Top Tips for Graduate Employability in the Space Age

2016, here we are. How did we get here? The scary step of plunging in to your final year of university and the realisation that a passable essay cannot in fact be written in the early hours of the morning it’s due. On top of all this, students are beginning to worry about their future employability and what they’re actually going to do with their lives after the graduation Instagram has been uploaded. If you were in fact one of those people that left your essays to the night before, or even the day it was due – chances are you’ve found yourself lounging around your childhood home, and if things get really desperate you load up the Sims to check on that family you created all those years ago. Unlike the Sims however, finding a career is not as simple as picking up the newspaper and “accepting” the first job you see. There’s no way round it, it is more competitive to do well and start straight away in your dream job in today’s society and economy, and because of this we’re often left feeling downtrodden and like we’re destined to work on minimum wage on that job you worked the summer before you left home to start university all those years ago.

Of course, it is not just university graduates that are in search of employment or looking to better their career, all sorts of young people from all different backgrounds are also on the hunt, and it would be stupid to believe otherwise. However, with the workload faced by many university students in their final year, often they are left with a degree and possibly no work experience in the professional sector they would like to work in.

Not to fear, there are actually plenty of ways of getting employed, but a lot of people tend to overlook these methods and instead only search for a job in their city or town and click on the first Google result that appears. Your persistence and perseverance in searching for employment is as important as your persistence and perseverance whilst employed. The people getting the jobs are the people searching every day, in the same places for a variety of different jobs. Where exactly are these people looking and what are they doing that is making them stand out amongst the crowd and look extra employable then? Well, in plain fact, they’re caught up with the digital age and very much involved with the internet. Recruitment agencies like Search are the first place you should be checking for current jobs available, especially with their different categories tailored to fit the criteria you have provided about yourself and alerting you when a job that is suited to your skills and abilities becomes available. Making your CV perfect is also key, but don’t just keep it stored away in your computer files for no one to see. Upload it to sites like LinkedIn, talk about yourself, focus and hone in on your professional and academic skills as well as what it is about your personality and character that makes you the best person to employ. In regards to CVs, if you are confused about where to start, there are sites to help such as My World of Work that provide templates for the sort of CV you are looking to create, and make it very simple with an almost tick box system for you to provide information about yourself.

If you do get to the stage of an interview, it is important to remember that you have limited timeframe to tell your potential employer all the fantastic things about yourself – so only focus in on things that are relevant. Most people freak out when they’re told that, because a lot of people may have limited experience in the field they wish to work in. But when I say “relevant” I mean twisting certain achievements or personality traits about yourself to justify why you have the ability to work in the environment that’s facing you. Hate to say it, but those kids that did Duke of Edinburgh at school will come out well here as they have a range of skills to talk about, such as an ability to work in a team, or fundraise money under restricted conditions. Key personality traits looked for by employers include the ability to communicate excellently, competently use a computer (especially in a continuously advancing technological world) and definitely, if not most importantly, your flexibility in regards to how much and when you can work and your punctuality. For example, I now have a job at Smarter Digital Marketing, a company in Glasgow near to my University – University of Glasgow – and a company willing to take anyone on with a willingness and enthusiasm for SEO and writing, as my position is a copywriter. My boss told me he was impressed by the way I laid out my first email – showing that presentation can be key in employment matters!

As a final and conclusive note, the best way to get employed is to make yourself available everywhere. There are plenty of resources out there for you, namely sites like Search and Indeed. Email every employer you can, sell yourself, and maybe even phone up a few companies every once in a while so you can personally talk to employers and managers – if they’re able to hear your qualities over the phone in person, you are more likely to stick in their mind. It’s all about making an impression. You get to decide what kind of impression that is.

Photo Credit: Samuel Mann via Compfight cc

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Lucy Miller

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