Be a savvy shopper in today’s employment marketplace!

Guest blogger, Anna Pitts gives recommendations to grads that are relevant for every jobseeker!

The graduate job market. It sounds very exciting. Is it a place where you can go and buy a graduate job? That would be handy.


Unfortunately, it’s not the case. “Graduate job market” is a term used to refer to the range of opportunities available to job seekers, strategies needed for them to secure one of these jobs and the range of places and services that can assist graduates in their job hunt. In a sense the graduate job market is just that—a market.

Businesses are selling, buying and competing for your skills, know-how and potential. Where you can gain the upper hand is by being a savvy shopper. Know the best places to get your information for the jobs that you want to secure and stay one step ahead of your fellow shoppers. Anna Pitts from the UK Graduate Recruitment Bureau explains how you can make the most of the graduate job market to get on with your chosen career path.

Get help with your job search!

You don’t have to stumble blindly through the market, overwhelmed by the amount of information thrust at you, bewildered by what to do next. There are companies to help you and it’s a good idea to utilize their services while you are looking for a job.

Two job providers: recruitment consultancies and job boards.

There are two main types of providers that operate in the jobs market; recruitment consultancies and jobs boards. There are differences between the two, but both are very helpful to you. Broadly speaking, jobs boards are paid by employers to traffic applications to them and so the chances are you will get emails quite often with lots of job listings on them. But, not all of them will necessarily be relevant to you and the employer handles the applications themselves.

However, in a recruitment consultancy it’s slightly different. Employers pay them to handle the application process for a specific role, meaning that you will only be contacted when something crops up that matches your exact preferences and you are well suited for it.

The consultants then stay in contact with you through the whole application process, giving guidance right up until the last, deal-sealing handshake. Ideally you should register with as many of each type of company as possible. The reason for this is that different employers will work with different agencies and so to get access to all the available jobs out there you need to sign up to as many as you can. Additionally, some will work within niche sectors, so if you have a particular industry in mind, find jobs agencies that specifically work in your area of preference. For example, if you want to work abroad, register with overseas companies.


What kind of job do you want?

Sometimes, you go shopping and you’re not really sure what you want—you just browse around, maybe enjoy a bit of window-shopping. Sometimes, you know exactly what you want and go straight to best shop to get it. Both of these scenarios are common situations in the graduate job market.

Some graduates come out of university none the wiser of what they want do than when they went in. This doesn’t necessarily give them a disadvantage as they will be open to more opportunities and roles. However, it means their search is more extensive and can’t be narrowed down initially, unlike the job seeker who knows what career they want to embark on.

Defining your career goals can be tricky!

There are so many opportunities in today’s graduate job market, and to a certain extent your degree subject will narrow down the possibilities. But there are still other decisions to be made:
Do you want to work for a large corporation or a smaller fledgling company?
SMEs can offer support and unique training, but at more well-known companies there are extensive graduate schemes and development opportunities.


TIP: Do your research to get a better idea of the type of career you want so you can browse in the right section of the market, speeding up the employment process.

Prove you are the best.

The recipe for success is being the best suited for a role, and then proving it to the employers. No pressure. To be the best you need to not only have a good degree behind you but also as much relevant work experience as possible.

Two critical job-search factors:

Employers love experience and it’s highly unlikely that you will get a job without it, so take any opportunities for experience that crop up. The official ideal figure is two years’ work experience— internships and placements count towards this so in your summers off, try for an internship.

As well as being academically excellent and backing this up with your experience you need to show employers you are good on paper and in person. The first of these missions comes with your CV or résumé. There are tons of articles and websites offering advice on writing this and tips to get noticed.


Stand out as the top candidate!

Your wow-worthy CV will hopefully get your through to an interview, where you really need to stand out as the best candidate. The interviewer will already know what grades you’ve got, how you spent your gap year and how much experience you have. The interview is your time to elaborate on the details you want them to notice—direct their attention to the awards you’ve won, tell them what you’ve learned from your experience and what skills you have that makes you better than everyone else. Again, there is loads of interview advice available to you.

If a recruitment consultancy has put you forward for a role they will offer you support and advice. You can boost your chances of being put forward for roles by them by doing all the above- good CV, good experience and grades. Getting noticed on their system is the first step to getting noticed by employers.

Go the extra mile. Enhance your job search.

While signing up to agencies is very useful there are some things you as the individual job seeker can do to enhance your job search. The internet is your friend in your quest for employment. Social media needs to be utilized as much as possible.

  • Sign up for LinkedIn and keep your profile updated and attractive to employers and recruiters on the hunt.
  • Be active as possible on your Twitter account.
  • Join in discussion and hashtag (#) any relevant trends. Share your work and put ‘RT’ (Re-Tweet) at the end of tweets for a higher chance of being retweeted.
  • Follow companies and interact with employers you think would be advantageous to your search.
  • Be careful with what you share on the internet as you don’t want to offend anybody or damage your reputation.
  • Share opinions but be respectful to the power of the internet—once something is shared, you can’t get it back.

Stay optimistic during your job search.

Unfortunately, an almost inevitable part of the job hunt is rejection. The key is to not let it get you down and bounce back after each ‘no’. There are valuable lessons to be learned from each unsuccessful application. Ask for feedback from the employer to see specifically where you went wrong, and then apply the advice to your next interview. Remember, there will be other jobs and when the right one comes along you’ll be successful, but in the meantime keep learning, developing and progressing.


Monitor your attitude.

The worst thing to do is to take rejection personally or let it affect your attitude. You need to stay optimistic, and with each new application feel positive. If you have a negative mind-set when you fill in the application or attend the interview your interviewer will be able to tell.

No one wants to employ a defeated, pessimistic, sour-faced misery! Even if you aren’t feeling too confident and nerves are getting the better of you, keep smiling. After all, as you continue shopping, you may find an even better opportunity!

Once you’ve cracked the graduate job market you’ll be able to leave it in no time and move up on your career ladder.

Meet our guest blogger: Anna Pitts from the UK!
Anna is a Marketing Assistant and Online Researcher at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau in the UK. Her work involves PR and outreach and writing informative, interesting advice-based articles for graduates and students. Follow her on twitter, Google+ or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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