Just graduated? Here are the top 5 reasons you might not get hired.
So you've just graduated, the years of hard work and pulling all-nighters have finally paid off. You've been given the seal of approval by a recognised institution and should now be able to able to walk into any job in your area of expertise, right?!
Walking out of the gates of university - having been somewhat sheltered from the perils of the working world - you would be forgiven for thinking the world is your oyster. And why not? You have worked hard to achieve academically - why shouldn't you be reaping the rewards? For the few, the prospect of securing a job will be second nature, easily strolling into an internship, graduate program or the job of their dreams, but for many, this is simply not the case with the prospect of a job search casting a potentially long and disheartening shadow over any elation.
"Why is every entry-level graduate job or internship asking for a minimum of 3 years' experience?"
It's not all doom and gloom, in fact, it's quite the opposite - graduate unemployment is falling. According to The Graduate Market Review, graduate employers have increased the number of vacancies by around 9.1% in 2019 with 11 out of 15 key industries and business sectors planning to recruit more graduates this year. So before deciding you should take a break or quit your job search completely - don't let the tough going get you down, stop, evaluate your options and decide on a plan of action which is more likely to yield results.
By now you’ve probably read a tonne of posts on tips on how to secure your next job, or interview do’s and don’ts – but realistically after reading one or two – they all start sounding the same - so don't worry this is not another 'CV tips' blog. We're here to give you some useful advice and where possible, help you to secure your dream role after graduating.
The Challenges of Being a Graduate Searching for a Job
We've all been there, graduate or not the despair and frustration of searching for a role at the very start of your career can be overwhelming. We understand this, so to help you out here are some of the top mistakes made my recent graduates, as well as some of our own stories of a successful graduate job hunt. So here's some real advice on overcoming hurdles you may have overlooked whilst trying to secure your first job as a grad fresh out of university.
1. Too many applications, not enough organisation.
You're 3 pages deep into your 7th job application and start to think; "what have I just got myself into".
The saying 'less is more' can sometimes be true for job applications too. Take time to really read the job specification, what's the role asking for? Can I deliver that skillset? Do I really want to work for this company? Focusing on the detail of a handful of job specs gives you time to really put the most into those long applications, using relevant buzz words the company is looking for, rather than half-heartedly filling out hundreds of applications to organisations you don't really want to work for, could be all it takes to successfully proceed to the next stage of your application.
2. The forgotten interview questions.
It's easy to give advice on being confident, doing your research and understanding the company, for the role you've applied for (In fact we already have a whole blog on it - click here to read more).
Don't forget to ask important questions related to the role and the company during the interview process. The more you know about the company and the role the better you will be able to respond to questions; Is there an opportunity for progression? Are training incentives offered? Am I able to work flexibly? What are your business goals for next 12 months? It might sound silly, however, it can be easy to forget to ask these types of questions once you're in the moment. An interview is a two-way process, make sure the company is as much of a fit for you as you are for them.
3. Getting stuck at the interview stage
Don't worry you're not the only one, nor will you be the last. It sounds simple, but getting feedback could help you with your next interview. 4,540 more graduates in 2018, found jobs than the previous year (that's a 73% increase). That's a lot. So don't take rejection to heart, learn from the setbacks, and work to build on your personal profile. Don't glamourise your degree title, utilise and expand on the skills learnt through the process.
4. Lack of direct experience
Unless you've taken an industry placement year in your chosen field, it can be difficult to get exposure to the skills you want to develop going forward, to break into a grad role. Somehow companies can seem like they're unrealistically searching for individuals with 2-3 years experience in industry-specific roles, who are recently graduated, offering entry-level pay. Don't threat, and don't let this put you off applying for a role where your skills suit. Talk to the recruiter. If you're applying through an agency - get advice on your approach.
This is where taking on temporary work could help - taking on temp work whilst searching for your ideal role - allows you to gain experience within a range of business sectors, securing valuable practical skills, that could help you progress towards your ultimate career goal.
5. Holding high expectations
It's ok to have high expectations and career goals. Millennials and Generation Z are renowned for expecting a better work-life balance, working from home and being able to flexibly manage their workloads. Unfortunately, this might not be every employer's offer or even feasible for that business. You might not get everything you're after on day ONE. It may take patience, or a move to your second or third role until you finally receive something you really wanted from the get-go. That said, it is always good to make sure you are clear with any potential employer - work with a recruiter to find roles that suit your expectations and avoid any disappointment.
How can we help you?
Using a recruitment agency focused on building relationships could help you.
We have a team of experienced consultants working across 7 divisions, with connections in some major businesses across Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and in between. Starting a conversation with one could help you get your foot in the door of the sector you’ve always dreamed of working in. Whether it's permanent, contract or temporary work.
Sometimes having a confidential chat about your experience and career goals, could be all you need to give you the confidence in continuing your job search and looking for roles that suit your skillset, and educationalbackground.