With university finals fast upon us, dissertations submitted, and graduation gowns ordered, is the job market prepared to offer suitable opportunities to our budding young professionals?
The recruiter http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2012/05/graduate-recruitment-and-salary-intentions-up-says-careerbuilder/ recently published an article based on a CareerBuilder survey that suggests the market is ready to recruit this year's fresh talent. According to the survey, six in ten employers intend to hire graduates this year, albeit from a reserved sample size of 100 companies.
With more companies seeking to recruit graduates this year, are these graduates themselves prepared to succeed? The survey itself highlights two fundamental areas of concern: 'soft' skills and interview technique. As ever with graduates, their frequent lack of relevant work experience results in a higher focus on their competencies and softer skill set. Communication, organisation, accuracy, teamwork, and presentation skills need to be demonstrated at each stage of the application process. A clear and concise CV listing achievements and key skills, rather than a list of duties and modules, often results in greater successes. This then needs to be clearly demonstrated in interview.
The interview process is a challenge that many graduates aren't prepared for. A lack of experience of interviewing combined with pressure and nerves often hinders performance in interview. The CareerBuilder survey highlights that over half of recent graduate interviewees looked bored, had no questions about the company, and didn't turn off their phones. Not turning oFf your phone and appearing bored at interview are undoubtedly going to prevent that all-important job offer. Couple this with turning up totally unprepared and your interviewers are seriously going to doubt your professional reputation.
Remember strong preparation is key to success in interviews. I don't imagine that these same graduates attended exams without adequate revision whilst expecting to do well.
Before an interview visit the organisation's website, do research as to latest press releases and the history behind the organisation. From this, think of a handful of insightful questions that show a genuine interest in the company. Then move on to think about your relevant experiences and skill set. When and how can you demonstrate strong written communication skills, negotiation skills, team work, high levels of attention to detail... etc. Use examples that are tangible from both university and any work history you have.
Good preparation is the key to success! If you would like any advice on interviewing, or have any horror stories regarding graduate interview performance I'd love to hear from you!