Where do you go to find suitable vacancies to apply for? It can be a challenge to know where to actually find the right kind of opportunities for you. Google is good but may just overwhelm you with possibilities! Developing a productive job-hunting strategy can really help. What worked for you as a student getting part-time work might not for finding a job that will take you in the right career direction.
Did you know?
Graduates find jobs in all sorts of ways and all kinds of places. Here is a list which shows how 2015 graduates nationally said how they had found the job they were doing (data collected as part of the national graduate destinations survey 6 months after finishing university).
In the post about Who’s on Your Bench, we focused on those that are close to you that are so important to us in life. However, it’s good to think wider, as very often, it may be your weaker connections that can be the source of new opportunities (e.g., someone you once met who works for the company you would love to work for).
So what is networking for job-hunting?
Networking in principle – ‘In essence when you network you make a conscious decision to make the most of every contact (new and existing) you have and treat very single encounter as a job lead.’ (source Brilliant Graduate Career Handbook)
‘You are between 50 and 70 per cent likely to create your next career opportunity through your network, i.e., via people you know through University, work, family and socially.’ (source Brilliant Career Coach)
Careers matter to people. Your career will occupy half of your waking hours; it will impact on your finances, your status, what you contribute to society, your happiness, your own fulfilment and others’ opinion of you. Your career will interweave with your home, your family and your leisure interests. And careers, certainly for those of us living in the UK today, mean choices about the kind of life you want to lead and being able to make decisions about those choices.
This is certainly a subject that deserves to be talked about, don’t you agree?
The power of career conversations came out of recent research I have been doing into graduate careers. One of my findings has been that individuals who had found suitable people to talk to about their hopes, fears and ambitions were much more positive about their career prospects. Ironically, although the ‘what’s your career plan?’ question may be one that graduates dread to hear, and would possibly shy away from, it is also one that most people would like to be able to have a stab at answering, especially if they know the person asking is genuinely interested and not just making small-talk.
Well, I’ve got Bella and Milo on my bench so I am doing OK. But seriously, there is a cliché that it’s ‘who you know’ that matters in careers. These 3 simple words hide the variation this may mean depending on who you are and where you come from. Sociologists call this social capital, a phrase that is now used widely.
But whether you are fortunate to be well-connected or not, everyone needs people on their bench and it’s important to appreciate those people. The sporting metaphor is a good one, as this could include people who can cheer you when you do well, can get out the stretcher when there’s an emergency and provide you with coaching and direction. Your bench will include your close community of supporters who are your cheerleaders, even if you feel they can’t really help your career, they may well be able to help maintain your morale. And we know that staying positive is important when getting a job and developing your career.
The author of this post is Tahira Majothi (careers consultant).
As I walk around the ever changing university campus, and see people climbing the ‘Engel’s Beard’ sculpture I’m mindful of the significance of key sites which surround us and which serve as a reminder of the North’s pivotal role in changing world history including the remnants of the Industrial Revolution, the Manchester Ship Canal, the site of the Peterloo Massacre, the Working Class Movement Library and Rochdale Pioneers the home of the modern Cooperative movement, all of which recognise the people and campaigns which have helped to shape the region’s deep historical, industrial and societal changes and which ran parallel along the fight for fair labour, political and human rights.
When our parents or grandparents left school they were quite likely to get a permanent job in a big organisation with a steady career structure. Perhaps this sounds great as it offers security and predictability… or perhaps that sounds a bit boring? The good news for you is that you are not necessarily faced with one big jump into a career, you can try out a few different things before you commit. The downside is that you may have to accept a certain level of uncertainty, some periods of unemployment or underemployment and you might even find that you need to start off on low pay in order to build up some relevant work experience. Building a career takes time so hold your nerve if you are frustrated about things not happening as fast as you’d like.
The author of this post is Justyna Turner (enterprise champion).
Why become self-employed, a freelancer or start your own business when you graduate?
There are many reasons and benefits why people choose this career path. Most people want to be their own boss. Others do it to make lots of money or even just to make a second income. Some relish the challenge of working for themselves, while others have no option but to go self-employed.
Many successful businesses today were established by students while they were still in university or just after completing university; often with their fellow students. Many argue that there is never a better time to start a business than at university. Some examples are Google, Facebook, Time magazine, Dell and many more. Self-employment is sometimes the only option if you wish to pursue a specific career path; media, and the creative and performing arts sectors are all examples of where self-employment or freelance work is typical. Creatives often develop portfolio careers where they will need to juggle self-employment and short term contracts to maximize the use of their creative skills.
This post’s author is Paul Sheppard, careers consultant.
A few months ago I undertook a quick quiz on the BBC website asking how likely it was that a robot might take my job and discovered the chance of my job being done by a robot in the next 20 years is only about 20%. There is, however, a far more serious issue in that many roles and sectors are likely to be adversely affected in the short term, in addition to the roles that have already been replaced over recent years as many middle skilled jobs are now being automated as machines master more complicated tasks previously undertaken by humans.
Going forward it is crucial that graduates and those advising you try to understand what the future may bring. Career areas such as Finance are predicted to be the most likely to be adversely affected as the work of accountants and financial analysts can be done by machines. Jobs with high level skills, creativity and personal care are generally safe and we are likely to see employers that need smaller highly skilled workforces dominated by those with high levels of creativity and problem solving that can’t be robotised.
The author of this post is Gary Bardsley Student Engagement Co-ordinator
Surveys of employers reveal top 10 “must have” skills that many employers state graduates must possess to be successful employees. Which skills matter the most to recruiters does vary according to sector, roles, size of business, cultural ethos as well as how committed a company is to training its staff. Employers operate within a fast paced and technologically changing economic environment, therefore their needs can be variable and specialised. However, there are some generic skills which are definitely useful whatever type of job you are aiming for. And you probably have many of them already!
Typical Top Ten
The Brilliant Graduate Career Handbook identifies a top ten of graduate skills sought after by employers.
This post’s author is Tim Ward, work experience consultant
Once you have some clarity on your goals, interests, values and skills you can start packaging this as a compelling story about yourself. Some people call this process personal branding. It’s a process which helps you define what’s special about you. It’s an approach I have found useful for my own career and also for the students and graduates I work with.
Personal branding as a concept has borrowed ideas from business branding in approaching how individuals can market themselves in a competitive job market.
What have all successful companies mastered? What makes a consumer buy one product over another? What makes one graduate job-seeker more successful and much more sought after than others? In all cases, I’d argue that it’s all down to the brand that’s conveyed.