Last Minute Readiness
Check for anything distracting about your appearance. That includes personal items, such as your breath and your hair. Also, give your clothes a quick once-over, and it’s better to go into the interview with no tie than a stained tie. You do the same thing on dates, and a job interview is essentially a date without a goodnight kiss. At least we hope there’s no goodnight kiss…
Let’s suppose you’ve completed the three assessments and Happy Work doesn’t presently have the job you’re looking for.
The first thing to remember is that your completed profile will remain active on Happy Work’s database, and over the next 12 months, many new jobs will be added. Whenever an opportunity appears for which you’re compatible, you’ll be notified by email.
The second thing to remember is there are other ways to find the right job after university.
For example, there are several free career advice quizzes, such as the Prospects’ Career Planner, which align your values and beliefs to different job titles.
Research the 7-8 “compatible” job titles and shortlist 3-5 which you could imagine yourself doing. Next, call...
This article explains why and how you should learn what’s expected of your boss.
By the time you start that great job, we strongly recommend you find out who evaluates your performance. You want to know what constitutes “success” for them.
A great place to begin: See how your manager describes their role on LinkedIn.
Another way to learn what’s expected of you: Save the job description you responded to.
In it, your boss probably revealed what success in the role will look like.
All this may give you a clear idea of what you can do to make your boss look good.
If your goal is to put yourself in line for promotion, profit and insight, solving the boss’ problems might just be the best...
Let’s employ the active listening skill we discussed in our second email.
Before someone pays you for your time, you must first discover exactly why the organisation would consider doing that; what motivates them to buy your time?
Prior to the interview, take time to understand who in the company you’re likely to meet, how they define their role on LinkedIn, and what problems you can solve. Pro tip: Find them on Facebook, too, and look for discussion points, such as similar interests.
A wonderful tactic to succeed in an interview is to discuss emerging trends in their industry. Your goal is to show how you can solve their problems in the short term, and advance the business they’re recruiting for in the long term.
One way to add value to a business is to research a subject rapidly growing in popularity....
Expand your network and introduce yourself to others in your industry and workplace. Research has shown that people with a wider network of contacts are more successful.
An oh-so-true cliche: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Building relationships is absolutely vital for career success.
In 1996, Robert Zajonc found that people develop a preference for things merely because they’re familiar with them. This articles teaches you how to use this to your advantage.
Would you agree that university prepared you for conversations on a variety of topics, with people from diverse backgrounds?
Would you say that university improved your banter; your general “chit-chat” skill?
Would you say your degree has provided you with a greater...
American billionaire Warren Buffett once said: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Consistently complete projects accurately and on time, and you’ll gain a reputation as someone employers can count on.
If you’re still considering whether to work all hours under the sun, think again:
- Productivity plummets if you have to work over 50 hours/ week. (Stanford, 2014)
- Meanwhile, sleeping well greatly improves your memory, attention, and even your weight control.
The lesson in this article:
Do not take on more than you can handle in an attempt to please others. If you accept a task, do it well and deliver on time.
Acquire one of the most critical skills you need for success at work: active listening.
Active listening is about fully devoting yourself to the conversation you’re having, to gain insights that could make all the difference in an interview – and in other aspects of life.
Let’s consider an example…
Imagine you’re the fourth and last person being interviewed for a job. Early on in the discussion, your interviewer says, “I’m exhausted; it’s been a super busy time”. Instead of letting that go without comment, out of curiosity, you ask why that’s been the case. The response:
“I have a six-week-old baby at home.”
From there, the conversation instantly shifts. Your questions...
Most new graduates struggle when their first full-time job replaces eight hours per week of optional university lectures, with eight hours a day of compulsory work.
The transition from fun-loving student to educated professional involves a steep learning curve.
It’s good to remember this: a huge number of people before you – and around you right now – have been through the same challenges and succeeded.
The lesson in this article:
ASK friends, relatives, and colleagues to connect you with someone who can help you to navigate the unwritten rules of the industry where you’d like to contribute.
Knowledge is power. Mentors make you richer. Here’s an example:
At 23, Harry realised it would be...
Translate the Job Description
Some job seekers use a general approach and respond to any advertisements that remotely match their qualifications and experience without paying too much attention to the details. These individuals reason that a job search is basically a numbers game, and the more resumes they send out, the better their chances are.
But looking for the job is only part of the picture, because like all other graduates, Tony wants a job that sets him up for future success in terms of money, respect, work-life balance, and all the other things that matter to him and his inner circle of friends and family.
Episode 1: Preparing for Interviews
A long time ago, Chinese thinker and military strategist Sun Tzu wrote that “Every battle is won before it is fought.” That proverb may not be 100 percent true, but it speaks to the necessity of preparation.
But, as we see below, success is never "instant." Furthermore, different people define this term in different ways. Most people think of success in terms of these four markers:
- Work-Life balance,
- Prestige, and
- Intellectual challenge.
At the same time, most all people disagree as to how these markers should rank. Some people are primarily concerned with money and prestige, and they do not mind that they are expected to work long hours which make it almost impossible to have a personal...
Holborn tube station gets so crowded during rush hour, TFL have banned walking on its escalators. Commuters must stand still in single file, packed in by the thousands of other professionals who are forced to do the same.
For many, this is the world of work; a rude awakening from their indulgent life at university.
If you’re based in a big city, the morning commute will be tricky. This is the only the beginning. For the first three years of your career, at least, your lack of professional experience and work exposure puts you at the bottom of the pecking order.
Being a graduate is an exciting time; you've worked hard to prove yourself, and as a result the world is your oyster. But it can't be denied that is is also a time of uncertainty, probably one of the biggest periods of uncertainty you will have faced so far. Everything beforehand was fairly planned out – school, exams, university. But now the endless options also signal vast uncertainty – when will you get a job, will you get a job, what job will that be? Then there may be questions about your future beyond work; will you find someone to settle down with, will you have a family, do you want a family, will you ever be able to buy a home? There's a lot to think about when you graduate and quite frankly, it can become quite overwhelming, quite quickly if you're not...
When is a graduate not a graduate? Well it depends on who you ask, some claim that two years after you finish university is the end of your 'graduate' life, while others will give you a few extra years to enjoy graduate status. But at some point in your job hunting, you will start to look at graduate jobs, and wonder whether you still count as a grad.
Ultimately though, the real question is 'does it matter?' And the answer to this, again depends on who you ask. For some being a graduate is a great thing, it offer an 'in' to a lot of great companies you wouldn't have access to otherwise. After all, if you applied to Google based purely on your previous work experience, you'd be probably be pretty stuffed, because odds are you don't have much. But as a recent...
One of the biggest challenges many fresh graduates face when leaving uni is that if truth be told, university does a pretty poor job of preparing you for the real world, and this is never more true that when it comes to finances. Yes, for the first time ever you may have had to buy your own food, pay rent and manage bills, but with student loans, bursaries, and interest free overdrafts there as a safety net, let's face it, it's not a realistic representation of the real world of finances.
It comes as a complete shock to many graduates, therefore, when they actually have to deal with these things in earnest,...
When you leave university it's natural that most of your efforts will be focussed on finding a job, or even better, a career. 'Get a good education, so you can get a good career', that's what most of us are told. But what about a good life? We're often led to believe that they are the same thing, but while having a good career is important, it's not the only factor of 'a good life'. What these other factors are will typically depend on what's important to you; it could be friends, family, social activities, travel, or any number of other things, and for many of us our career is what enables us to be able to take part in all these other things. But how can you make sure your career doesn't overshadow the rest of your life?
I left uni six years ago full of vim and vigour, sure that the future I dreamt of would be mine within a few months. As a psychology graduate I obviously knew I wanted to work in psychology so that's where I set my sights. As the end of my final year approached I started to apply for jobs, focussing on those related closely to my goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. Well for the first few months I did anyway. Gradually, as the rejections (or complete non-responses) continued to erode my confidence I started expanding my horizons and began applying for jobs with a more tenuous link to my 'dream job'. Eventually I started applying for roles that had literally nothing to do with it.
After a while I got my first 'real' job working in healthcare – not quite what I...
When you're a graduate there's a lot of pressure to face, and with this pressure it's easy to let go of caring for yourself. Whether it's because you're having to work every hour under the sun to get the 'necessary experience' for you dream job; you're so skint you can barely afford to eat; or even that you just don't know where to start, there's a lot of reasons you might start slacking in taking care of yourself. But trust us, if you've found yourself slipping into this pattern, do whatever you can to stop it in its tracks now, because sadly, you're not going to be 21 forever.
While the older generation may thing the university student's life is a breeze compared to the world of work, the truth is that uni life, and job hunting as a graduate is anything but. Deadlines for final assignments, pressure to find a 'good job' and having virtually no money is no walk in the park, so it's no wonder that so many university students suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety, especially in their final year. While it's not an ideal scenario, it does present a prime opportunity to develop strategies for coping with stress, because sadly, it doesn't actually get much easier when you do find a job, and start earning money, so check out our tips on dealing effectively:
Be more mindful – you've probably heard about mindfulness, and...
Job envy – we've all been there. You and your friends all seem to be struggling along in the graduate job hunt, when BAM one of your uni buddies suddenly lands the job of their (and your dreams). You're super happy for them, of course, but there's no denying you're also probably a tad jealous. Especially if you have yet to land a job at all. It's totally natural to have some less than supportive thoughts, e.g. 'how the hell did they manage that? They're not even that smart!' or 'I deserve that job way more than them'. But unfortunately, this isn't going to a) make you feel much better or b) help you land that dream job of your own. So here are some tips on dealing with the job envy when it inevitably strikes:
Remember no job is perfect – sure...
Do you have hobbies? Do you make regular plans to do something fun after work? Or are you just 'too tired' to do anything once you get home? For a lot of people option three is the standout winner. So many people find their jobs so stressful and energy draining that once they get home, it's all they can manage to eat some food and put the TV on. Now we're not saying this isn't a valid way to spend your time if that's what you want to do, but if you daydream about taking up a new hobby, spending time with friends, or going to glamorous events after work, but never quite get there because you're too tired, then you've got a problem. 'But that's what the weekend is for' we hear you cry. But a lot of people save these extravaganzas for the weekend, and are so busy catching up on their wish list, that by the time Monday rolls back around, they are still just as knackered as they were on Friday, because it's all crammed into one...
When you're a fresh-faced university graduate, brand new to the world of work, there is sometimes an unspoken expectation that you are going to have to work your educated little butt off in order to succeed. And this doesn't just mean working super hard from 9-5; no, if you want to really prove yourself as top of the pack, and the best damn graduate your employer has ever seen, then you have to be willing to work every hour of the day to prove it. It's just the done thing right? Well, unfortunately it is in a lot of cases, but what if you don't want to work 60+ hour weeks? What if, God forbid, you actually wanted some time to yourself, to indulge in hobbies, or other crazy things such as sleeping? It's not possible though, of course; if you want to be the best, you're got to outwork the rest. Good plan to start with; if you've found a job your really enjoy (thanks to your Happy Work profile – you're welcome) then you might even truly...
There's nothing wrong with a little bit of pressure in life; in fact for most of us we wouldn't get anything done if there weren't some degree of pressure, whether that's the pressure to get that assignment done on time or the pressure to get a job in order to pay the rent. So on the whole pressure isn't in itself a bad thing. However there is most definitely such a thing as 'too much' pressure, and when you're a graduate it's easy to become overwhelmed by what's expected of you. And this pressure could be coming from a number of places; it could be work, family or even friends, and often you won't notice how it's impacting you until it's too late, so the first step is: look for the warning signs.
Ever talk to your friends about your jobs? Ever hear them (or you) say something along the lines of: 'I hate my job, but it's fine – it's just something to pay the bills right?' Does it make you weep inside? Because it should. For most of us the primary purpose of getting a job is to make sure we can survive, that much is true, after all who hasn't dreamt of giving up work the second we win the lottery? But work is actually so much more than just a means to paying the bills, or at least it should be.
Think about this: how long do you spend at work? Typically if you are a graduate in...
'I'm not going to apply for that job – I'm too young/inexperienced/under-qualified/not good enough/bla bla'. It's the same old story graduates have been telling themselves since universities first became a thing. And don't get us wrong, we totally get it; you don't have much experience, you are young, you might not have all the necessary qualifications. But....you are good enough. If you've found a job that you really think you'd be right for, that you'd work really hard at and are willing to put some effort into, then we're delighted to say that you are good enough. But, and it's a big but, this doesn't mean you are going to get the job you want....sorry. And the biggest reason for this is that a lot of other people will be applying for it...
There's nothing more annoying that when you work your little tail off, and don't get any recognition or reward for it. It's all well and good working hard for hard work's sake, but let's be honest, none of us work because we really want to, we do it because we have to and it's simply more enjoyable if you get the occasional 'thanks'. Aside from feeling good, it's also useful when people show their appreciation for what you do because it helps you know when you're doing something right – but if people don't tell you, how the heck are you supposed to know? Of course when you do something wrong you never hear the end of it, so in some ways 'no news is good news', but that doesn't change the fact it would be nice to be recognised sometimes.
If you ever google the word millennial, then the first thing you'll see, besides explanations of what the term means, is things like 'me, me, me generation', 'job hoppers' and 'self-important'. In short, millennials are generally looked upon by the older generation with a degree of derision; unprepared for work, only able to communicate through technology, and out for themselves. Not a pretty picture. But don't believe the hype; being a millennial is actually a good thing for you career and the organisation you decide to apply you skills to. Here's why:
You want to make your mark on the world. You want to be something, and do something important.
When you join a company as a graduate employee often you are being groomed (in a non-creepy way) to become a leader within the organisation. This might take years to actually transpire depending on your own interests and skills, but sometimes it can happen very quickly. This is obviously great news for you if it does as it shows the business already trust you, believe in you and are invested in your progression. However it does present it's own set of challenges; being a manager is tricky enough in itself as it's a very complex and testing role to take on, but in today's workplace, due to shifting demographics, you are increasingly likely to be in a position where you are having to manage someone older than yourself. Theoretically this shouldn't be an issue, but the truth is...
A common aspect of almost all jobs is the need to work in a team from time to time. Perhaps people need things from you, or you need things from them in order to get stuff done. Whatever the dynamic, working with others towards a common goal is almost universal in the workplace. The challenge comes when you are good at what you do, but everyone else is pretty s**t. You're going about your day doing everything you need to, on time and to a high standard. Everyone else on the other hand seems to be bumbling around like a pack of morons, meaning nothing gets done, and you all end up looking bad. How the hell do you deal when people around you aren't performing?
One of the most common dilemmas facing anyone looking for a job is: money or job satisfaction? Which is more important? Almost everyone would say job satisfaction; after all you, assuming you work full time, you'll essentially be spending more time at work than anywhere else, so it's damn important to make sure you like what you are doing. But that doesn't mean money isn't important, in fact it's very important if you want to do things like live in a home, eat food and have any sort of social life. The actual amount of money you'll need to do all of these things will of course vary depending on your personal definition of the 'good life'. Some people manage on barely anything and are quite content, while others may be objectively richer, but still don't feel...
If you're a graduate who's relatively new to the world of work, then you may not yet fully appreciate the immense power that your boss holds. Not only are they the ones who tell you what to do and how to do it, they are also the ones who control your holiday, your pay and how quickly you are likely to progress. So having a good one is important; unfortunately not everyone gets this luxury. Some bosses are quite simply evil. They seem to be out to make everyone around them miserable, and if you get caught in the trap of one of these bosses, you will know about it. The trouble is they normally start out sweetness and light, pretending to be your very best friend and willing to do almost anything for you, but over time they start to turn into a monster, and suddenly nothing you can do is...
If you are (or are about to become) one of the many, many people who have to endure a miserable commute in order to get to work, then we genuinely feel for you. No matter how much you love your job, having to suffer a hot, tightly packed train, or never ending traffic, in order to get there can really make you wonder 'is it worth it?' But don't let the pain of a commute spoil your love of your job. Instead follow our tips to help make it (a bit) more endurable.
When you know you're going to be travelling for a fair while, finding ways to use that time productively is the best way...
Of all the possible things that might get you down in your job, the annoying co-worker is virtually guaranteed. You might not have to deal with a boring/long commute or rubbish work hours, but no matter what you do, you will have to deal with co-workers (unless you literally work on your own in a lighthouse or something). We all know we can't get on with everyone, so whether it is the one who won't stop talking, the boaster, or the tattle-tale, when that annoying colleague does pop up, what is the best way to handle them?
Usually the most effective option, but not always the easiest to...
There's a lot of pressure put on young people to 'get a good education' so you can go on to get a 'good' job, and when you're young and impressionable it actually sounds quite alluring. 'The world is your oyster' you're told or 'you'll go far'; then bam! You leave uni with a specific subset of skills and knowledge, no real world experience, and high expectations, only to step away from the high of graduation day with a sinking feeling of 'what next?'
As a uni student you would have spent the past 16 years or so (assuming you graduate at 21) in education,...
For many of us we know when we are unhappy at work; it may take a while but over time we come to recognise the symptoms of dissatisfaction – stress, reluctance to go in, slacking off. But when it comes to recognising when we are actually enjoying our work, this can be a hell of a lot harder to identify. The trouble is that we are exposed to a lot of 'fake' happiness, and are inundated with the views and expectations of others, so much so, that a lot of us struggle to identify when we are actually feeling quite content. It also feels like it's much more acceptable to be moaning about things with our friends and families, whereas telling someone you're really happy feels a bit like bragging so we tend not to do it. All of this combined means that actually identifying when you are in a...
There's very few things you can count on in life, aside from death and taxes (as highlighted by Benjamin Franklin) but if there's one thing that seems a pretty good bet, it's that technology is going to continue to evolve, and as a result, the demand for graduates with computer science degrees will grow as well.
Everything from grocery shopping, to news-watching, to taxi-booking, is now facilitated by an internet connection. In society today, there is certainly an observable shift of everyday people benefitting from online services - in lieu of less efficient, physical alternatives. This is being clearly reflected in the corporate landscape; one of the most sought after employees is the web developer/ designer.
As a graduate job-seeker, getting ahead of the pack is never easy; in terms of qualifications and experience you have very little to differentiate yourself from your peers. But that’s obviously not very helpful when trying to get a job; you need something that is going to help you stand out from the crowd, especially at the CV stage where virtually every resume is going to look the same. This is where a lot of people will choose to ‘embellish’ their experience and oversell their expertise, and it makes perfect sense: by exaggerating slightly you’ll have a much better chance of getting your foot in the door and being invited for an interview, and during the interview you can dazzle the employer with your passion, personality and drive to perform. And then, ta-da – job!
Yippee – you've got a place on a graduate scheme. With a big brand no less. That's you sorted for life now; the only way is up – you're going to have a great time, get your name out there and you'll be CEO before you know it (OK, maybe that's an exaggeration), but because you've got a place on a grad scheme, the world if your oyster. It's what most graduates dream of, but is it all it's cracked up to be?
The answer to this depends entirely on your job aspirations, and what you enjoy. But for some people the reality of the grad scheme is actually more akin to a nightmare than a dream. The problem is that in a lot of graduate schemes it is high intensity, very competitive, and not at all like what is promised. And often that is...
What do you want to do with your life? A question you've probably been asked a few times in your life, and perhaps a lot more frequently now you're on the verge of joining the working world. It's also a question you are probably asking yourself almost constantly as graduate days draws near. So what's the answer?
Maybe you know, maybe you don't. But we're here to let you into a little secret – whatever you think you want to do is probably a lie, and even if that's where you start your career, the odds of you actually doing that thing for your whole working life are pretty slim.
How do we know this?
Basically because you've never done your chosen job before. If you're dreaming of being a doctor then we bet (and really...
The task of finding a job after uni is literally one of the biggest fears graduates have, in fact it's probably part of the reason so many go on to post-graduate study – just to put it off a few more years. And it's no wonder it's such a source of stress; you've spent your entire life in education, barely dipping a toe into the world of work, and suddenly you're expected to join the fray, with no experience, and no clue what you really want to do. Not really the ideal scenario. But what can you do to help offset all of this – the answer could lie in an internship.
Hard to get onto,...
Nobody enjoys job hunting, it doesn't matter how many years' experience you have in the job market, it is quite frankly a pain. But being a graduate, there are some particularly frustrating things about the process:
1. Feeling bound by the title 'graduate' – there are so many amazing jobs out there that you know you could do if you were given half a chance. But, because you are 'just a graduate' you probably have no hope, so why would you even bother applying? (Hint: still apply because you never know....)
2. You don't actually know what you want to do for a career – how in Pete's name are you...
There's so much negative press out there about how 'flighty' and 'unreliable' millennials and the younger generation of workers are, that you might be thinking that in order to succeed in your career, you need to stay with the same company or department for your entire working life in order to progress. This certainly used to be the way of the world a few decades again, but whether the older generation like it or not, times have changed.
Back in the day you really could find a job for life, one where you sign on in your youth and you're there until the day you retire, gradually working up the ranks to achieve career growth. Unfortunately jobs like this don't exist any more, and the brutal fact is that if you want to progress odds are you are going...
As a graduate you might be a bit worried about your first 'real job'; even if you've had summer or weekend work in the past, there's something extremely intimidating about that first post-uni job. It suddenly feels like there's a lot more pressure on you to do well. After all, who really cares if you get fired from your local Saturday job; you were only doing it for extra cash anyway. But with your 'real job', you literally need that money to live; people are watching you to see if you succeed or fail; your parents will be telling their friends and your family about how proud of you they are; friends will be looking at you to judge how 'successful' you've become after uni. Plus as it turns out, finding a job is actually a lot harder than you first...
To be honest, on the face of it you are probably not. Odds are that as a graduate you will have a pretty bland CV, very little or no work experience, a pretty dire knowledge of the skills required to excel in the workplace, and probably unreasonable expectations about what you 'should' be paid and how fast you should progress up the ranks. So no, on paper you probably don't look very employable.
But that's the problem with paper, and that is why much more stock is put into the interview phase of an application – this is where you can really showcase your skills,...
Job hunting – it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from or what degree you've done, we can pretty much guarantee the process that you follow in your job hunt: search for a vague term on Google for example 'graduate jobs', '[insert degree subject here] graduate jobs' or 'jobs in marketing/any other area you have a possible interest in'. Next up you scroll through reams of seemingly unsuitable jobs, and pick out any that might just fit with what you think you want/can do/can blag your way into. Then the application process; fill in any mandatory forms, upload the same CV to every company, and copy and past a generic cover letter that details your 'passion', 'reliability' and 'teamwork'. Once all that's done you can...
As a graduate job seeker the most popular search result for 'graduate jobs' is a number of different graduate schemes with big companies such as PwC, Coca-Cola, and Sky. There are so many grad schemes, in fact that it can sometimes be hard to see any other options available. So if you're like the majority of graduates, and you don't get a place on these coveted placements, you'd be forgiven for thinking that's the end of the line, and there's no other avenue available to you. But if you are one of the graduates who hasn't managed to secure a place on a grad scheme, don't be disheartened because believe it or not, that's not your only option.
The interview is definitely the most nerve-wracking part for most people, and unfortunately it's the part where a lot of people fall down – not because they're not good enough or suitable for the role, but because they get nervous and don't perform at their best. Unfortunately the only way to become more comfortable in interviews is to do them a lot, but honestly you don't want to have to do a hundred interviews to get your first job because that's quite frankly a morale killer. So instead, focus on little changes you can make to improve the experience for you. Different things will work for different people, but below we explore a couple of things that everyone should to help maximise chances of success.
For a lot of graduates the ultimate aim in terms of their career is to get a place on a formal graduate scheme with one of the 'big' companies. Organisations such as PwC, Coke, Google are extremely appealing to graduates, and as a result the application process onto grad schemes for these (and many other big name companies) is highly competitive, frustrating and lengthy. While this route is absolutely appropriate and desirable for many graduates, for many others, they simply apply for these schemes because they don't know what else is available to them.
If you go onto any grad job board,...
You've started being strategic about your job hunt, only applying for those that fit your personal criteria – great. You've sorted out your CV, so it shows off who you are, in a truthful way, and you've taken the time to tailor it for the job you're applying for – fab. And finally you've got the call/e-mail/WhatsApp message to say you've been invited for an interview – amazing!
Of course you're perfect for the job, you've got all your answers to the questions they're going to ask rehearsed, and you're feeling good. But how much research have...
For a lot of graduate job seekers there are a few tried and tested approaches for 'successful' job hunting. Well-known graduate job platforms are extremely popular with a lot a job seekers, and for good reason. This is typically where the big brands will go to advertise their schemes and vacancies. But what if you're not after a position with one of the big companies, and don't want to enter into the world of the formal graduate scheme? Where can you go to find more unusual or specialise roles?
Industry job boards
Welcome to the second article in our 'Job Application Success Series'. So hopefully your are having much more fun searching and applying for jobs that actually sound interesting and fit with what you want out of your career. That's an excellent start, but let's be frank; unless you're CV is up to scratch you're going to struggle to get a foot in the door. CV writing is one of the things a lot of people get wrong, even those who have been in the working world for many years. Of course, the trouble with writing a CV is that there's not actually a defined 'right' way, and what constitutes a 'good CV' is very subjective. That being said, there are a few things that will help (and a lot more that will hinder) your CV to be noticed by employers shuffling...
It's a question we all ask ourselves; even those who have been working for many years will often ponder whether there's something out there that might be more suitable for them. But as a graduate it's an even more tricky question as you don't typically have the benefit of experience than older employees have. While they may have tried virtually every job under the sun, as a grad you've probably had a very limited exposure to the world of work. So how can you decide what job is right for you?
The secret comes down to knowing who you are; what do you stand for, what are your values, what do you enjoy. Knowing this information gives you the power to be a lot more specific in your job hunt, although will not narrow down the options in terms of job roles. In...
Searching for the perfect job can quite frankly be a minefield of frustration and disappointment is you don't approach it in the right way. At Happy Work we want to help graduates and students succeed in their careers and put all that studying and hard work to good use. In our new blog series we explore some of the key aspects of successfully applying for jobs, and offer some advice on avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes. We'll look at CV writing, doing your research when you get offered an interview, and finally how to shine in interview. But first up we explore the actual job hunt stage.
If you are a graduate job seeker then you have probably considered every possible avenue available in order to find a suitable job, which means you have almost certainly come across the 'graduate recruitment consultant' during your hunt. These are the individuals or agencies that promise to find the right candidates for a company, and if you're a job seeker, tend to hound you if they think they've found something you're interested in. There are definitely pros and cons to working with recruitment consultants, so it's worth bearing in mind it's not the right route for everyone.
If you read any advice on 'top ways to secure a good graduate job' you'll likely find volunteering one of the main points covered. After all volunteering shows you are conscientious, caring and hard-working, so it must be a no-brainer when it comes to boosting your chances of getting a good job, right? Well yes and no; below we explain why it sometimes helps and why it sometimes doesn't.
The Yes Argument
Volunteering certainly looks good on your CV, but in reality it is only likely to set you apart if you are able to demonstrate how the experience...
The trials and tribulations of the graduate job search can sometimes make us blind to what makes us, us, and what we value as important. When you are desperately seeking a job after graduation you suddenly find yourself saying things like 'it doesn't matter that I don't agree with smoking, working for a tobacco company could be fun'. Hmmmm. It's so easy to forget who we are when there's a potential job on the line, and it's part of the reason so many grads end up in jobs they hate.
But if you want a job that is actually fulfilling, enjoyable and rewarding, then the key is...
Whether you are due to graduate shortly or have been out of university for a little while, then job hunting is probably the top thing on your mind (assuming you haven't already got yourself an awesome job – if so, go you!). But over time the stress of job hunting can easily wear you down. Filling out application after application, and either hearing nothing or getting a stream of rejection e-mails to your inbox understandably damages morale. But don't get disheartened, because the job of your dreams is out there, you just need to know how to survive the job hunt battle ground.
#LifeAfterUni often sounds so full of promise and excitement when discussing it with friends and family. The world if your oyster, as they say, and opportunities seem endless. But as many disgruntled graduates will likely tell you, the realities are often far removed from the dream. Very few graduates end up in their perfect job from day one, and even fewer go on to become a millionaire/billionaire by the time they are 25. We know it sounds gloomy, but the truth is that life after uni is actually pretty hard, and that hard work all starts with the job search.
A lot of uni students will...
If you've been keeping an eye on the news lately, then aside from the updates on Brexit and the latest antics of the US president, you may have hear the term apprenticeship levy being batted around a fair amount. Most of the focus has been on the financial impact it's going to have on large companies across the UK, but the truth is that it's also going to have a huge impact on job hunters, especially graduate job hunters, as organisations are having to re-purpose money in order to pay the extra tax placed on them. As a result a lot of the large organisations that could, in the past, be depended upon to offer a wide range of graduate job vacancies, will likely be cutting these down significantly in order to focus on apprentices.
The fact is that as of...
If you are a recent or soon to be graduate, then you are probably in the full throws of job hunting. Looking for what's available, deciding what might be right for you, and hopefully securing a few interviews for roles you think you'd enjoy. But if you are struggling with the last part it might be time to think about what it is that's motivating your job hunt? Is it passion for a particular area of interest, or is it a desire to move out of the family home and finally start making some money?
For a lot of grads the hunt starts out being motivated by a passion for their chosen...
Worried about the impact your 2:2 degree is going to have on your chances of getting a good job? It's a valid fear, as a lot of the big names companies simply won't consider a graduate with anything lower than a 2:2. But let's be realistic, just because you didn't excel in your exams doesn't mean you won't make a kick-ass employee if given half the chance. Unfortunately a lot of companies are simply not willing to give that chance, so what are you to do?
The answer is to focus on everything else you have to offer as an employee. So what if you slipped up in your exams,...
Considering how much time we spend at work, finding an environment that fuels our success, rather than drags us behind is exceptionally important. A lot of people assume that happiness at work is about finding the right job, but really the company you work for is just as important. Just as you wouldn't (or shouldn't) settle for a relationship with someone who doesn't value, love and respect you; you shouldn't be expected to work for a company that doesn't either. But how can you tell if a company is right for you?
Before you can assess whether a company is the right fit for you, you need to know what you're looking for. What are your values? Is it important to you that you work for a socially responsible charity? Do...
Wohoo – you've finally got a graduate job! And it feels pretty amazing doesn't it? Or does it? For a lot of graduates the feeling they get when they finally secure their first job isn't always one of elation, but rather one of unease. 'Have I made the right choice?' 'I'm not sure if I can do this job.' 'I don't want to have to do a two hour commute each morning', 'I'm not really sure this is the company for me'. 'I suppose I'll just get on with it'. 'I'll keep looking for another job in the meantime'.
That's what it...
So experts suggest that on average it takes around three months between sending off an application and getting a graduate job with a 'top company'. But why? Basically it comes down to two things:
Sheer volume of applications
Basically when there is a graduate scheme place up for grabs a lot of people, and we mean A LOT, will apply for it. It's estimated that for every role at least 40 people apply for the job, and in some industries this is much, much higher with as many as 185 people applying for each job. So it's no wonder that it takes companies a while to get through all the data that comes through.
Graduating is an exciting time; the world seems so full of promise as you get that coveted degree and begin your search for the career of your dreams. Full of hope you send out applications to all your top choice companies, ready to land that perfect job. But as the rejection letters (or complete silence) come back from those companies and roles you begin to widen your search until you're on the verge of applying for a till job at your local supermarket.
Until you finally get an invite to an assessment centre for an amazing graduate scheme with a big, big name. Super excited, you are sure you'll be strutting your stuff in your new workplace in a few short weeks.
Or perhaps not.
You've completed your degree – congratulations. Now what? Get a job right? What job? Any job probably because you may not really know what you want to do right now. But as this is your first foray into the world of work you want to do it well; you want to make a good impression, hit the ground running and change the world. All highly commendable goals, but perhaps not the most viable, because as a graduate employee you will be once again at the bottom of the food chain, and it's hard to make much of an impression from there. So what can you do?
Be humble but bold
It's a kind of 'chicken and egg' scenario – if you take a job for the money but hate it then you'll be miserable because you hate your job; but if you take a job you love, but it pays pennies, you'll be miserable because you're poor. There's no real win in either scenario. Of course the ideal would be to find a job you love that also pays really well. But nobody actually gets to do that right? No one has even had a job they really love and that rewards them financially, surely? So you have to choose.
Maybe, but we find fault with that thinking because there are so...
It used to be that you did a degree and after graduation you would find a job related to that degree. Marketing degree: you become a marketer; economics degree: you become and economics professor or financial advisor. But these days there are so many degree subjects to choose from, and so may jobs roles that it's almost impossible to make the two line up any more. Unless you're studying a highly specialist degree such as medicine, where the path is still very linear, most graduates will leave university with a degree based on their interests, and no real idea what they want to do with it.
Leaving university is a perplexing time; released into the wild world of work it can be difficult to know what to hunt for in terms of a career path. After all, how can you know what you want to do when you've never done any of the jobs you're applying for?
So what do you do?
Generally there are three options people opt for:
Do a Master's or PhD and put off the decision for a few more years
Try and find a job related to your degree
Apply to anything and everything so you can start earning money to pay off that fabulous student loan
According to research around 14% of graduates will turn down an offer of employment from graduate recruiters – are you one of them?
With so much competition for jobs these days the idea of turning down a guaranteed job may seem a little scary – but what if the job doesn't feel quite right? Perhaps you just applied for the sake of it, but not it's crunch time you're not quite sure the role or the company are right for you. What do you do – do you take the job and hope it's what you want? Do you take the job and keep looking elsewhere? Or do you reject it and keep searching for 'the one'? The third option is what many people would probably like to do, but with no income and the prospect of having to live with parents – is it...
Are you ready to be a leader?
Probably not to be honest, but that's OK, because most leaders are made, not born – all it takes is a bit of practice and confidence in what you do. But that will take time, so when you get the job or your dreams through HappyWork, don't be disheartened if you're about to turn 30 and you're still not a leader – that's OK!
Being a good leader is an immensely complicated skill, and actually not one that everyone strives toward, so if you have no aspirations to be a leader and would rather just be a kick-ass expert in your job, then go you. There's no rule that says everyone should want to lead others (and let's be fair, history shows that not everyone should lead others).
Showing off your negotiation skills to employers is one of the trickier skills to highlight, because unless you're a trained negotiator, you probably don't know you're doing it. But the truth is we all negotiate with others all the time – deciding which restaurant or film to go to with your friends, deciding which project topic to choose for your group assignment, or even trying to negotiate an extension on your coursework with a professor; all classic negotiation examples. Of course, as with all skills, some people are better at negotiation than others, but we all do it with varying degrees of success.
In business negotiation will be important when working with others on a project; trying to ensure you have the time or resources to do your job to the...
What the hell is commercial awareness?
Definitely not something you get taught at university, unless you happen to be doing economics or something similar, that's for sure, but something that's going to be very important once you get your hands on a job after university.
It doesn't matter what you do for a job or who you work for; your employer will have a commercial agenda for their products, and unless you understand the market and commercial elements of the business it's going to be hard to make any real impact.
But when it...
I've just graduated university, of course I'm organised!
If only that were true.
But alas, many university graduates are some of the least organised people you'll ever meet; working deadline to deadline, missing classes, forgetting notes, prioritising fun over learning, while university is a great place to learn organisational skills, it's not a lesson everyone always takes on board. But while you may get away with it at uni, being poorly organised at work probably won't wash with your boss, especially if it means deadlines are being missed.
'No need to worry, I always get things done eventually'
The words of a practised procrastinator, and for many people this is how they navigate...
Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?
We've all been there, that embarrassing phone call on the train when whoever you're calling suddenly goes silent on the other end of the line. Even in this day and age, with all the tools available to us, communication is hard, harder in fact because of all of the ways we now have to communicate. For many graduates, talking face to face or even on the phone is quickly becoming and outdated form of communication, we generally prefer to use text or e-mail, and while these are commonly used in business, the best outcomes still come from speaking to people in person, because this is the best way to make sure we fully understand what is being said. Too much information can be lost or misinterpreted via text, but when you...
Unfortunately when it comes to decision making and problem solving we're not talking about deciding what to wear or which on-campus party to attend, or how to make the world best prank work (although these are all excellent ways to practise these skills). For many graduates in the past, decision making and problem solving wasn't an issue in the early stages of their career as they weren't expected to have these skills in abundance and as a result most decisions were made for them, and they never had to solve problems themselves. The trouble was this led to a population of senior workers who couldn't solve a problem to save their life, so businesses started to think maybe graduates do need these skills. So if you're looking for a job now, you need to know...
Ever been part of a sporting team, university society, or even a project team for an assignment at uni? Excellent, then you can already demonstrate experience of being part of a team.
That being said, just because someone's been part of a team, doesn't necessarily mean they have good team-working skills. To roughly assess your team-working skills, think back to an example when you were part of a team and consider the following questions:
When you were part of a team did you contribute fairly, or did you go off and do your own thing, or perhaps leave the bulk of the work for others to do?
Did you all agree a common goal to work towards, and create a plan to achieve this (and then stick to it)?
Did you consider other people's...
In our recent blog, we explored what it is that employers now look for in graduates, aside from educational background, and it's been shown time and again that behavioural competencies are not just as (and sometimes more) important than technical ability in many roles. Employers are now coming to recognise that having the right behaviours in place, alongside technical knowledge, is the only way to ensure success, both for the individual and the business. But as we explored last time, the behavioural skills businesses are looking for are fairly specific, and generally they include:
Decision making and problem solving
The trouble with being a graduate is that often you get fooled into believing that simply having a degree is enough to land you your dream job. In the past, when degree educated individuals were in short supply, this may have been the case, but times have changed. Competition is now fierce for every role, and having a degree doesn't offer the edge it once did, and it's not surprising, considering that just over 530,000 people attend university in the UK each year, and when it comes to applying for jobs, estimates suggest there are approximately 39 applicants for every graduate role.
So if simply having a degree isn't enough to make you stand out, what else do you need? Research suggests it is actually behavioural competencies that employers...