It’s never too late to start thinking about your career, and if you do leave it too late, you may live to regret it.
The perfect job is not just going to land in your lap – you need to do your research, polish your CV and practise your interview answers (and questions) until you are pitch perfect and ready to go.
According to the High Fliers Research 2017; ‘’Half the UK’s leading employers said they had received more completed graduate job applications during the early part of the recruitment season than they had last year and two-fifths also believed the quality of applications had improved. Together, the country’s top employers have received 9% more graduate job applications so far, compared with the equivalent period in the 2015-2016 recruitment round.
So what does this mean?
1 You need to be decisive.
Do you know what you’re going to do with your degree? Too many graduates leave their final career choice until very late in the day – by the time they’ve decided exactly what job they want to do, they’ve missed the annual advertising and application process for many large companies who might only recruit graduates once a year. Decide early on in your degree what roles you’re going to look out for and as soon as you see them advertised, apply for them. Many graduates aren’t sure and make mistakes with their first choice and then end up leaving the role within the first year – don’t be one of them and waste your time. See our Career Coach’s advice on choosing a career if you’re still unsure.
When a company offers training opportunities, the learning and development of the individual is enhanced and they are three times more likely to stay with the company for five years or longer. Over half of the 2017 graduates expect on the job training as well as formal training – look for this when you’re applying for a role, and ask about it if it’s not offered.
2 Don’t underestimate the time that it will take to find a job.
Once you’ve decided what to do, you need to apply to the company – then there’s the application form, the assessment centre, the interview and then the final decision if you’re lucky enough to get that far with your first application form. Chances are, you’ll need to apply for a number of jobs before you are invited to take the process further. This all takes time and you need to think about it months before you actually start the application process – writing a good CV, identifying and honing your skills will take a while. Look at our ‘how to’ guide to help you perfect your covering letter, CV and perform well in your assessment and interviews.
3 You need to secure a good internship.
These are advertised at various points during the year and are often essential if you want to gain full time paid employment with a company. If you want a summer internship then look out for the first adverts in early spring. These opportunities can be seen as a stepping stone into a paid role for the following year and will give you a distinct advantage over other candidates should you choose to apply for them – you’ll know the company and the procedures, and have an ongoing opportunity to prove your value. They’re also really useful as they should confirm the kind of role that you’re looking to secure when you apply for a job. Time spent during an internship will reinforce why you want that role for a full time job and you’ll have gained essential experience. Be proactive and apply for an internship early – think ahead.
The High Fliers research 2017 found that ‘’over a third of recruiters who took part in the research repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.
4 You must be stronger than your competitors.
With more people than ever going to university and gaining degrees, the competition in the graduate work force is high. To stand out, you need to be better, brighter and have more to offer than your competitors. You’ll need to prepare yourself for more assessments and interviews than the previous generation, and stay on top of your game to ensure that you’re noticed. We’ve got lots of help and advice on our website so that you can really make sure you play to your advantages, strengthen any weaknesses until they are no longer weaknesses and boost your confidence so that when you do have an interview, you can go in confidently.
5 Be aware of the political and economic landscape.
There’s a lot of uncertainty and less confidence in the world following the political changes in the UK since Brexit; and the subsequent changes in the USA following Trump’s election mean that there is a large amount of instability worldwide. We still don’t know quite what’s going to happen when Britain leaves the EU and how it will impact the job market and business in general. Many companies are being cautious and that includes taking on new staff – they need to be sure that any candidate they offer a job to, will work hard, add value to the company and be an asset. The days of taking on a whole raft of graduates are gone – there may be only a handful of roles up for grabs where once upon a time there may have been 50. You need to research, apply and shine as early as you can. Don’t be complacent and think that you can just finish your degree, and fall into a job – you can’t.
Doing a degree never has guaranteed anyone anything – you will need to work hard to get the best result and apply yourself wholeheartedly to finding a good job. Register with a graduate recruitment specialist like mybrink to give yourself an early advantage, find live graduate jobs as well as advice and resources.
From the mybrink team, good luck!