How easy is it to get a graduate job?
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Compared to a generation ago, there are a phenomenal amount of graduates. Unfortunately, there are not enough graduate jobs to accommodate this increase. Take a look at our infographic about how easy is it in reality to obtain a graduate job and which companies have the largest amount of grad jobs going?
When is the best time to apply to a graduate job?
Although graduate jobs are available throughout the year, there are months where a larger proportion of graduates will be taken on. Typically, the highest volume of new jobs advertised are during May-July and then, September-November. Within the May-July period, job specifications are prepared for the influx of applicants that have recently graduated from university and are now ready to start work. Although the latter trend may suggest that the graduate jobs are available from September, the process that candidates need to take in order to be accepted for the post can take up to six months.
So you’re ready to go out into the big wide-world and make your mark… What are some of your biggest considerations and where do you start?
It is a good idea to make a list of your skills and the jobs sectors you’d be interested in applying to, so that you can start to narrow down the field.
Should you choose a grad job or a non-grad job?
Compared to a generation ago, there are a phenomenal amount of graduates. Unfortunately, there are not enough graduate jobs to accommodate this increase. In a recent study conducted by the Telegraph, statistics showed that ‘on average, employers have received 39.2 applications per vacancy, although for some industries it is much higher.’ It may therefore be worth considering casting a wider net and applying for non-graduate posts. As noted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development ‘Overall, 58.8% of graduates are in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles’. Even if it is not your dream career, knowledge is indeed power, and the experience gained by working for another company may act as a stepping stone towards your ultimate goal.
How many applications on average will you need to make before a positive response?
A recent survey conducted by the Independent concluded that ‘Nearly 40 per cent of graduates are looking for work six months after graduation, while a quarter are still unemployed after a year, according to new research.’
How can you increase your chances of getting noticed by an employer and obtaining that all-important interview?
Streamline your application process
Check your CV & Cover Letter for these frequent faux pas
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a punchy, well-written C.V. It is a chance to sell yourself and to make a good first impression. If for example, you were looking at car advertisements and a previous owner had written that the car was ‘siiiiick’ and had ‘only a few dents or scratches’, you would likely move onto the next car, which was ‘like new’, ‘cost-effective’ and had been looked after. It is important therefore that you fashion an impressive C.V. and cover letter which are both memorable for the right reasons. Below, we have put together a step-by-step guide with some useful hints, tips and information on the most common mistakes made by candidates.
Step One: Presentation / Content
Ask anyone…stories of horrendous C.V. flops are all too common. It may sound obvious, but don’t write your C.V. on a piece of screwed-up paper/ by hand / in size 18 Comic Sans / on coloured paper / using [pink] ink, or include pictures. Also, the use of humour or being overly creative can also act as a hindrance.
Less obvious, yet all too common mistakes include the structural layout of your C.V.
As noted by Inside Careers the order of information should be as follows:
Personal details: If you are updating an existing C.V. make sure that your contact information is all up-to-date, including your email address, contact address, landline and mobile number.
Qualifications: List this in order of prominence.
Training: Include material that is directly relevant to the position you are applying for.
Employment: Include relevant experiences and details of your most recent employment. For example, mucking out your Aunt’s stables 6 years ago bears no relation to applying for an IT post.
Interests: This is a chance to talk passionately (but don’t ramble!) about what makes you tick as a person. Employers want candidates who will ‘fit’ into their team and interact well with their existing staff. Consider any extracurricular activities that may have given you an experience directly related to the post. For example, when applying to an editorial position, being a passionate writer or blogger would be worth mentioning.
References: Make sure to ask referees their permission before citing their details. If you are unexpectedly making demands of their time, they are less likely to put in that extra effort whether in paper form or verbally to make you shine in the eyes of a potential employer. Think carefully as to who you want to represent you - were you the model employee at your last post? Your references should include both a character and professional contact.
Tip: Ask yourself, is the layout and spacing visually attractive? Overly crowded C.Vs may deter busy employers. Similarly, massive gaps suggest that you didn’t have enough content to fill the page.
Step Two: Quality
Your C.V. and cover letter act as the first example of work you’re capable of producing. For that reason, you should check that your grammar, spelling and punctuation are all correct. The most common mistakes include use of the wrong forms of ‘your’ / ‘you’re’, it’s / its or ‘their’, ‘there’ and ‘they’re’.
Interpret and apply your experiences to the person / job specification, do not simply copy the job advertisement’s requirements into your cover letter.
Another classic mistake made by candidates is creating a cover letter / C.V. template and not tailoring the content to the company.
Consider how to phrase your experiences and expertise. It is important to not under-sell yourself. For example, writing on your CV that you made the cups of tea in the morning for everyone would not make you stand out against other candidates, however, it is also important not to lie.
Step Three: Quantity
If you have under 10 years of professional experience, you should keep your C.V. to a page in length. Equally, ensure that there is enough content on your C.V to warrant the employer reading it. A couple of paragraphs about how you worked the Next sales for a month, 10 years ago will be headed directly for the waste-paper basket!
Learn to handle constructive criticism and pick yourself up from failure.
Impatience, money worries and having high standards about your self-performance (which is no bad thing!) can lead to low moods. Just remember that some of the biggest successes have been born out of failure.
Make sure that you:
1. Learn from your mistakes
2. Ask for feedback from interviews
3. Thank the company for having interviewed you
4. Actually read the constructive criticism you have been given and evaluate how you could improve in future
Check out the famous faces below, all of whom were first considered to be life’s failures.
1. Walt Disney – Fired for lacking creativity!
2. The Beatles – Rejected by a recording studio who said ‘they have no future in show business
3. J. K. Rowling – First Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 different publishers.
4. Elvis Presley – Was fired after his first performance at the Grand Old Opry and told ‘you ain’t goin’ nowhere son.’
5. Albert Einstein – Told by teacher that he was mentally slow. He later went on to say, ‘if you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.’
6. Steve Jobs – Suffered depression after being removed from the company he started. He recovered and his company Apple is now a market leader in terms of tablet sales.
7. Bill Gates – Harvard University drop-out. His first business failed too.
8. Beethoven – His music teacher stated ‘as a composer, he is hopeless’.
9. Isaac Newton – didn’t achieve much at school and failed when given his family farm to run.
10.Michael Jordan – Was cut from his school basketball team.
Good luck in your job search!