A few reassuring words for new Graduates..

Congratulations – after years of hard work, you have finally completed your degree and you have the skills, the certificate and an array of memories and life experiences to show for it! So how does it feel? Are you excited and ready to venture into the outside world of work? Do you have a career path in mind?

If you already know what path you want to follow, fantastic, but if you are open to gaining experience, then the thought of where to start in your job search can be daunting.

First off, don’t panic. You are certainly not alone in graduating with a sense of “I want a career and training, not just a job” but without a clear idea of what that career might be or indeed, what industry sector you are interested in.

There are a small number of graduate recruitment schemes that provide structured training and experience at larger companies. Many organisations traditionally advertise graduate schemes during the ‘milk round’ of September to December. However, if you missed the opportunity to apply or were unsuccessful, please remember that many companies have now adopted a year-round approach to graduate recruitment and there are still opportunities out there. Websites such as Graduate-jobs.com, milkround.com and prospects.ac.uk all list graduate schemes and other job opportunities for graduates.

It is worth bearing in mind that a graduate scheme is not the only way, or even the most common route, for graduates to embark on their working lives. Places are very limited and extremely competitive so the reality for many graduates will be to start the summer job hunting.

Before you start pinging your cv across the cyberspace, however, you will need to do some homework and this doesn’t mean just putting a cv together.

Some soul searching about the type of industry and role that you see yourself progressing in is essential at this early stage. A scatter-gun approach to job hunting is rarely successful. Successful candidates can clearly demonstrate why they are interested in a role or company and the relevant skills they can offer. Following companies of interest on Linkedin, scanning the online jobs boards and reading the business news sections are all good sources of general information as well as job listings. If you are keeping an open mind to different opportunities, then an honest appraisal of your skills, what you enjoy and what you are good at, is a good way to start building an idea of what role you might enjoy and be best suited to.

Once you have a clear idea of what you can offer an organisation then you can tailor your cv in to target either specific job adverts or for speculative applications and start applying for relevant job opportunities.

Contacting recruitment agencies can also be a useful tool in your job search. Many recruiters are industry specific and they have great insider knowledge of their industry and the companies they recruit for. Roles may be permanent, temporary or fixed term contracts. Taking on a temporary contract, especially for more junior roles, can be an excellent way to gain valuable work skills and demonstrate what you can offer a company. Often, these positions can lead to an offer of permanent employment and gaining experience from different employers in your early career can also be very positive, particularly if you can demonstrate that your skills or responsibilities have increased with each position.

Whatever industry sector you choose and type of role you envisage yourself working in, careful preparation at all stages of the job application process is essential.

If you would like support and advice from getting the best out of your cv, to hints on what to expect during the recruitment process and coaching on how best to perform at interview, please contact ailsa@aminterviewcoach.com to find out more.

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