A big part of our job at the Careers Service is to keep in touch with our employers and find out about changes in graduate recruitment. We had a really interesting talk last week by Claire Adams, Relationship Manager for the Association for Graduate Recruiters (AGR). Here’s a summary of her key tips for students and graduates job searching in this competitive environment:
- Don’t listen to the media
Whilst the headlines scream doom and gloom, the reality is less grim. Unemployment is high, but it is not as high as it has been. In fact, last year, 30% of AGR member organisations did not fill their graduate recruitment targets despite record numbers of applications, for 3 main reasons:
- Candidates dropped out at the last minute after accepting job offers
- Unable to attract candidates because of negative perceptions of industries
- Late changes to business requirements- with rapidly changing demands, sometimes late requests come from different parts of the organisation to hire more graduates.
So the message is, stay positive and keep motivated. Employers are out there, and they’re still hiring!
- Widen your search
Look beyond the jobs boards and websites. Job ads are really expensive and a lot of smaller organisations won’t be able to afford to advertise, and certainly won’t be able to cope with the influx of 200 CVs in response to a job ad. They love students and graduates contacting them directly- it saves them time, money and means they get the proactive, enthusiastic candidates who can be bothered to make the effort. Not sure who they are or how to approach them? Check out the ‘How to Research Employer’ pages and our ‘Creative Job search and Networking’ advice.
- Use agencies
Some organisations will outsource their recruitment to agencies if they don’t have the staff or the expertise to hire. They also use agencies when they have a last minute changes in business demand and need to hire quickly. Register with agencies to broaden your reach.
- Shout about your achievements
Never assume that an employer will know what is involved in certain achievements such as the Bristol PLuS Award or being on a society committee. Everyone has different experiences, so spell out exactly what you had to do, and the specific skills you’ve developed.
- Capture your experiences early
Employers are keen to see what steps you’re taking from the word go to get involved. LinkedIn for example, can be a great way of presenting your experiences and projects so far. How about writing a blog about your job search like the one our intern Ciara has recently started?
Have the confidence to be social
- More organisations are using social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, and are primed to interact with graduates and students. Whether it’s Mars’ recent ‘Tweet for a Sweet’ campaign or the Civil Service Faststream Facebook Q&As, more employers are finding ways of grabbing student and graduates’ attention online. Join the conversation and make the most of being able to network informally but remember to keep it professional!
Sara Whittam, Careers Adviser
[Image sourced from morguefile.com]