Wondering about your graduate prospects?

The time to start thinking  about your first graduate job is now, and ideally to start considering your first graduate job whilst at university,
We know it is a competitive market, and graduate prospects are hard, but you need to think about what you can do as a student to help you stand a better chance of getting a job.

Improve your graduate prospects through a work placement

Universities are putting a lot more emphasis on work placements to improve graduate prospects, and whilst any placement will be good, be strategic. Think about what type of work placement will improve your graduate prospects. You can think of a work placement in different ways. One approach is to try out something that you aren’t sure about, this could then confirm that you are making the right choice for your first graduate job.
If you know not only that you want to use e.g. your physics degree, but that you want to use it in product development, then seek out a work placement to give you the experience you can add to your CV and enhance your graduate prospects.
After a work placement make a note about what you enjoyed and would like more of, and what you didn’t get a chance to do. See if you can get these needs met next time, this will be great to then discuss at an interview for your first graduate job.
Placements can lead on to permanent job offers or graduate training schemes, so make sure you demonstrate good personal qualities while you are there.  Even when asked to do what you consider to be menial tasks, do so with good grace. Be helpful.

Improve your graduate prospects through a summer job

It doesn’t have to be a work placement. You may find that the only job you can get is work in a bar or fast food restaurant. Don’t think that this won’t be helpful for you. you will learn to work as part of a team, and to relate well to different people. I have clients who went on to get a brilliant first graduate job because of their experience gained working as a supervisor at a fast food restaurant.

If you have an ideal first graduate job, consider shadowing

Sometimes you don’t need to spend 6 weeks or longer on a work placement, sometimes it may be helpful to spend a day or two shadowing somebody. If you are thinking of applying for a first graduate job as a Land Agent or Market Researcher, you will learn far more about your particular possible career through this than you would if you were doing lower level temping.

Temping can also be helpful for your first graduate job

Temping can be in offices or factories and each will provide valuable experience.  When you compete the assignment make a note of what you have learnt from it ready for when you apply for jobs.



Team working

Employers want to recruit people who are team players, so look to demonstrate these skills in your work placement.  Be helpful and look for ways to get involved.


What skills and abilities would be helpful in your ideal first graduate job?

Look for ways to develop some of these skills in your undergraduate life. Could you take on a leadership role in a club or society? What about fundraising for developing certain skills?
Think about the impression you will give if you can add only limited details on your time at university.  If you can only list socialising what does this tell a future employer?
Then think about what employers will think if you are an officer of a society, or have been involved in some voluntary occupation.  Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be a 3 year commitment, and does not have to cover many different societies, so choose a couple of societies that interest you and that you want to be involved with.

Can I be of help?

Contact Denise for expert support and guidance to help with your career discovery and job search.
Working with students and graduates via Graduate Career Service and with a broader career coaching audience through Amazing People – Award Winning Career Coaching.

Published On: July 23rd, 2013 / Categories: Students and Graduates / Tags: , , , , /

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