Post graduation. Make it happen in pre-graduation

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There is 50/50 chance of recession in United Kingdom economy after Brexit according to most economists and if you are a graduate and looking for a job it will be more competitive to secure it after the Brexit. However, there are steps that you can take before your final year to stand out from the crowd.

Stand out from the crowd

Hedwig von Restorff, a German psychologist made a very valuable discovery 80 years ago known as isolation effect. It indicates that things that standout are easily remembered than typical things. Hiring managers could deal with an average of 30 applications for every graduate job.  In most cases, all applicants have what the job requires. However when the managers scan through these applications, those they select for interviews are those who stand out.

Suppose a hiring manager received the following applications:

  • Currently working as Human Resources officer at IBM. I am a hard-working and enthusiastic person with over eight years of practical hands on experience and am ready for my next adventure! I am currently looking for an opportunity to continue working within the industry and know my skills and experiences would be a good fit for the position and the team overall.

  • Currently working as Human Resources officer at IBM. My supervisors frequently commend me for being able to weigh and consider multiple perspectives and negotiate conflicting perspectives. I always open my options for suggestions on how I can further cultivate my expertise in this field because because my ultimate aim is to help organizations develop more ethical and inclusive workplace cultures.

You don’t have to be German psychologist to see that being commended by a supervisor is a very strong and positive point that will be remembered. Actually the manager will have the second CV as a benchmark when going through the remaining CVs. And if no better CV is found, then this person will be called for an interview.

The journey of standing out starts earlier before the graduation day and many universities provide placement opportunities or international exchange programs.  Many companies reject graduates without placement and companies such as Shell, BP, Sellafield hire back their placement students for graduate roles.

Academic requirement is key criteria for graduate jobs and overwhelming majority of companies require 2.1 and higher for their programs. Furthermore, some engineering companies prefer MEng or MSC degrees for engineers because it shows higher level of education and it facilitates to achieve chartered status.

Job applications, resumes, interviews and cover letters can be taking a good portion of your time. There are many deadlines in your undergraduate studies and you may struggle with organising your timetable, because you need to write a cover letter or prepare for an interview. The best way to deal with these clashing deadlines is to plan ahead before you even get to your final year of your degree programme. Many of the good graduate companies close their development program in December time and prioritise early applicants.

The following advice will help graduates to make most of their degree and will make easier to get graduate employed.

  • Do relevant work experience.  

  • Start applying jobs early and plan ahead.

  • Utilize employability and career enhancement activities provided by your institution.

  • Involve in voluntary activities, e.g. student unions and sport clubs at the university

  • Tailor your application and CV to skills required by the employer.

  • Aim to achieve  2.1 and higher degree classification and do MSC or MEng if possible

  • Practice job application and mock interviews.

  • Search companies thoroughly before interviews by visiting their websites.

  • Prepare different covering letters for different career areas of your field.

  • Be flexible and prepare for relocation.

  • Sign out of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat and sign in LinkedIn.


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