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Graduate career advice

The graduate jobs market is becoming increasingly competitive. If you are currently looking for graduate jobs within the legal and finance sectors, there are a number of ways in which you can increase your chances of being successful in the application process.

1) Enhance your ‘soft skills’ to make yourself more attractive to prospective employers

Although graduates need to possess specialist knowledge of their subject, employers are also looking for individuals who are able to demonstrate additional competencies that are transferable in the given role and aren’t necessarily linked to their academic background. These competencies can be gained from:
  • Work experience and unpaid work placements
  • Voluntary work for a charitable organisation
  • Joining a recreational group that meets regularly - demonstrating commitment, leadership and teamwork
As well as providing a platform for demonstrating commitment and dedication, ‘soft skills’ also provide the opportunity to gain references from management that prove extremely valuable in future job applications. As a graduate, it is important that you prove yourself and strive to go the extra mile.

2) Ensure that your CV is tailored to the position that you are applying for

A CV is a selling tool for graduates and it needs to grab the attention of the prospective employer. Tailoring your CV is key, highlight the areas that link to the requirements of the role - and really utilise these points in your covering letter. Your CV is the employer’s first impression of you, and first impressions count.

Tips for writing a successful graduate CV
  • Question the relevance of everything that you include, don’t include unnecessary information that has no relevance to the job description    Make sure that everything that you claim is true. Many recruiters and agencies have screening processes in place - it is likely that false claims will be picked up on in the interview stage
  • Don’t leave any unexplained gaps when listing your experiences - show that you have travelled or been out of work for a period of time
  • Make sure you highlight key achievements, skills and capabilities
  • Make sure your CV is spaced out and easy to read, bullet points are useful for highlighting relevant skills and experiences
  • Make your CV relevant to the job you are applying to. Keep a master copy that lists all your skills and attributes but remember to tweak it according to the role you are applying for - list the most relevant elements of the role first
  • Check your spelling and grammar. You would be surprised how many applications we receive with numerous grammatical errors. Ask a friend to read over it for you to ensure it is accurate

3) Make a good impression in the interview room

It is important once securing an interview to make a good impression. As well as what you say, how you say it will add to the overall impression that you give and it creates an impression of your suitability.
  • Ensure you are dressed smartly and look professional
  • Leave plenty of time to arrive at the interview. Arriving a few minutes early will give you time to collect your thoughts and also indicates that you are good at time keeping. If you are early, it is better to have time to relax than arrive in a panic
  • Ensure you have all of the documents that you will need to hand presented in an ordered fashion. This will indicate to your prospective employer that you possess good organisation skills
  • In the interview, listen carefully to the question that is being asked, and try to give concise answers supported with relevant examples
  • Speak with clarity and confidence and try not to talk too fast. This can be difficult when you are nervous, but take a deep breath before you start to answer. Practice example questions before hand.
  • Have any questions ready that you would like to ask the employer. The interview is a two-way process. It is important that you establish what the organisation can offer you as an employer, in addition to establishing what you can bring to the organisation as an employee
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