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5 Steps Every Graduate Should Be Taking

Wednesday 12 December 2012 by AP Group HR

Due to graduate within the next 6-12 months and looking toward the future? Some of you may already have it all planned, some of you may not. This is a very important step in life and the beginning for most, on their particular career path. So here are 5 tips from our dedicated recruitment consultants, to help get you ahead of the crowd;

So, you are due to graduate within the next 6-12 months and are looking toward the future. Some of you may already have it all planned, some of you may not. This is a very important step in life and the beginning for most, on their particular career path. So here are 5 tips from our dedicated recruitment consultants, to help get you ahead of the crowd;

1.    What makes you tick? When you look at the bigger picture, this is a very important decision to make and can impact your life considerably. Let's say you work a 40 hour week and put in a minimum of 2 hours overtime a week. The total is 42 hours a week that you spend at work. It doesn't seem that much, right? Well it does when you realise that you  only get 168 hours a week. This results in a quarter of all the hours you get in a week, being spent at work. Surely it would be better doing something you enjoy? This is the first step, something I would recommend thinking about during the university Christmas break, if not before. What would drive and motivate you in a position? What would enable you to thrive? Customer/client contact? Back office administration? Numbers? Words? Commission? Financial targets? Creativity? As an initial step, brainstorming what makes you tick is essential, as it will enable you to ensure you are setting off on the right path, at the very beginning.


2.    Information Gathering. Do some research. Again I would do this at Christmas. Look in to possible career paths and see if there is something which would appeal to you. I would suggest taking highlighters and going through typical job descriptions or general descriptions of the different industries and marking all the appealing factors in one colour and all the unappealing factors in another. Form a pro's VS cons pile of different industries and see the results. This will help you ascertain which careers are definitely not for you and which might fit your criteria. The rest you can compare with your 'what makes you tick' list and see which careers fit your mould.


3.    Talk to People. Talk to people about what they do. The major fault with this line of questioning usually comes from the person doing the questioning. They usually say 'so, what's your job like? Or 'tell me about your job, please?' This leaves it open for all sorts of answers which are usually directly influenced by what kind of day the person has had. The question needs to remove emotion as much as possible, so any ill feelings towards the role emerging from bad days, bad management, bad company policies are absent. The question needs to avoid negative connotations. Ask questions such as 'what do you enjoy about your job?', 'what made you choose this career' and 'can you tell me about the qualifications and career prospects available in your industry please?'. Why do we ask these questions? Well, who better than the people doing the line of work you are interested in, to give you an insight? Everybody has bad days, so it is important to be objective and see whether the good would vastly outweigh the bad. It is ok to ask the employee what they don't like, for example, which will give you a balanced overview. However, this again needs to try to remove negative connotations and needs to be objective.

4.    Have your CV prepared. Yes, the arduous task of preparing a CV. This is the least enviable task for any young jobseeker, but could be one of the most crucial. During those days of downtime, 12 hour sleeps or just pure laziness, why not take an hour or so to update your CV and have it ready for applications or for your recruitment consultant? This is the major stumbling block with a lot of people. They get themselves prepared, using steps one to three. However they haven't got their CV prepared, they can't send applications and consultants can't work on them or help identify areas of weakness on the CV. This is crucial and something which could be done with just a couple of hours free time. If this is done between Christmas and Easter, then the soon to be graduate, can really climb ahead of the competition and move to step 5 below.

5.    Get some experience. So by now, you should have an abundance of information and thoughts running through your head, along with a fully prepared CV. Hopefully this information can help to narrow down to careers and positions of interest to you. Christmas will be over and you will be looking towards the Easter holidays. This is the time to arrange some work experience and meet with a recruitment consultant. Why? Well this is a great opportunity to arrange some work experience in 1 or more of your industries of interest to gain a deeper insight in to how a day works. It doesn't have to be 2 weeks, 2 placements. 3-4 days one week, 3 days the next. Perhaps more, perhaps less. However long you think will give you an insight in to the role. This will also add relevant experience on a CV and will demonstrate to a potential employer that you are very interested in pursuing a career within this industry. Why meet a consultant? Well, who is better placed to actively seek opportunities for you whilst you return to university for your final semester. They can also provide some added guidance on your career path, CV and make sure you are fully prepared to secure the perfect role upon (or even before) your completion of university, thus giving you a head start on those who have not been as thorough. Never has an old cliché rung so true; failure to prepare, is preparing to fail.

If you want to explore your career path further or just want some general career advice, please contact the AP Personnel team here in Guernsey on 01481 715757 or email info@ap-personnel.com