This article was written for the leading careers website “Inside Careers: Specialists in Finance Careers”. To see original article, click here.
‘As a recent graduate (four years ago still counts as recent, right?…) I know how tough the last few years will have been. So firstly, a big well done for all your hard work in completing your degree! Unfortunately, however, the hard work does not stop here.
If, for whatever reason, you haven’t been lucky enough to land a graduate job – maybe you have been focusing 100% on your studies, or for every graduate job you apply for you don’t get past the numerical or verbal reasoning stage, or maybe you just struggle at a role play in assessment centres (who doesn’t?) – do not despair! I will share two career tips that are a little different from the usual careers advice of “tailoring your CV for every job application, talking about what you have achieved rather than solely tasks on your CV, body language at an interview” etc. to help you on your way this summer. These tips will come from my position as a Careers Consultant specialising in advising graduates, but also from my knowledge as a recent graduate to help you stand out from the competition.
1. Never Stop Learning
Keep up to date with your industry. Learning does not stop the moment you finish university. Plus, your brain is still growing up until the age of 25 – make the most of it!
One of the best ways to keep up with the industry is to follow influencers within your industry on LinkedIn. Most people assume LinkedIn is just an online tool for recruiters to find you/you to find them. However, it is one of the most useful forums for the latest developments within your industry. The more knowledge you have, the more confidence you will have when discussing your industry with interviewers, peers etc. This in turn leads to greater credibility and reputation. We live in an increasingly unpredictable society – politics and technology are changing industries and society at an unprecedented speed. For example, did you know that according to a report by PwC, 30% of jobs in Britain were under threat from automation/robots, with Financial and Insurance jobs most at risk?
Why not integrate LinkedIn as part of your morning social media catch up? Keep up to date – never stop learning.
2. Take an Alternative Route
Moved back in with your parents? Sat in your bedroom sending application after application off? Sound familiar?
Try taking an alternative route this summer. Most people will apply to one of The Big Four accountancy firms or other nationally recognised organisations. Spend the summer approaching firms in your local area to do some work experience/work shadowing. Find some local firms on Google, research the name of the Managing Director, send a personalised cover email (or why not make yourself stand out even more by sending an old-fashioned letter?). Follow it up a few days later with a telephone call? This is a great way to get a foot in the door, particularly in the summer months with many employees going on holiday leaving smaller firms short-staffed.
The most frustrating feedback at entry level interviews will be “you do not have enough experience”. Doing some work experience at a firm will help you get some experience under your belt, which you can then talk about at an interview. Once you are successful in getting your foot in the door, make a good impression by taking advantage of every opportunity – say yes to any project that comes your way (even if you don’t know how to do it. You can figure that out afterwards!). Behave as if the week, fortnight or month is an interview.
If you make a good impression, who is going to be in pole position for the next vacancy? You! Finally, and most importantly – be enthusiastic and be passionate! Check out my blog about being passionate. Attitude is everything.
You may make a great impression but, for whatever reason, don’t manage to secure a permanent position. Do not be disheartened. The experience and contacts you have made will be invaluable in securing a permanent position in the future.’