Graduating soon?


A number of opportunities await after graduation, but how do you decide which one is right for you? Getting a head start will give you more thinking space (and help you beat the competition!)


If you have read my previous blog, you would have seen that I have spent the past few months talking to graduates. What I am finding is that many are astounded at how difficult it really is to get a job in the field of their preference and the time this initial search is taking them . This comes as no surprise to me, since I was in a similar situation a few months ago. I've got to admit that I made sure to make every second count on my last semester, so I applied to jobs and opportunities quite early on.

You do not need the extra stress during your exams, so exploring your options and different avenues early on (preferably on your last academic year), puts you ahead of the competition and it means that you do not have to worry about it once you graduate. Imagine how good it must feel to have landed yourself a job knowing that all your focus and time can be put into your exams and organising your summer holiday? You do not want your 'last stress-free' summer holiday to be spent sitting in front of a computer applying for jobs and panicking.

As a previous graduate, who has gone through this and is now working full-time and speaking with graduates every day, I would suggest to start focusing on your post-graduate options now. The Christmas break is a brilliant opportunity to plan ahead. Below are a number of options which you could look at which might be helpful for recent or future graduates struggling to decide on a career path:

  1. Gap Year
    A change in location might give you a new focus and perspective. As well, traveling or accomplishing those things on your bucket list might be more difficult to achieve once you begin your full time employment. However, it is key to remember that a gap year is a great opportunity to gain new experiences and skills, whilst giving you time to reflect on what you want to do next, so feeling fulfilled by the end of it should be your aim. It will also help add additional 'life experience' to your CV which employers really value.
  2. Internship
    Internships offer the best of both worlds and are a great way to find out what working for an industry or a specific company involves. It is important to choose the right opportunity that gives you a good experience, especially since most internships are unpaid. This is also a great route to take before full-time employment.
  3. A Master's Degree programme
    This exposes you to a variety of subjects, aiding your personal development. If you decide to do a Master's degree then be sure that it fits with your long-term plans as it is not cheap. It is worth asking, will this help my employment prospects?
  4. Full time job
    Good for those who would like to go straight into work and put their theory into practice. This also allows you to start your career at an early stage, gain experience and earn money! However, if you are trying to put your degree to use and find a job within the field of your studies, bear in mind that it may be difficult to find the perfect role in a specific field. Finding your first 'proper job' is not easy so the idea of starting from the bottom should not put you off.
  5. It is all up to you
    There is no right or wrong answer. It is never too late to change your mind and chart a new way for your career. You will have gained so many transferable skills from university which will be relevant to many jobs. These jobs may not be immediately connected to your degree discipline but your degree will never go to waste. Some of these skills include things such as independence, critical thinking, organizational skills, team work, time management and many more. In our experience, many employers will be more interested in your interpersonal/life skills and abilities than your specific degree discipline.

Remember!

  • You have plenty of time if you get started soon
  • Do not compare yourself to your friends, your choice and decision is yours to make
  • You are definitely not alone

For those of you looking to go into full time employment after university, my next blog will give you a few tips on applying for your first 'proper' job, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

 

Grads, have you been applying for jobs but seeing no progress?


Recruiter to graduate guide, written by a recent graduate-turned-recruiter.


Only 6 months ago I was looking and applying for jobs myself, feeling rejected and not good enough.
Having been through intensive training as a recruitment consultant, I have now moved into my current role, recruiting graduates! During many conversations, I have been able to sympathise with the uncertainty in graduate's voices as they are trying to navigate their way through this new chapter.


The following tips are just a few which can help you stand out from a call list made up of hundreds of graduates. They are simple, effective and do not require much further research or work. Starting my journey as a recruiter, I quickly learned that the thoughts I had as a graduate, which included doubts over the skills I could offer to businesses full of experienced individuals, were far from reality. I have now discovered that graduates bring the flexibility, creativity, motivation and skills that a business needs to stay competitive and dynamic. Changing this mindset and incorporating some of the following tips could be your secret to success!

Set up a professional voicemail message
This is the first form of communication that recruiters will have if you happen to be away from your phone or, like most of us, are screening your calls! This will boost your credibility, make you seem more competent and encourage the caller to try you again. Keep it simple, short and to the point. Make sure you check your voicemails and text messages as most recruiters will try to call first before sending an email.

Have a conversation
When recruiters call they will be asking open ended questions. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, so do not take it for granted. Do not be scared to do most of the talking. If you get asked to talk about your current situation, try to provide some detail rather than a short answer. We like to know that people are capable of answering such questions and holding a natural and engaging conversation. Equally, the ability to communicate articulately is a skill many employers are looking for.


Naturally, your answers will vary, however a few tips include:
Currently working or in education (university) but looking for a new opportunity?
- Talk about what you are enjoying as well as what you are finding difficult (put a positive spin to this and think about what these tough situations have taught you).
- When making a point evidence it with examples, so mentioning figures and statistics is always a good idea such as KPIs, targets, number of assignments/exams completed
- What is important for you for your next role or any future plans you might have, for example studying abroad or any internships/training. (This will open up a new conversation as the recruiter will be able to tell you about the roles that they have available which might be suitable for you).

Unemployed and looking for a job?
-Previous employment and the things that you enjoyed there as well as the reason that you left (again, there could be many reasons for this however try to avoid blaming somebody else for your decision to leave work, and instead talk about everything you enjoyed and your transferable skills as a result of that job).
- If you are participating in any projects or events then talk about those
- Alternatively, feel free to talk about non-commercial elements such as your family, friends or hobbies/sport; we love it when personality comes through, just remember to keep the examples relevant.

Be aware of what is on your CV
As a recruiter, there is nothing worse than asking somebody to talk about their experience within their CV and hearing silence on the other side of the phone. A few tips to avoid the awkward silences include:
Know what is on your CV and be ready to talk about your roles and the companies that you worked for
If there are any gaps within your CV then address those. In order to represent you correctly, we need to understand the reasons behind any gaps.
If you would like to take this one step further and impress then try the following:
- Apply your experience to the job that you are seeking
- Talk about the organization's culture and how you would fit in
- What value can you bring to the organization which is different to other applicants

Ask questions
It is always favorable to ask questions at the end. This does three things, firstly, it shows that you have put some thought into your questions. Secondly, it increases your knowledge, allowing you to assess further if this position and company is right for you. Finally, it demonstrates enthusiasm and interest in the role!

Send a thoughtful follow-up note after your conversation
Sending a note that thanks the recruiter for their time and expresses your enthusiasm for the role goes a long way. A good tip is to mention something that you spoke about during the conversation. This not only shows commitment but it shows that you were paying attention!

I hope this is useful and will allow you to impress future recruiters. If you have found this useful, please feel free to comment and share as I would love to know what you guys think. If there is anything that you would like me to cover on my next blog post then please comment below with some topic ideas. Additionally, if you would like to know more about recruitment as a future career then please comment below or email me at [email protected]

Thank you.