The graduate recruitment market is a scary place, full of daunting opportunities and fierce competition. However, there are some things you, the savvy graduate, can do to enhance your chances of getting noticed and employed. Anna Pitts of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau brings you four top tips to boost your success in the graduate recruitment scene.
1. Get work experience
True, this isn’t exactly brand new information and work experience always has and always will be key in landing a job. But now more than ever employers are placing an emphasis on the experience of their applicants, with academia and degree classification taking a back seat. Over the past year employers seem to be prioritising things like years in industry or experience abroad over an impressive academic record. Of course the higher your grades the better, and employers continue to be attracted by impressive degrees. However, placement years and international experiences are hugely favoured by employers as we enter 2014. Gain as much experience as possible in as many relevant places to really stand out during the application process and if you have had a placement year then really sell your experience to your interviewers.
2. Be open minded about vacancies and companies
Knowing what you want and having clear career goals will serve you well in the recruitment market, but beware of being too narrow minded. There are a huge range of opportunities for graduates out there, from graduate schemes, to fast-growing recruiters and start-up companies. Don’t rule out somewhere just because they aren’t in The Times Top 100 employers. Smaller companies can offer some amazing opportunities that big name brands won’t, like more responsibility, engagement and the chance to work in a smaller team. They also offer great incentives, for example shares in the company; a great idea for the entrepreneurial, visionary grad. Therefore, to maximise every opportunity make sure you explore every avenue and don’t discount a role before you’ve done your research.
3. Tailor applications
Applying to a range of companies and possibly positions means that you must ensure each application is tailored for the specific role. Bulk applications are never a good idea; employers can tell if you’ve copied and pasted from another application form and this way there is no uniqueness or specificity to their position, which is what they want to see. Use the wording from the advert in your application as most entries are screened by a computer before they reach human hands. If you’ve mirrored the language they are looking for there is more chance your application will make it through. You want to make employers feel like your job is the perfect one for you, and you are their dream candidate, so it is worth putting in the extra time to perfect each application.
4. Use social media
The internet continues to be a superpower, one that demands respect from its surfers! Over the last year social networking sites being used for candidate scouting has rocketed, and its not just the obvious sites that are being used. LinkedIn continues to be massively utilised, but Twitter is set to become the new LinkedIn. There are already over 500,000 jobs posted every month and this is predicted to soar to two million a month in 2014 (venturebeat.com). Hence job hunters need to make sure they have a Twitter account and are active on it as much as possible. The power of the internet in finding you a job cannot be underestimated; Twitter CVs, blogs and personal CV websites are all innovative self-marketing techniques that have emerged over the past few years, and recent grads need to keep up with the dynamic social and online methods of recruitment.
Gaining work experience, having a good grasp of current online recruitment and self-marketing strategies and exploiting the bountiful opportunities available to you as a graduate will stand you in good stead for entering the graduate recruitment market as a top candidate.
Written by Anna Pitts, a Marketing Assistant and Online Researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau. Her work involves PR and outreach and writing informative, interesting advice based articles for graduates and students. Follow on twitter, @thegrbteam and @annaepitts, or connect with her on LinkedIn.