australia)
Margaret Lindorff (Department of Management, Monash University, Clayton, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 31 May 2011



The paper seeks to provide perspectives on the job search expectations and job seeking strategies of Australian graduates, including their perceptions of University Careers Centres (UCCs).


A total of 45 new graduates and representatives of five UCCs were interviewed.


Both Australian graduates and UCCs are aware of the misalignment between graduates' high expectations and job search realities, but currently do little to proactively redress it. The study also found major inconsistencies between the viewpoints of graduates and UCCs regarding the usefulness of UCCs, as not only did most graduates not use these services, they were often completely unaware of them. This suggests that many graduates find employment based on learning through adversity and persistence rather than good career management.

Research limitations/implications

The research interviewed a small number of new graduates across many disciplines. Focussed interviews from more students in specific discipline areas would be useful.

Practical implications

UCCs should develop strategies for engaging students in the career seeking process early in their studies, and promote the availability and utility of their services. In addition, strategies should be developed to increase students' awareness of the realities of job and career seeking, and to develop their resilience in this area.


The paper increases understanding of student experiences when job seeking, which can be used by universities and UCCs to better prepare students for, and support students during, this process.



McKeown, T. and Lindorff, M. (2011), "The graduate job search process – a lesson in persistence rather than good career management?", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 4, pp. 310-320.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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