The current economic situation is difficult for most of us. However, if you are a Graduate that is new to the job market, it can be yet more challenging. Even in normal times, a good degree and work experience do not provide a guarantee that you will receive a good job offer. With unemployment increasing 13% for 16-24-year olds in the UK in the first eight months of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is now more important than ever that you have a plan to market yourself as effectively as possible.
My own (fading) memory of post-University life conjures images of self-doubt, indecisiveness about my future direction and even whether it was worth doing my Law degree in the first place. If you, or your relatives, are in a similar situation whilst faced with a challenging job market, then here is some useful career advice for students to consider when thinking about the future.
1) Coaching Support
A career coach can help you discover your direction and career path. They will analyse the skills that you have developed from activities and work experience and look at how these can be applied to the workplace.
Work will take place on your personal development. Any doubts and concerns that you have will be explored so that your confidence is high when dealing with application processes. In my case, I can also provide mock interview practices, and work with you to produce a CV based upon your achievements.
2) Work Experience
Even a very strong academic record does not guarantee a graduate job. There are thousands of others who will meet the same standard. This can be disconcerting for graduates as the emphasis changes from getting good grades to actually demonstrating how you can add value to an employer.
Previous and varied work experience will certainly help your case. Employers want graduates who can deliver relevant, real world skills. If you cannot show what you are capable of at work, it becomes more difficult to find the right job.
Gaining work experience will also allow you to discover what you like doing. This will lead you to better decisions based on your skills and interests. If you have carried out a placement, an internship, shadowing or volunteering; these all demonstrate commitment and proactivity towards forging a career path.
It can be difficult to transition to employment, and many graduates take some time to find an enjoyable role. It is important, nonetheless, that you continue to develop. Any focussed activities or personal development (such as online courses) will help you to find a clearer direction, and give you a more rounded set of skills.
This is a really good way of enhancing your career prospects. You can utilise your contacts as a source of advice and insight, and connect to others through your existing network.
Reach out to professional networks or online groups with common goals and interests. Also, make use of opportunities created through previous work experience and activities.
5) Memorable CV
A CV needs to make a quick and positive first impression. You need to make it stand out and be memorable as most CVs are viewed only for a short space of time.
You need to show good written communication, and spend time displaying your skills and experience in the best possible light. Where possible, you should also demonstrate what you have achieved through your actions.
6) Online Presence
Keep your LinkedIn profile relevant as it lists your skills as well as your experience. The Jobs section of the site can be helpful as you can get in touch with recruiters and connect with people who may have good career advice.
Facebook and Twitter ca also help you to maintain contact with helpful people. Be aware that employers do check these profiles, so ensure you do not publicly post incriminating material.
7) Interview Practice
In an interview, you need to be prepared for what might come your way. Understand what attracts you about the role and be confident in your skills and how you can apply them.
Communicate enthusiastically and ask pertinent questions to demonstrate that you are really engaged with the interviewer and their business.
The best preparation, as in many facets of life, comes through practice. If you can find a coach or someone else who can facilitate this, then this may put you ahead of the competition.
8) What Do You Want to Achieve?
This is potentially the most important question. Do you want to work your way up an organisation? Would you prefer a portfolio career? Or are you more entrepreneurial?
Once this is understood, this will provide focus. You may need to consider acquiring new skills and experience. You may need to work on your soft skills such as communication or organising.
It is important to set goals and the SMART approach will help you turn your long-term ambitions into achievable targets.
If you feel that you could benefit from working with an experienced Career Coach to establish your career journey, please contact me for an introductory chat about how I can help you to achieve your goals.