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Important steps for graduates seeking their first job

Posted on 13/07/2016 by Simon Bruce

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Congratulations you have or are about to graduate. You are viewed as the elite and highly regarded by potential employers.
 
You are starting to job hunt in fact we hope you already started some time ago! So do please start now if you are reading this with your graduation in plan for next year because:-
 
Competition can be tough for the best jobs. However, there are guidelines for success and we outline some of these details below, and look forward to hearing from you.
 
If you review your options early and know your preferred career and sector of choice then this will show when you have your interviews. You will stand out as one of, or indeed, the best candidate because you know what you want to do, why and with which company.
 
What other actions do you take to maximise your chances of success?
 
Let's face some truths - you have probably met some great new friends since joining university, sharing interests, with also similar styles of clothing and a shared focus to learn, even though with different subjects.
 
You are now entering not another university but a workspace where each company can be a different atmosphere, with different dress codes, different priorities. There may be behavioural elements as handed down and copied from the CEO. It pays to study the elements of that company, the one reading your CV. It may be a shift but you should recognise it. So why not take a look online at their activities and also other potential employers in your chosen sector or region. Does one stand out to you as being ideal? Why? Note your response as that is a good detail to mention in your interview when asked "why do you want to join us". Have your answer ready, it is almost certain that they will ask you.
 
Set yourself an action plan allocating time in your diary to be proactive and complete your research. Ask yourself, does this target company share my values? Do you know people working there?
 
Take care with some of the social media "social" web services: we mean this in 2 ways
 
1) Your record on social media with perhaps photos is visible not only to your friends but also to a Director of Recruitment. What will they find when they complete research on you? Check and edit the detail if necessary.
 
2) If you have colleagues already working at the company, ask them what online sites they use in their professional life, and find these professional career web services. These resources are also used by Recruitment Companies so they may find you!
 
Be active - imagine looking for a golden stone on a beach full of stones - you would not just look at the first square metre, but the entire beach if you were really motivated and wanted to find the best result.
 
Why not make this a research project with your maximum energy because the main person who will gain is....YOU!
 
If the match with you and your employer is good, then you both gain and your success means you are promoted and your career has a superb start. Well done!
 
Do physically search - this means going to events, in person, in your chosen sector and region to try and meet people already working in potential target companies. Advice from them can be a great help. Remember the phrase it is not what you know, it is who you know. The Internet has not changed this fact but it has made it easier to find out who you should meet.
 
Try to find ways to meet these people. Do they share similar interests? Boating, tennis, golf, walking? Are their sports clubs in your area where you may grow your contact database and not just have on the list the colleagues from today. Consider part-time work? This may offer you new opportunities to make new contacts.
 
Do all you can to increase your knowledge about a company and what they like and not like so much! So when you send them your CV you can edit your CV in a way that you believe will encourage them to see you in a good light.
 
If you are really inspired by the dream of joining that job and company, then editing the CV to sharpen it to get the job offer will not be a chore, but a delight - you won't be able to stop, and will start the edit immediately and feel the thrill at getting the CV sent out, well checked, and knowing it will make an impact. File it carefully with a date and version number and the details of to whom it was sent. Take a copy with you when you attend the interview.
 
We are NOT saying add detail that is not true, but do choose detail that you consider will be welcomed and prioritised by the company and increase your chances of being chosen for the interview and to obtain that job offer. In this way you will also be able to explain why you want to work for them.  This shows you have thought about the question in advance and completed research and are motivated.
 
If a manager is choosing people for a football team he wants people passionate in football! If a choir leader wants singers he will warm to people who share their preferred composer, or topic or priorities. Better still, when YOU know what are these details, before you send your first email or attend the first interview!
 
Complete your research on your chosen company and try to reflect this in your tailor-made CV for each job application.
 
You are in effect a sales specialist for you. Ask any salesperson when they search for sales, to find prospective customers and contact them for a meeting. If they do not get a reply they write or call again. Nothing wrong in that! Internet messages do get lost. Some people have thousands of emails a day.  Do not take this personally but politely ask if they have received your CV and or email and may you meet with them? 
 
You may want to try a sales technique and ask "would Monday be good for your or is later in the week better?". This is known as the alternative sales close - offering the person a choice and this dilutes and softens the question and sometimes can help - but do make that call or send that second mail.
 
As we said earlier, you are entering a new world - dress code, professional behaviour, being on time, professional appearances, all matter. Review how a Director of Recruitment would see you if they completed research on you. What would they find? What do you need to change? When you call the employer how are you received, the manner of the telephone calls? Note these things and adapt your style if it is radically different or think again, carefully, if you feel this company is not for you.
 
It should also help to convince yourself and or answer this question "Is this a company I can see myself working with for during the next few or more years?"  If it is a well known company then this is a great first name on your CV!  That in itself can sometimes be of more value in the long term than just looking at your salary on day 1 - think about that!
 
If you are in the lucky group of individuals who really knows what you want to do, then great, go for it. Better still, if you can get into the market leader. If not do not worry. Work experience in the sector has huge value and it will not be long before you have in-work job detail clearly visible on your CV. This immediately makes you hot property and head hunters will find you. Just get in there and start and as always, whatever the grade, complete your work with your very best efforts. You will be noticed, whether inside or outside the organisation.