Useful book just out for education leavers by occupational psychologist Cathy Brown called Testing the Water – Helping You Take Your First Steps From Education to Work . It’s particularly good on employability skills and being work ready. It also explores the often tricky transition time between leaving Uni and gaining your ideal job.
Hear what others say: The Testing the Water Career Guide is an excellent resource. I would certainly recommend this to anyone making the transition from education to employment. –Katharine Edwards, Manager, BBC Careerlink
This is a practical and highly accessible guide, designed for those taking their first steps into the world of work, which prompts them to take time to think and to explore the options which will be right for them. Particularly valuable in today’s highly competitive employment market, it addresses the need of both young people and UK businesses to improve employability and promote work readiness. –Claire Payton, Group Senior Talent Specialist, Co-operative Group
Cathy has once again produced a practical and wholly accessible guide that will actually make a difference to those who use it. Testing the Water provides guidance during a transition period for students in to professional workaday world. Many guides exist for students, for employees, for careers. However, Cathy Brown’s work addresses that transitional time, which is the most challenging for everyone. Much of the information contained in the career guide will surely serve even beyond. –Justin C. Donne, Programme Executive, The Prince’s Trust
Sorry to get genderist for a minute but the website Where women work has recently compiled the Top 50 best employers for women. It’s a good place to start if you’re heading for a corporate career and have strong values around company ethics and ethos, that is , hopw it treats its workers.
Also check out WWW’s graduate jobs, they tend to be sent direct by employers (so they are not via agencies) and are genuine. A quick look at what’s currently available include grad roles with Homebase ( not to be sniffed at if you have retail experience) and Prudential.
Take a look at the following feedback from employers who took part in a recent student mock interview event. Are you meeting their needs?
- Take notes if the interviewer gives you feedback.
- Articulate what your achievements say about you. If you swam for the county, for example, that says you are committed and competitive.
- Relate extra curricular activities to skills employers are looking for. Use army cadets experience, for example, to demonstrate teamwork and leadership skills.
- Take an interest in the outside world, current affairs and business. Prepare an answer to the question ” what has grabbed your attention in the news recently”.
- Answer the “tell me about your weaknesses question” very briefly, stop speaking and wait for the next question. Don’t fall into the bear pit by rambling on about your weaknesses.
The Placement Careers Centre sees students up to two years after graduation. If you would like careers or interview help, book a session with a careers consultant today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, stipulating your degree course and student number.
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.
Heading home for the holidays? Need to suggest some last minute pressie ideas? Try John Lees’ “How to find the job you’ll love”. It’s a lively, warm and highly informative career book, that has a brand new chapter written specially for graduates. There’s stuff on thinking laterally about your choices, how to establish what makes you tick and how to make the most of this tricky economic climate. A ‘field generator’ tool helps explore ideas for potential work sectors. Go on, ask Santa!
Try writing two Christmas lists this year - one for pressies and another to land you a job. Take a look at Target Jobs’ 12 tips that will get you a graduate job this Christmas. Deadlines for many graduate training schemes are fast approaching and the New Year onslaught beckons too. Don’t feel you have to do everything they suggest but there’s some cracking advice worth noting, which backs up much of what we say here at the Placement and Careers Centre :
- Know your skills and strengths
- Understand career options for your degree
- Manage your online profile
- Perfect the CV
- Practise interview technique before the actual interview
I met a graduate recently who’d missed more than 20 job opportunities by not checking his email inboxes. He’d spent time completing application forms, well presumably as he’d be called for interview, but was too disorganised to scroll down or filter key information, to realise recruiters were interested in him. A crying shame in this tough jobs market.
Inboxes can get overwhelmed at times, but is is essential to stay on top of incoming emails as missing the most important ones could cost you an opening or, as in this case, an interview for your dream job. Student recruiters the Graduate Recruitment Bureau advise:
- If you’re registered with several recruitment services, use a separate email address or filters to handle the incoming alerts.
- Set your preferences to only receive the roles you are interested in.
- Open them! It only takes 2 minutes to scan emails so keep an ear to your inbox.
Remember also to send an email to thank interviewers for their time to get yourself noticed and remembered. Keep it personalised and short. Use a maximum of three paragraphs. One to thank them and reiterate interest, another to briefly state strengths that ensure your ability to excel in the role and a third to communicate anything missed in the graduate interview. Sending a letter through the post can be a great touch instead of an email and has more chance of being read. Take time over your handwriting though!
The application form looks accusingly at you, the interview looms. Turn negative job hunting feelings into positive with the following confidence boosting tips:
- Talk yourself up. Your subconscious mind laps up everything you say about yourself and will shape your behaviour accordingly. Use positive language and tell yourself you’re great, good at X, quick at Y.
- Know your value. Do a brain dump. Write down what you’re good at and where you’ve excelled in the past. Get a friend to help, or write it in the third person. This enables you to talk about yourself in a new way and help your subconscious mind take on new ways of ‘thinking’.
- Focus on the baby steps. Goal overwhelm can lead to a massive dent in confidence. Don’t try to conquer Everest when you haven’t made it up Primrose Hill yet. Break your large goal into more realistic, digestible chunks to move forward more clearly.
- Be present. Stop lamenting about the past (a bad degree result, not getting on the course of your choice, choosing the wrong subject) . It won’t help and only lead to procrastination and ineffectiveness. Break the destructive “if only” cycle by thinking about things that have not yet happened and focus on these.
- Can I do anything about this? A good question to ask yourself when you’re worrying and is very closely related to being present. Here’s a good diagram to help with this. If the answer to the question ‘Can you do something about it’ is ‘no’ then the next question is ‘Then what shall I focus on instead today?’. Devoting your focus to worrying about the past and future will prevent you moving forward. Devoting your focus only to what you can do right now will mean you start to take small actions towards what you really want and therefore grow in confidence that you are able to achieve.
Ever thought you needed to use social media more to find a job? Check out this amazing youtube link outlining the power of twitter, facebook , Google and all their pals.
Eager to buck the sticky jobs market and boost internet presence, thousands of students are posting their CVs on inspiration website , Pinterest. It’s another great way of getting your name out there. Make sure you link your CV to any other social media connections you have such as Linkedin or a website or a professional blog. But be wary of connecting to Facebook or Twitter, unless you are perfectly happy with a prospective employer reading these pages.The more places you show off your Pinterest page, the more it can help your job search. Just be sure to keep all your boards clean and professional because they’re all viewable by anyone, at any time.
CV writing principles remain the same – clear message,active verbs, no spelling mistakes and simple layout. For more hints and tips, check out this article , a little skewed toward the American audience, but the message is the same.