In my day, almost thirty years ago, when I first started out in the job front, you went for an interview, you got the job, you started next week. If you didn’t like it you left and went onto the next one within days of leaving. Tell that to this years graduates and they simply won’t believe you. In fact, the government issued statistics last week that showed there are now 2 million unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, some of which have never worked in their life. They have a totally different attitude and outlook to work to people like me, over the age of 40, who found getting a job between these ages relatively simple, if not down right easy. So what advice would someone like me who has never experienced a problem with being unemployed give to a new graduate who has just left university with a pretty good degree? Well there are three excellent rules you need to follow and if you do you will set yourself above all other applicants when applying for that all important job.
1. Your C.V
Keep your CV to two pages maximum. Any more than this and employers will get bored, any less and it will look too brief. Place personal information first and academic achievements on the second page. If you do not know how a CV should be laid out go to your nearest Job Centre. Many applications are now being taken online and prospective employers can spot a copy and paste job a mile off. Make sure you start each job application from scratch and spend a good day or so on working on it, afterall, you do have time if you are unemployed. Experienced employers say that they can tell in an instant those who have merely changed the address at the top and these will be instantly discarded. Treat an online application the same as a hand written one and take your time with it. Do your research with the company you are applying for and tailor your CV to reflect this.
2. Find Your Added Value
Think of this as your X Factor, the one thing that sets you apart from all the other applicants that have the same qualifications as you do. What employers are looking for are examples of leadership and entrepreneurial qualities so, if you set up a students lobby for certain rights, were the captain of a sports team or headed up voluntary trips to visit an old folks home, tell them about it on your CV. Make sure however, that whatever you put is relevant to the job for which you are applying for. If you worked abroad as part of your degree and had to travel alone, this is a great example of independence and personal strength. If you went on holiday to Greece and met a group of volunteers – not so much so. Remember, you are not just fighting against graduates from your own year, previous years who have still not obtained work will also be applying so keep that in mind.
3. Intern – Or Work While You Study
From the moment you leave school you should be thinking about working in jobs that compliment your degree. It may be that some jobs will be for nothing but most interns do get paid a percentage of around 95.8%. You should be thinking of building up a portfolio of work experience you can show to a prospective employer because simply having a degree these days is not enough. Employers want to see that you have been out in the work place and can contribute to society on your own. It shows you are not lazy and you are not relying on your degree alone to secure your employment, and, most employers actually expect some sort of track record of work experience so getting to an interview without one will seriously damage your chances.
Finally, remember, no one will come along and discover you after you have received your results. It takes time and stamina and a great deal of optimism to find work even with a degree but keep at it, take on our golden three rules and you will be much better equipped than your fellow applicants.