Category Archives: Graduates

UK Job Snobs

Interesting to hear a snobbery emerging from the 16 to 24 year olds in the UK regarding taking up jobs considered beneath them, graduates with the attitude that they should be able to walk into a role which is in the field they have studied in or trained for. For me this also begs the question as to whether those with such attitudes have ever worked at all, a Saturday job or paper round were standard for myself and my peers when we were growing up. In fact by the time I had reached college age I was so experienced in waitressing that I was managing restaurants to fund the luxuries in my life such as car and mobile phone whilst studying full time.

Work Experience

It was these types of jobs, and believe me I have delivered pizzas, worked in factories, behind bars, and even stuffed compost into plant pots at the local nursery in my studying years, which really help to build you as an employable person for roles deemed more professional but also mould you and demonstrate to employers your ability to adapt to working environments.

Here are a few skills you will gain:

  • Team work
  • Following instructions
  • Time keeping
  • Attendance
  • Complaints handling
  • Customer service
  • Commercial acumen
  • Problem solving
  • Cash handling

Now add these to your qualifications, and look how much more attractive a package you are presenting to potential employers. We all have to start somewhere; naturally all employers are a little hesitant to hand out employment contracts to those straight out of education, but those who have references and proven they can do what it takes to fund their lifestyles are naturally set ahead of those that have always been supported financially by others.

I have provided careers advice to people from all backgrounds, from graduates to Director level – the graduates I have always encouraged to take any job, if they have no experience. Ideally if you can go in at a low level role within a large organisation then you will have the scope to prove yourself and move up the career ladder, but gaining any work experience is valuable and integral to achieving your career goals. For those looking to get into project management, it is important to get your foot through the door then look to get involved in projects. This is often the case for most PM professionals, falling into the field by being asked to assist on projects in addition to your usual role. In a time of austerity, with a lot of competition for the sought-after roles you need to do everything you can to enhance your employability.

What On Earth Is Talent Communication?

A phrase that may not be that familiar to you is something you’ll need to get to know if you’re going to get the right people to join your business and see you developing into the future. In order to find the right people, you need to know about their talents. To get their talents to join forces with your own, you need to communicate with them. Talent communication puts you in touch with the people who could be the next generation of employees and executives in your organisation.

Depending on how early you want to target future talent, there are different ways in which you can communicate to get them thinking about your organisation when they’re looking for a place to work. The type of individuals you’re looking to attract will also make a difference to the way in which you put your message across.

Getting in early

One way in which organisations large and small have historically attracted some of the top talent in the country is by joining the Milk Round of recruitment fairs at top universities to put them in touch with box-fresh graduates looking for work in the best companies in the UK and beyond. However, some organisations are looking to get in even earlier in order to secure the most talented young minds and direct them towards study and development that will best suit them for a career in that company.

Big hitter

Some international big hitters are now turning to agencies to help them gain insights into targeting future talent before they leave school and move on to further studies. Careers advice services are crying out for ways to better engage with young people as they decide what they want to do with their lives and companies who are able to offer something that’s compelling and helps teachers and advisers to better support young people at this vital stage is greatly welcomed.

Finding the right way to approach and communicate with children and young people is tricky. As a demographic group, they are rapidly changing and using more and more different modes of communication which can make it difficult to keep up. Finding the right language that resonates with children and young people can be a challenge, so it helps to work with specialists in the field of communication with this group to get the most out of your efforts.

Getting the big hitters

While it makes good sense to appeal to future employees early and build your brand image in the minds of young people, this doesn’t stop the need to recruit the best people later in their careers. No amount of graduate recruitment and succession planning will fill all the gaps in your teams and when it comes to going out to find the right people for your vacancies it helps to have a clear strategy.

Big Hitter

As budgets get tighter and the impetus to find the best quality people grows, making sure that you’re targeting your communications at just the right groups is increasingly important. Just putting an ad in the newspaper isn’t enough if you want to get the best; a well-rounded strategy that takes in placing articles in key industry publications to build reputation and brand recognition and covers the growing importance of social media marketing will make sure your hard-pressed recruitment budget comes up with the goods.


Whether you’re looking to attract talented young people embarking on the first steps of their careers or fill vacancies at the highest level of your organisation, seeking advice to develop a carefully targeted communication strategy will pay dividends in terms of finding the right people and building their appetite to join your team.

Written by Nathan Griffiths who recommends for tips on talent communication.

Personal Statement, what do I do?? Questions Answered

Hi Nicola, I am currently studying at University and I have been asked to write a personal statement for a work placement as part of my course – I have no idea where to start as my original personal statement to get on my course reads like a biography, help!!!

Steve, Manchester

Hi Steve, Many thanks for your question. First of all it is great to hear universities are actively encouraging work experience placements for students, I cannot think of a better way to gain some relevant work experience whilst you are studying and this will certainly help you once you have graduated and are looking to start work.

The importance of such placements does bring some pressure to make sure you can piqué interest  with the best employers in your field to ensure a worthwhile placement, reassuring them you can do the job albeit in a junior capacity will make the difference between being actually picked for the role and also the duties that you will incur on the placement. You don’t want to be brewing up and making photocopies there right!

To start I suggest you talk a little about yourself in a work capacity, how you ended up taking the course and how you have utilised your skills so far. Use examples of putting the theory into practice whether it has been in paid work or for family and friends. Make sure you research the employer to understand what their USP (Unique Selling Point) is and match up your abilities and skills in this area. Then you should look to introduce what skills you have gained on the course and how you wish to progress in your specialist niche. Make sure you keep referring to particular projects the employer has worked on and start to introduce specific skill-sets; it is also good to touch upon the software you may have been using and your general ability to pick up new software packages. As this is a personal statement I also recommend you talk about why it would mean so much for you personally if you were picked for the placement, don’t go over the top with compliments to them but get a balance of your respect for their work and genuinely why you want to work there. Conclude with a paragraph about how you see your career progression once you have graduated and gaining specific work experience will assist you in reaching your goals.

I am assuming you will be submitting your CV with your personal statement, therefore let the CV be the formal part of the application and allow a more personal feel to the statement itself. Good luck!

Graduate CV – how to begin.

Your CV is the most important starting point for you to market yourself to potential employers – as a marketing document you need to ensure it is clear, concise, relevant, has a unique selling point (USP) and is personal to you.

To begin
Don’t pull your hair out we have all been there and although it may seem difficult to start with – you will soon develop a creative flow. Play around with a few CV templates and find a style that works for you. Then consider the following:

  • Use positive statements and an enthusiastic tone – use an active tense such as managing rather than managed and facilitating rather than facilitated.
  • Talk through your demonstrable experience – giving workable examples.
  • Avoid generic statements such as “good communication skills” and actually demonstrate how you have used the skills effectively to achieve something or get something done.
  • The space you devote to a matter suggests the importance you give to it. Be careful not to dedicate half a page to education and a line or two to your achievements or role remits.
  • Account for all gaps in the CV – if you took a year off to travel; that is fine just ensure you list it.

It is very important to make a good first impression – remember you are not the only person applying for the job! You will have competition and if you are not a strong contender – your CV could be rejected within 20 seconds of being viewed.

  • Make sure the job you are applying for is something you can realistically do – take care to place emphasis on the skills required for the role.
  • Address the application specifically to the name on the website / advert and write a cover letter matching up your relevant experience.
  • Put in the effort to make sure you are selling yourself in the best light.

Here are some links to articles which you will find useful moving forward: