Lots in the media recently 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 15 years ago when I did 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 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 all this doom and gloom 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.
There was a good article on this in The Independent and some key advice from Martin Patrick.
Other newspapers seem to set out to be a scaremonger, with one saying that up to 270 graduates are battling for every job vacancy, but I don’t know how they have come up with this figure, although reading into the article there is a more realistic 45 applications per vacancy raising to 270 in some industries such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble.
 However, when I used to do graduate recruitment with companies such as those a  percentage of the applications were extremely poor and put in with little thought, especially when people apply online. I think that this was because they would probably have an initial attempt to understand the questions and then go back in and put in a proper application. Sometimes that’s the only way to get a list of questions so you can take your time to create a well considered application
Another article says that a third of graduates are in low skill jobs or on the dole 6 months after leaving university. But 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.
There is certainly a need to be proactive and flexible, as The Independent writes more on the ‘doom and gloom’ for graduates.
Being proactive could mean setting up your own business and any businesses were started in a recession.
It’s also being flexible and being willing to ‘work your way up’ In an article in The Times Sunday Magazine the writer Eleanor Mills reminds 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 uni. now 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 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.
I’ve a few other articles available on this subject, see – https://www.amazingpeople.co.uk/articles.htm#graduates
Published On: July 28th, 2010 / Categories: Students and Graduates / Tags: /

Leave A Comment

Subscribe to receive Career Wisdom

Get the 10 Steps to a Job you Love eProgramme too, downloaded over 3000 times