With graduation season just about to wrap up, I’m sure most of you are reflecting on your time at university and how you are going to make the next steps in your life. It can be daunting and terrifying but it can also be really exciting.
Some of you may have already bagged your dream job and others have made plans to travel or continue studying. None of these decisions are wrong, and all of them can enhance your CV if you make the most of them.
If you’re still in the process of job hunting, don’t worry. You are not alone and there are still graduate opportunities out there, you just have to know where to look. Make sure you are exploring avenues you haven’t already tried, there are so many ways to find a great graduate role. Belfast is full of amazing SME’s and start-ups that don’t always have the means or the time to shout as loud about their positions like their bigger competitors do.
That’s where your initiative, social media, job boards and recruitment companies come into play.
It is vital that you really research the market. Consultants at MCS have found that some graduates leave university only wanting to work for the top player in their field. Expand your horizons, Northern Ireland has seen so much innovation and investment over the last few years and is full of amazing SME’s and start-ups that can offer the same great start to a career.
Make a list of the top five companies where you think you would be a good fit and are doing work that excites and inspires you. Research who the best contact is and send them over a well penned cover letter selling yourself and your skills, and tell them you are looking for a job. They may have something, they may not but if not, at least you are being proactive and making connections in your industry. You may even get a little nugget of advice to steer you in the right direction.
Use job boards to your advantage, companies are logging in everyday of the week searching for the ideal candidate, and why shouldn’t that be you? Set aside about 30 minutes and create your profile. Make sure you use everything from your university experience to your advantage, were you part of a team or society? Did you take part in any charity fundraisers? Did you spend a summer travelling? Everything you did, no matter how insignificant you think it was, can be something that separates you from another candidate. Ensure your CV is up to date and thoroughly checked for spelling or grammar errors and prepare a short concise paragraph just stating who you are and what you are about.
One last thing, add a photo. It may seem unnecessary but people are more likely to remember you if they can put a face to a CV.
So, you’ve had three years of amazing parties, messy nights out and fancy-dress events galore. And no doubt, several albums of Facebook to mark each and every occasion. Now that you are a graduate, and are putting yourself out into the working world expecting people to take you seriously, your social media needs some TLC. As much as we would prefer not to think it, employers check you out on social media to get a sense of you as a person. Make sure your personal accounts are private and your professional accounts are professional. It may also be time to update your email address, your first ever Hotmail account may have served its purpose at this stage.
Twitter and LinkedIn are the best channels to connect with industry and employers. Use your twitter account to keep up to date with you dream companies and the overall environment of your chosen field.
LinkedIn is a tool that is underestimated by graduates, it should be a whole platform that celebrates you. Make sure your photo is professional, your work experience is detailed and you keep your profile up to date. The summary section is the main place for you to stand out and it adds a personal element to your experience and your goals. Write about what motivates you, what you’ve done and are skilled at, and what makes you unique. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, don’t worry you can really fill out other sections to show your transferable and soft skills. You can list any prizes or awards you have earned as well as classes, languages, certifications that you have already under your belt. You can also list any voluntary work you have done, this shows employers another side to your personality. Add some real examples of your writing or projects that you are proud of, they show the standard of your work and acts as a talking point for interviews. Don’t be afraid to add some hobbies and interests too, you never know what you and an interview could have in common.
Your mission from now on, connect with everyone you meet you never know where it will lead.
For most graduates, recruitment companies can seem like mysterious creatures who are offering you help in exchange for your soul. This is not the case. A recruitment company could be the stepping stone between you and your dream job.
Recruitment agencies work with all types of companies, from corporates to start ups and it’s their job to seek out the brightest and best talent. They oversee jobs that are not advertised elsewhere and work with some clients on an exclusive basis.
Embarking on a job hunt for the first time can be hard to navigate, and signing up to a recruitment company can offer you an ally to help point you in the right direction. At MCS, we put a big focus on meeting all our candidates face to face, meaning that you would get professional advice about your CV and interview skills and have an opportunity to really map out your goals with an advisor that can help you achieve them.
Don’t be disheartened if you haven’t bagged your graduate role just yet, it’s out there for you, you just need to adjust your approach.
To find out the latest Graduate roles throughout Northern Ireland or simply need little advice on where to begin, please contact a member of our team on 028 9023 5456.