Tag 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.

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!

What Career Suits You?

How many times have you asked yourself what career is right for you?

Forget the qualifications, forget your previous employment, forget your experience in a field. We’re talking about finding that type of career suits your personality. After all, skills can be taught. Passion comes from within.

Psychologists and sociologists have, for years, tried to identify the ‘perfect’ job depending on your personality. But we’re naturally complex as humans, and have more than one – often conflicting – characteristics.

How then, can we decide what career suits us best? Here we will take a look at the ‘main’ personality types, and the careers they suit best:

Careers for realists

If you’re a ‘doer’, with a hands-on attitude and a realistic approach to problem solving; you would probably be described as a realist. If this sounds like you, aptitude tests and psychologists would tell you that you’re suited to a whole host of possible careers.

You would thrive in the fierce world of business, as your level headed approach would help you always make the right decisions. Jobs in a finance or marketing department, as well as computing would also be a good fit.

Careers for sociable’s

Some people prefer to work closely with others, throwing about ideas and generally working as part of a team; you would be classed a sociable personality.

For the outgoing and confident personality types, there are a whole host of careers that would really make the most of these traits. Jobs in sales will require you to really make the most of you social skills, as will jobs in the creative industries.

Make the most of your bold personality, and put those enviable traits to good use. Just be careful not to come across as pushy and overbearing. You want to be one of those bubbly characters everyone enjoys working with, not dreads!

Careers for the caring

If you’re the caring sort, there really is no better career path than a job in healthcare. Whether you’re a nurse, social worker, or GP; this is a highly rewarding career that will put your best personality traits to good use.

You obviously need to be extremely committed and hardworking too. These kinds of careers are certainly not suited to those who possess a ‘work hard, play harder’ mentality.

If you’re still not sure what the best career path is for your personality is, there’s a plethora of online quizzes designed to help you pick the perfect career. But do they really work?

Do the quizzes and tests really work?

There have been countless pieces of research as to what character traits suit what career types. A quick online search brings up more aptitude tests and quizzes than you can count; each claiming to help you find your dream job based on your answers.

While there is obviously research and science behind the quizzes, it is perhaps not wise to base your next career move on the results of a test. Instead, take your personality, qualifications, and career aspirations into account to help find your dream job.

This guest post has been supplied by Outcomes UK. The company specialises in recruitment for the social care industry. To find out more, visit their website today.

Graduates- what you can be doing now for the future!

Following on from our guest blog on Wednesday which addresses managing your workload at Uni – today I wanted to delve into some areas university students will find useful once you have graduated, as securing that all important first role is more difficult than you think.

When I was at Uni, I was promised that once I graduated with a good degree that I could practically walk into any job – in fact they also fed me with other unrealistic expectations such as large salary levels for starting out and going straight into middle management etc. Having spoken to a number of recent graduates and students recently it would seem that the same expectation levels are still being set by the universities – I can see from their perspective that they need to “sell” the places but it is also unfair to set people up for a big disappointment. Taking positive steps forward I would like to address some things you could be doing now to enhance your chances of securing your first role post graduation:

  1. Take on a part time role – this can be done during holiday times but also as easily done during term time too, I seem to remember a great deal of courses only actually requiring you in the classroom for a few hours a week. Therefore you could structure your timetable to complete your Uni work in the day time and take an evening / weekend / late afternoon job – not only will you enhance your student loan for the all important socials, you will be gaining work experience which you can later rely on for references and to put on your CV. Even jobs you don’t think will be any use to secure a professional role usually are, think about customer facing, time management, cash handling, problem solving, dealing with complaints / conflicts – all good stuff to demonstrate to your potential boss that you haven’t just fallen out of bed and into their office hoping for a professional job.
  2. Voluntary work – Ask your tutors if they know any organisations or have any contacts who would be willing to let you volunteer your services to, ideally you will then gain some experience specific to the role you wish to pursue when you graduate and you may make an impression which could lead on to being offered a contract post-uni.
  3. Use your contacts – ask your parents to put the feelers out within their offices and with their friends to see if they can secure you some work experience they always say; “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”

It is important to start working on your CV now – start adding pieces of information as it comes to you or as you experience it and ask your tutors to review it for you, make sure you ask for honest feedback and listen to those who can help you most.