After graduation, when students complete their degree courses and another group of rose coloured spectacle wearing students leave university with ambitions to secure that perfect job, what practical ‘nag free’ advice can parents share to help them in their quest?

Online job boards are one way to find and apply for vacancies; however these have a huge audience and hence will attract large numbers of applications. Seek out less obvious opportunities. Build a network of contacts within the private sector industry that appeals to you by attending events, as well as asking around your current network to see where possible introductions could be useful. As well as targeting large Companies, research which smaller businesses are thriving in the same market-place, as they may be more open to a personal approach.

Once you have identified companies which appear to be growing or expanding show initiative through writing concise speculative emails or letters to them. Always address them to a relevant person, identify the key skills you can offer and put a strong case for how you can add to their business. Include a paragraph about why you are interested in their company, one to highlight your key skills as relevant to them and suggest a meeting.

If you are offered an internship opportunity make sure you will be doing work that is building relevant employability skills and that the position is within a known Company whose name will enhance your CV. Making tea and filing for months on end, will do little to motivate or enhance your ability to sell yourself at future interviews.

When making applications, match your CV to the skills required by the job description. In no more than two pages, highlight key skills, work experience and achievements, emphasise leadership, problem-solving and team-working skills and mention the core elements of your degree and how these will contribute to your effectiveness within this position.

Review online footprint and use privacy settings to make sure that there are no skeletons in the closet that could affect a potential employers’ assessment of you as a potential candidate. Start to build a more professional online presence by completing a profile on LinkedIn for example, listing your key skills, qualifications, work experience and interests. Don’t forget to add a business-like photo. Make constructive, engaging comments in relevant forums; write guest posts on relevant blogs, so you start to build some kind of recognition in the areas that interest you.

Hopefully the above will open some doors to realistic opportunities and then all you will need to do is prepare properly for interview!
If you need advice and support regarding making applications for graduate jobs, please contact our team of education consultant experts who will be very happy to assist you.

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