Make the most of Brunel’s Summer Graduate Recruitment Fair on Monday 20th May with the following tips:
Check out who’s coming using this link and research the companies you are interested so you can have an intelligent conversation with people on the stands
Approach companies by yourself and not as a huddle with friends – much more professional
Don’t presume you know what that company can offer by its name or specialism – an engineering firm will be looking for all discipines including finance, business, human resources and marketing , as well as engineering graduates.
Have a list of questions to hand so you’re not tongue tied
Write notes after your conversations with recruiters and get the names/business cards of those you speak to so you can name drop when writing to apply for jobs, or make speculative approaches.
Take a bunch of CVs with you to hand out on the day
Big companies are beautiful but so too are small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Don’t just go for well known firms when applying for jobs. Look out for smaller firms advertising for roles (often in the local paper) and certainly make them part of your target list when approaching organisations directly.
Graduate Talent Pool is a government-funded initiative run by Prospects on behalf of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to help graduates connect with SMEs across private, public and voluntary sectors via internships.
Because SMEs are not as flush as big companies they can’t recruit large numbers of grads, but this has its advantages. Because competition is less intense than on grad programmes SME recruits often find they have highly varied roles, are given responsibility quickly if they shine and more opportunity to have their fresh ideas heard.
Did you do work experience or an internship as part of your degree? Have you fully capitalised on it? It is not enough for this experience to sit on the CV waiting to be spotted by a passing recruiter, you need to work it.
Keep in touch, or get back in touch,with the people you met while on work experience. Let them know what you are up to. Send them information they might be interested in (an article you read, a blog for example). If they can’t help you directly at that moment in time, ask them if they know someone who can. Expand your network.
TELL people what you did and how you developed during work experience. Target companies you would like to work for, and SELL your work experience to them. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
Depending on who you believe, between 50 and 80% of jobs are never advertised. They’re the roles where companies might be considering taking someone on, but haven’t the recruitment budget, or the time to advertise ( this does happen), and where recruiters haven’t realised they actually could do with a bright graduate’s cutting edge social media knowledge, or law degree , for example. The direct, or speculative, approach has been around for years, especially in the creative, media and marketing sectors, and accounts for atleast a quarter of jobs found. Check out the PCC website for the download on this.
It is a sure way of putting yourself in the driving seat and creating some of your own leads, that supplement and indeed, by-pass, the intense competition for advertised grad/entry level jobs.
Here are the top five tips:
Create a list of target companies. Choose this by location, sector, size for example. Don’t have a scattergun approach and write to the world and his wife as your communication will be unfocused and a waste of time. Use yell.com, Google for company names, and for further local info local, drive or walk around your area and any trading estates/business parks to get names of companies. Start with 10 excellent, well-targetted approaches, then do another 10.
Make sure your letter/email/phone call is addressed to a person , not sir or madam. This requires research but the personal approach will be worth it in the end.
Your communication needs to demonstrate knowledge of the company, and describe your relevance to the organisation.
The initial purpose of the direct approach is to get a meeting so a lighter touch such as “just wondering if we could meet up for a 20 minute coffee in the next few weeks” is going to be more effective than “Have you got any graduate jobs?”.
Pleasant persistance pays off. Follow up letters or emails with a phone call , re-send correspondence after a month if no reply.
This really does pay off, so what have you got to lose. Hit the hidden jobs market.
Eager to beat the crowd and rise above the scrum that is the grad jobs market? Take a closer look at small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). According to a recent article they are crying out for people with modern skills and drive. That means you. SMEs are often often overlooked by graduates as they appear not to have the glamour and kudos of big corporates, nor do they have large advertising budgets to attract the recently qualified.
However, SMEs , especially start-ups and those in growing sectors like technology and media, offer fantastic opportunties for recent graduates. You become involved in the company quickly, arguably have a greater say and more impact than in a large organisation, are less of a number and more of a partner. There are lifestyle considerations also. Techy and start up companies may often be found outside London and in business parks (where the rent is cheaper) so housing is often better value for money in the surrounding areas, Get involved early and you may even find yourself an equity holder , owning a small slice of the company.
So look at ALL companies and don’t discount the SME. It could be the answer to your dreams.
This blog has said it before and I’ll say it again; graduate schemes are not the only grad jobs out there and not all jobs are advertised where you’d expect to see them!
Using social media wisely can help you find these opportunities as well as promote yourself to potential recruiters if you do this in a well thought out way.
This excellent article from the Guardian Careers website, written by Simon Caine, gives you some actionable ways to find those hidden jobs through Twitter. And, as you’ll see when you read the article, using these techniques has helped Simon find opportunites for himself so he really does know his apples…
Simon talks about your Twitter profile and how you can use it to be explicit about what you’re looking for in terms of employment. If you’re not sure how to write this profile to best promote yourself get in touch with us at email@example.com and we can help you. Don’t forget we’re here for you for up to two years after you graduate….
The future of the CV continues to be scrutinised - a Wall Street Journal article (Careers section 24th Jan 2012) rekindled the debate earlier this year with comments from a major US investment company saying that it was by-passing the humble resume in favour of candidates’ on-line presence instead. Now a Harvard Business Review article is saying that maximised job search requires “round the clock personal brand maintenance” – and that this too requires a substantial and frequently-updated web visibility. Don’t worry, employers will still require CVs and cover letters ( for the time being atleast) but as HBR blogger Dorie Clark points out, beating the competition to jobs requires going the extra mile because:
If you’re invisible, you’re probably a fraud. Candidates are already being ruled out (sometimes wrongly ) for not being on-line and demonstrating their knowledge, results and experience.
Your reputation precedes you. Any employer with a modicum of common sense is going to vet you on the Internet before even bothering to talk to you.
As regular readers of this blog will know I’ve been known to slip in the odd one or two references to music to my postings. It’s a shared passion alongside an irrational love for a certain tangerine-clad Scottish football team. A solvent one. So it seemed fitting to borrow a song title from the untouchable Jeff Buckley to give notice that this will be my last post in this present guise at least. Today I move on to take on a new but similar role at City University, London.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I know grads have found real grad jobs through it because they’ve told me. I’ve really enjoyed making it a forum for both career advice, and employers opinions on what they’re looking for from you. I hope beyond hope that you’ve gained confidence from my concerted efforts to give the REAL recruitment picture out there for you as a graduate. I’ve only been heckled once in all my postings so I think I must have been doing something right.
I leave you in the capable hands of Brunel University’s Placement and Careers Centre. A new correspondent will be found. The url and title of the blog may change but the quality of advice will not.
Two last things. I’m about 60 hits short of the 35,500 mark so see if you can help me break that barrier by the end of today. And the other thing? This isn’t the blogging last you’ve heard of David Gilchrist. Keep an eye out.
During a recent conversation with a Brunel grad they said something which stopped me in my tracks. I was talking, as I do, about the value of applying for SMEs as well as the big players in the grad market place. After all, 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs. “I have been”, they said, “but the SMEs tend to require me to have work experience whilst the grad schemes seem to require this less”. Then we talked about the old chestnut of not being able to get the experience needed to prove you have the experience to get the grad level job. Chicken, egg.
It stopped me in my tracks because it is a real conundrum – needing work experience to get work experience. Then I did some research with some people who work closely with SMEs and I’ve discovered something very key when it comes to catching the eye of an SME.
SMEs have less people in them than big companies. Obvious enough. The impact on you as a graduate applicant is Continue reading →