I’ve been reviewing some old articles, and read one I wrote back in 2010. I’m bringing it up to date for you.
Lots in the media that 8 out of 10 graduate recruiters refuse to interview applicants who don’t have a 2:1. This is being written as if it is something new, but 20 years ago when I was involved in graduate recruitment, this was always the criteria we worked to although was possibly not told to the candidates.
I’ve never been sure why to use this as a criteria, as the ability to get a 2:1 or first does not always translate to the best workers. Far more important is drive and application, being willing to get stuck in and get a job done, and to be proactive.
What gets me about the doom and gloom peddled in the press is that it is referring to the ‘top’ graduate recruiters – people trying to get into the big 4 consultancies and blue chip training schemes, but there are so many jobs available outside of these traditional graduate schemes.
Many young people, and their parents, tell me about how they have put in 20 applications in the past week but these can’t have been done thoroughly, and a poor application sets you up for disappointment. Graduates, and more mature career changers need to target an application for the specific job and demonstrate they have done their research.
Don’t worry about being in an entry level job straight from University, again that has always been the case as graduates decide what it is that they do want to do, or take a job as a stop gap till they get the job they want.
Being proactive could mean setting up your own business or being flexible and being willing to ‘work your way up.’ In an article in The Times Sunday Magazine the writer Eleanor Mills reminded people that the world does not owe us a living, and says that back in 1992 her first job was working on a trade magazine and she learnt that you have to start somewhere. Her flat mate who wanted to work for Goldman Sachs had to start as a waitress but eventually got into her preferred company as a temp and worked her way up to a top analyst.
So much is written about the high earning potential of graduates, but this is in general terms, not for everyone. Even back in the 1980s when just 12% of the population went to University, not every graduate got straight onto a great graduate job. Some did later, and others, for various reasons did no better with a degree than they would have without, although they had had an enjoyable 3 years at university. Now more than 40% of young people go to university and they aren’t all going to get these high paid jobs.
Back when I was young (sorry for sounding so ancient) you could get a great office job with 4 O levels, now companies have so many applicants with degrees that the entry standard has raised. Which makes it very hard for those with 5 or 6 GCSEs.
How to stand out from the crowd – and ideally you should be doing this before graduation
- Seek an internship/ work experience in the area you want to work in
- Demonstrate you are able to work, you understand the requirements of being an employee and have work experience to back this up
- Create a CV targeted to the job you seek and be proactive and contact companies direct.
- Use LinkedIn and other social media to find out more, make connections and build relationships.
Brought to you by Denise Taylor, career coach and chartered psychologist with Amazing People. Denise is regularly featured as an expert in the press and is the author of 7 books including ‘How To Get A Job In A Recession’
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