3 things you didn't know you needed now you've graduated
Well done you lot! Welcome to the world of graduation. You'll be basking in your post academi-coital glow now you're done. There is time to enjoy this of course, but I'm not paid to encourage you to kick back and not think about your future, as easy that would probably be.
What I am here to do is help you get a graduate job and now you've graduated or graduated recently, this is something you need to start thinking about. So put the remote down, put an end to your now-guilt-free Netflix binge and fire up that laptop you've not touched since clicking submit - I'm here to ruin your party.
Many sources will give you the set menu of stuff you need now you've graduated. It's the hum-drum list of middle-of-the-road bare essentials that will allow you to throw your hat into the ring for getting a graduate job. But unfortunately to get ahead you need much more that the bare minimum. That ain't gonna get you anywhere. A chimp could tell you that to get a job you should have some form of CV and covering letter.
Nowadays, despite there being more graduate jobs out there, it's still tough and "standing out from the crowd" is vital to get anywhere. So here's some alternative careers advice for you. Here are the stuff you need if you want to get the job you want, not just the first job you get.
"Graduate You: for just £18K a year"
Right, enough about thinking of yourself as an English Graduate or a Physics graduate, that's yesterday's matching approach. Graduates now need to be thinking about themselves as products, products to be sold to employers. It's the world we live in, but it will help you focus and target every single application you send out.
Thinking about who you are, what you have to offer and what it is exactly that separates you from the great graduate unwashed. What is it about you that employers can take advantage of to improve their business? What is it about what you'll bring to the role that the rest of the graduate hoard won't?
If you begin to think about what you have in those terms and what is your USP you'll begin to form your own "personal brand". This may sound like indulgent, nonsensical management speak… this does sound like indulgent, nonsensical management speak. But it is important. And you need to understand its importance because graduates are usually completely unaware of what this means.
Your personal brand is a consistent message across all channels about you and what you have to offer. This means keeping your message tight and unique. If you still think I'm chatting like Brent read how to define your personal brand.
Head in the game
Everyone also tells you that researching the company is important but that's not exactly specific enough, is it? They were founded in this year, they do this, that and now the other, they were in the news for that oil spill or computer services fail, all that stuff. It's not what employers want to hear. If they are honest they couldn't give a monkey's uncle when the company was founded. It's inconsequential.
What is consequential is the day to day running of the organisation. This is what they really mean. Interviews might think it quite twee that you know how many members of staff are at the company, but if you understand the difference between them and their closest competitors that's what matters.
I often think when graduates are told to research and prepare for interviews there should be more guidance on this. I'm not sure what you've been told lately, but researching the company is only really relevant to what you'd be doing. The tax scandal they had in the news lately is not something to bring up in interview, even if you are being studious.
Having a good understanding of what "commercial awareness", another one of those phrases, can be absolutely key. Employers expect you to know how the business ticks. They regard "commercial awareness" as you understanding how they drive their revenue, how they compete and what makes them so very special in comparison to their competitors. Understanding these elements of "commercial awareness" is a good start but likely to be the tip of the iceberg. For example, selling their product does not cut it, you should now how they develop their product and market it and which product is more successful than the rest and how this affects their approach.
It is difficult to give you a broad analogy without focusing on one organisation, so you're better off reading the Commercial Awareness Checklist to help you approach this sticky subject in an easier manner.
Something to aim for
This is yet even more ethereal and hard to pin down but bear with me. Saying you just need a job is not enough. Just wanting to bring in a bit of dollar won't be enough to persuade employers that you're the right person for the job. This isn't totally out of the question in some positions, Sales for example where making money is a key element but saying that's the reason you're applying won't cut it.
So it's worth having a think, what do you actually want from your first job? Responsibility? Opportunity to be creative? Respect? To do some good in the world? These were questions I hadn't really considered before and I am sure I wasn't the only one. The one warning I'd give alongside this is be a bit realistic. It's great to dream big and have large ambitions about a prosperous and respectable career but have some scope. Or at least a plan of how to get there.
Getting some career do's and don't's organised in your head will certainly make job hunting a little easier. If, for example, you absolutely cannot abide telesales because you're not a telephone person (like me) then don't waste yours and the employers time on applying because if it's mentioned in the job description, you can bet your last penny you'll be doing it and a lot. But if you want to be in a customer or team focused role, looking at independent work might not advisable either.
Obviously there's lots you're going to need to know now you're out there and in the wild graduate world, but we'll be here to help you along the way. Whether it's providing you with the best graduate jobs, graduate schemes or internships to top up that experience. graduate-jobs.com will always try and help when you're stuck on graduate job descriptions or unsure what working in a sector is like for graduate.