Description: Being a graduate in 2013 is not an easy position to be in, follow our steps to improving your chances at finding your dream job and standing out from the crowd.
The class of 2013 have entered the real world at a tough time; much like the graduates of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 they have been faced with grim statistics and thousands of fellow graduates all chasing the same job.
Many will have quickly realised by now that there are jobs out there, though they may not be in or directly related to the industry you are interested in. At the early stage of your career keeping pesky gaps off your CV with a temp job or restaurant work will still impress a potential employer, as it demonstrates that you have a good work ethic while you continue to apply for the role you really want.
How to stand out from the crowd
What will make you stand out is dependent on the industry you are interested in going in to, however, the general rule of thumb is get as much work experience under your belt as possible. Employers want to see that you have a passion for what you do and that you have developed your skills by getting experience in that area.
If your interest lies in media and the creative industry, blogging, networking and offering your services to newspapers and magazines will give you valuable hands on experience enabling you to talk at length about what you have done when you achieve an interview.
In the financial and legal sector it has become a pre-requisite that you have work experience before you are considered for a graduate post. Many of your fellow graduates will have fulfilled placements throughout their university summer holidays, if you have yet to attain any experience it may be that you are offered an unpaid internship. An unpaid internship is technically illegal, though the large number of unemployed qualified candidates and shortage of roles means that companies will offer them.
Whichever industry you are interested in, employers will be looking to see how focussed you are on working in that area. The best way for you to demonstrate your commitment is through your extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, internships and work experience throughout your academic career.
Being persistent and thinking outside the box
When applying for jobs on job boards, be aware that if you have seen the advert so has everyone else. In the digital age it is hard to stand out amidst the wash of applications that will be sent in for every role, most of which are unlikely to be read and those that are will be of a similarly high standard to your own.
However, jobs boards are not the only way to discover which companies have vacancies, and by taking a more active approach to your job hunt you will be putting yourself in a much stronger position for the future. By following these steps you will automatically open up the number of opportunities available to you:
- Go straight to the source – Look on each company’s website, if there is a ‘work for us’ page then you may be on to a good thing, alternatively look at the team page and assess which of these jobs your skills are most suited to. Send a cover letter and CV to the company introducing yourself, explaining your background, your experience and what you could bring to the company; although they may not be advertising a vacancy that doesn’t always mean there isn’t one.
- Network – Utilise any pre-existing contacts you have within your area of interest, going to events and offering to do work for free making more connections along the way. Create a professional digital profile on LinkedIn and start following the companies you are interested in; if it’s appropriate connect with staff from those businesses but this is not always the case.Cleaning up your online presence is important when you are looking for your first role, this doesn’t necessarily mean deleting yourself from Facebook and Twitter altogether, but rather change your privacy settings.
- Be persistent – With so many applications coming through each day employers will be looking for candidates who can show their passion and dedication to their career. Employers often look to discover this early on in the recruitment process, giving persistent candidates who chase their applications an edge.
- Be honest with yourself – When you are composing your personal profile for your CV and LinkedIn you need to simultaneously aim high while accepting your limitations. With so many candidates with your experience and skills out there, you need to be aiming for jobs you may not initially consider yourself capable for, but not those that could leave you out of your depth when you reach the interview.Assess the skills you have attained through all your work experience, academia and extra-curricular activities; your ability to work in a stressful environment, your organisational skills, working in and leading a team. These are all valuable assets that should not be taken for granted purely because you have not had them formally acknowledged with an official qualification.
What industry is for you?
If you have yet to work out which profession is right for you, it will be worth your time to spend a couple of months as an interim professional in various sectors. The best way to go about achieving an interim role that will allow you to extend your acquired skills is through a recruitment agency.
Working as an interim professional for a recruitment agency such as portfolio will give you the opportunity to expand your network of contacts, as well as the chance to prove to your recruitment agency that you are a reliable employee with a lot to offer. By treating each role as a job interview you will be improving your chances at a permanent role in a job you could truly enjoy, as recruitment agencies are more likely to put you forward for top jobs once you have demonstrated your commitment to building your career.