Hey, I'm Maddie, a 22-year-old Criminology graduate from the University of Leicester. I now work as an Account Executive within Public Relations. It's been a bit of a weird year since graduating, which is why I've started my own blog about the highs and lows of graduate life (@mindthegapgraduates) and also love sharing my story on sites like The Blue Graduate.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for graduates who are currently job hunting?
A: My top 3 tips are:
1. Make a spreadsheet to keep up with where you've got to with jobs and which ones you've applied to. Have column headers that state the job title, company, stages of the application and when things have to be done by. This is not only a great way to stay organised but also a good way to track what you're doing well or not so well - if you're never getting to an interview or perhaps never passing a psychometric test, you can see a pattern and try to resolve any shortfalls with that.
2. Don't give up - it might take a week, a month or even a year to land any job after university. It's really difficult to get rejected from jobs, and I so wish we were taught how to handle that. Just keep your head up and know that one day something amazing will come to you. Keep on going and don't lose any faith in yourself.
3. Don't compare your timing and journey to others. Comparison, especially in careers, is so damaging. Someone might have got a job before you and it might make you feel worse about yourself, but you don't actually know if it's making them happy or if there's something that makes it less than ideal. Similarly, job titles don't really mean a thing, so if your friend has got a swanky Director role after a year, don't panic - that might just mean they're the only person in that department. You never know so don't compare, it's a terrible (but easy, I know) habit to get into.
Q: How did you secure your current job? What was the interview process like, and what did you do to stand out?
A: I actually got my job though family connections (I won't lie), but with previous jobs I did identify a few reasons why I got the job or passed interview stages.
While at University and during the first year of being a graduate, I started a small business and a blog in my spare time. These were amazing ways for me to learn new skills and demonstrate to an employer that I'm committed, always going above and beyond and had good time management skills.
It's often not enough to just have a degree, as so many people do, so you have to go above and beyond with things.
My advice to anyone that's struggling to find a job or doesn't really have that key selling point, try and start something in your spare time and learn new skills. Whether that's a blog, a freelance business, tutoring or just proofreading other students work, it all counts and shows that you're hard working.
Q: How did you feel when you started your job vs now?
A: When I started my job, I felt really excited and got caught up in the whole wow look at me I'm working and get paid for it but that has recently worn off. Whether that's due to the pandemic or not, I'll never know.
I've had my fair share of imposter syndorme, and still do. I go through bouts of feeling not good enough to be doing my job, wondering why I got the job (which I think about a lot more considering the family connection) and generally feeling inadequate.
As the year has gone on, I've definitely developed a lot more confidence and skills in my role. So the doubting thoughts come less frequently but they're definitely there.
In my day to day role, I do a range of tasks, from managing the company's social media to writing press releases and blog posts for clients. I really like the fact that no two days are the same, as this gives me a lot of practice across a range of things and lets me see what my favourite things are to take into future roles.
Q: What do you miss most about university?
A: I think I miss the validation of grades and assignments the most. Always working towards a deadline and knowing that I'd be given a number to reflect the effort I put in, there's nothing quite like it at work.
It's all we've ever known really - working towards GCSEs, then A Levels, then wanting to get our desired grade in our degree. So when I produce a good piece of work in my job, the 'Great, cheers for that' email doesn't quite cut it.
If you would like to feature on the blog and share how you beat the blues please contact me, or read more of our Graduate Q&As here.
If you type 'CV tips' into google, the search result shows a whopping 1,510,000,000 sources...That's ALOT of information for one person to sift through, and with job deadlines looming, you might need something quick and fast to get you on your way. I sat down with two recruitment specialists to bust some CV myths, find out what really helps you stand out to recruiters, and some common mistakes to avoid.
First, I spoke to Charlie Waterman, who has spent the past 6 years in recruitment and now heads up Talent Acquisition at a company called Harnham (wow, go Charlie!). Charlie now focuses on recruiting for Harnham's graduate scheme, and she's also previously recruited for big companies like British Airways, Deloitte and even Facebook as well smaller start ups- so you can be pretty sure she knows what she's talking about!
So Charlie, is it true that some recruiters only look at your CV for a couple of seconds? If so, how can you make your CV stand out against others?
It is true that recruiters take a very short amount of time to look at a CV. In my experience, speaking for me, having recruited for 6 years I am a master skim-reader and I know what I am looking for when reading a CV. I'll typically spend around 5-10 seconds doing that initial skim-read and then if I am interested naturally will spend more time reading and then wanting to talk to the candidate to find out more.
To stand out, it's quite simple:
1. Make sure that you're flagging to the person reading that you want to do the role that they are recruiting for. So if it's a Media Buyer, have the words media buyer in your personal summary at the top. You would be surprised at just how many CVs have another job listed in the personal summary or a very vague overview - when you receive hundreds of CVs, it makes it an easy differentiating factor.
2. For graduate roles, put your education up top. But make sure you still have a work experience section with a clear outline of your work and commercial experience. You may not have done an internship or have relevant commercial skills, but any work experience (even if it seems irrelevant) is better than none. Working in a coffee shop will have taught you many skills that a company will benefit from, hiring managers just like to see that a graduate has had to put a bit of hard work in before - no matter where that may be.
3. Network - see someone that works at the company you want to work at that went to your school or uni? Use it - introduce yourself and ask them if they'd be open to jumping on a call to network and find out about how they got there. Flatter them a little and don't be too pushy at asking about the job you've applied or want to apply for - chances are if you do it right, they'll not only give you some helpful advice but they'll probably also put in a good word 😉
Join us for part 2 next week where we speak to Julie Grimes, founder of Jaguar White Recruitment, who shares three of the biggest mistakes someone can make on a CV and how you can avoid them!
Hi everyone! My name is Tairan Joyner and I am 22 years old. I graduated in May from Barry University in Miami, FL with a degree in Marketing. I am currently working as a marketing intern at Inspire Brands while looking for a full-time job. I have a passion for digital marketing and media.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for graduates who are currently job hunting?
A: 1. Stay positive and hopeful. Job hunting can take a toll on your mental health and there's that feeling of not finding the right job. You must stay positive and hopeful that the right job is out there for you! Make sure you have supportive people around you to help lift you up during this challenging time.
2. Be consistent - job hunting is a job itself! Block some time out every day to apply to jobs. Set alerts on LinkedIn and Indeed. Reach out and make new connections.
3. Don't be afraid to try something new - be open to new industries, companies and locations especially during a pandemic where many companies aren't hiring. Also, if you can't find a job right now consider freelancing! Use your skills and your passion to help others. During my last semester of college, I decided to offer my help for free and work with a nonprofit organisation in Miami to manage their Google Ads account and create ads to increase awareness and membership. That experience allowed me to build my skills as a new digital marketer.
Q: How did you secure your current job?
A: I secured my current role by applying during my last few months of undergrad. Honestly, after I heard about the coronavirus and having to leave school, I knew that searching for a full-time job or internship would be 10x harder. After hearing a lot of companies cancel their summer internship programme also made me weary. A few days after graduation I interviewed for the internship position and secured an internship role.
Q: How did you feel when you started your job vs now? What is your day to day like?
A: When I first started my job, I was nervous and anxious just like any other intern. I didn't know what to expect but I was excited to learn new things and work on different projects. My day to day consists of sitting in on meetings for different brands, pulling and creating reports, meeting other people on different teams and analysing media trends.
Q: What do you miss most about university?
With COVID-19 is still looming over us, a lot of graduates are finding themselves sitting interviews and starting jobs from home. Whether you've got your start date or are putting those employment vibes out into the universe, there are a number of things you need to do to prepare for your first day:
1. Order stationary
Starting a new job from home means you'll be on a lot of video calls for your induction and training, so you'll need to make lots of notes if you want to get through that 'I'm new so please bear with me' phase. I found some notebooks and a planner from Typo. There are frequent discounts at Typo, and even better the pages in its notebooks are 100% recyclable!
2. Find a work space or invest in a desk
Because you'll be on a lot of video calls, you need a quiet space where you won't be interrupted by family...or if you're like me, you're cat that likes to jump in front of the camera. As well as that, you won't have the usual display support available like you would in the office, so it may be worth investing in a desk. With a lot of talk around offices adopting flexible working in the future, it's likely that working from home will go on for more than a couple of months (just like lockdown has...). A decent desk and chair will support your body, prevent aches and pains that will make you feel even more stressed, and help you to appear professional on your calls.
3. Figure out a morning routine
As you'll be at home, you won't have that normal break between leaving the house and preparing for work on your commute. Instead of rolling out of bed to your desk, which will make it feel like you're living the same day over and over again, try to schedule in a walk beforehand to get some fresh air ,keep your body moving and mentally prepare you for your day.
4. Sort out some comfy, smart clothes
This tip comes straight from one of my favourite self help books 'How to make it happen: turning failure into success' by Maria Hatzistefanis (founder & CEO of Rodial). When you get up in the morning, try to dress as though you were getting ready for a 'dress down Friday' in the office. It will set your mind up for the day and make you feel like you can handle whatever it throws at you (when you're new, anything can catch you off guard). The odd day in joggers is still totally acceptable, but make sure you don't get into a slump. Wear bright colours or those new trousers you bought 4 months ago if that's what it takes to boost your mood.
5. Go easy on yourself and don't burn out
It can be easy to get carried away and want to pick everything up quickly so that you can support your team, but it's important to remember that you need time away from the screen and to work through things at your own pace to avoid burnout. If you feel overwhelmed, speak to your manager who has been advised on how to support their team whilst everyone is working from home. Try to connect with colleagues by sending them good morning messages, or request short catch-ups throughout the week to reduce the time you spend alone.
If you are preparing for an interview from home, why not check out my blog post all about preparing for a job interview, where I share the two techniques that helped me to secure my new job during lockdown.