Tips for Job Hunting Graduates
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Let's skip all the talk about how tough the job market is, how your uni offers careers advice and how to write spec letters (not to say that such talk isn't important-it is!) but instead focus on equally important tips which you might not have yet considered.
1. Remember the little fish: Just because you are being offered a hefty pay packet doesn't mean that you are getting your salary's worth of experience. You may be located in a big firm but sometimes that can mean you get lost in the whirl of big city life. Smaller companies may not pay as large a salary or be located in as flashy a building, but sometimes this does mean that with a smaller staff you personally may receive more responsibility and therefore more experience.
2. Be Aware of False Advertising: If the job title says domestic engineer when really it's cleaning the ladies loos down the local Harvester twice a week then forget it. There's nothing wrong with such a job at all, but don't be seduced by their job description copy; employers can take advantage of eager beaver graduates but your three year stint at uni should (hopefully!) enable you to keep your wits about you.
3. At the same time, don't be put off by titles. Administrator is not code for dogsbody, contrary to some narrow minded people. I've lost count of the looks of boredom (sometimes even sympathy!) I receive when people find out that I once worked as an administrative assistant, their eyes are glazed over with images of photocopiers and cups of tea running through their minds. In reality, as it is for most people, my job title was far from indicative of the vast amount of tasks I actually had to do. And I only had to use the photocopier once, so there.
4. Broaden your horizons: Don't narrow your opportunities by resigning yourself to searching for work in sectors directly related to your degree subject. The terrors of the financial market means that whilst companies are trying to be careful, they are also more competitive than ever. They are constantly thinking of new schemes to generate interest (and indeed stability) and so they are seeking a wider range of graduates. Who said that the publishing sector only desires Humanities students? Don't they need accountants to keep them on track? Isn't there a growing demand from children's publishers for app designers to help make their book lists more technologically accessible for younger readers? Do your research but don't get bogged down by traditional approaches.
5. Pitch yourself to an employer. Don't be so presumptuous as to think that you can go riding in on a white horse, your cardboard hat in hand saying 'I'm a graduate, I can save you!' If you have an idea that could potentially improve a certain aspect of a company, pitch it to them nicely. For instance, how about doing a case study for your chosen business/institution/publication and providing some constructive analysis and suggestions for improvement. Some employers appreciate a bit of cheek and as long as you remain professional and constructive, they may keep you in mind next time there is a job opening.
6. Don't ignore the interests or special skills section of your CV. OK, you most probably won't be applying for a job where you'll have to update a spreadsheet whilst juggling balls of fire (although it would pay really well) but employers might ask you questions about your interests. This isn't solely to put you at ease in a job interview, it's nice to know what kind of person you are. Many firms take part in philanthropic endeavours and whether your niche is circus skills or face painting, such skills could be an added bonus to the type of person they want working for them. Also, if you've exerted such skills at community events, it could even have equipped you with CRB checks, first aid or other types of training which will also serve you well in the long run.
There are so many paths to take on the career route and a million more tips that you will hear along the way, but ultimately it is important not to get too overwhelmed. Whether you use help available to you, pitch ideas to your hearts content or face-paint every person you see, make sure that your job hunt is professional, practical and perfectly tailored by you.
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