Several hundred thousand graduates leave university each year whilst some take the opportunity to travel before entering the world of work the priority, for the vast majority, is to enter their chosen field as quickly as possible.
Bearing in mind the current economic state-high unemployment combined an increasing amount of graduates' competition for jobs, places on graduate schemes and the like, has never been so fierce. As such, to tip the scales of success in their favour, it is imperative that steps are taken to secure a head start over the competition.
Lets look at the three areas that, with the correct approach can give a serious advantage over your rivals.
1. Get the best possible classification of degree that you are able.
2. Gain experience and develop transferable skills that employers are looking for.
3. Prepare properly for the application and assessment process and make sure that you have the ability to deliver what a prospective employer is looking for.
Getting the best possible classification of degree
This is self-explanatory; a candidate with a higher classification will automatically stand out from those with a lesser grade. That said the right interpersonal skills and qualities are also vital to an employer and so selling yourself and your individual qualities during the assessment process can give you the edge over a better qualified candidate.
Gain experience and develop transferable skills that employers are looking for.
Each university will have a careers service staffed with specialist advisers whose role is to offer expert help and guidance, it’s a free service provided for your benefit so use it to your advantage. Unfortunately many students’ make the mistake of not seeking out the services of a counsellor until the final year (sometimes even the final term) of university, clearly this is the incorrect approach, the sooner advice is sought the better.
A careers counsellor can help in two ways, firstly by suggesting suitable career options dependant upon the subject studied, interests and personality type; secondly to help the person successfully secure a position within their chosen field.
Regardless as to whether you have a particular profession in mind, it remains imperative that you seek advice as soon as possible. It may well be that there are things that you could be doing, during the duration of your degree that will have an impact on your search for work later down the line. For example law students’ may find that summer employment in a solicitors office or the undertaking mini pupillages’ may well have a profound impact when it comes to securing a training contract or pupillage proper.
A career’s counsellor can advise accordingly, not only with regards to gaining practical experience but also regarding the development of skills demanded within your chosen vocation. It is crucial for example, that someone with a desire to enter the world of sales and marketing not only has excellent negotiation skills but can demonstrate to a prospective employer during the application process, how they have used the skill in real situations. Thus over the duration of your degree, whether through academia, via work paid or voluntary, you must have involved yourself in an environment that has enabled you, not only to develop the particular skill but also to facilitate examples from which you are able to draw.
Prepare properly for the application and assessment process and make sure that you have the ability to deliver what a prospective employer is looking for.
This third area which demands a prepared and competent approach is the successful completion of the application process-and a science in itself!
Again the careers advisor can point you in the right direction when it comes to finding opportunities some even have links with major or local employers. They can also give sound advice when it comes to the application and assessment procedure, however the greater the preparation and more extensive your knowledge the better.
An organised student will begin in their search for employment well in advance of graduation. Of course the Internet is the ideal research tool where information can be found on most companies along with their current vacancies and any recruitment schemes that maybe available to you once you’ve graduated. You should also keep an eye out for recruitment events such as job fairs and ‘milk rounds’ as they also offer the opportunity to network, build contacts and forge relationships, to hand out CV’s to speak personally with recruiters and to sell yourself.