Getting a good job after uni can be difficult. After all, every year, a flood of well-qualified graduates enter the jobs market, all competing for a limited number of vacancies. Recruiters need to find ways to differentiate between candidates, which means that anything you can do at your time in uni to make your CV stand out, will be time well spent.
Perfect Your Interview Technique
Interviews can be nerve-wracking. The key is to be prepared. Even the most confident of people are going to come unstuck if they haven’t done their homework before an interview. Recruiters can spot it a mile away.
Learn how to present yourself at an interview too. Yes, you want to display your own personality and sense of style. Different organisations have varying expectations. A new company in the creative sector may expect you to show more individuality, so an outfit from kapital clothing would not look out of place, but if you’re interviewing at a more traditional company, then a suit and tie might be called for.
Pick Up Soft Skills
Being able to do a job is one thing, but there are so many more skills that go into building a career. These soft skills can be the difference between advancing your career or not. These include things like attitude, emotional intelligence, decision making, leadership style, communication skills and conflict resolution.
Some people seem to naturally have these soft skills, but don’t worry if you don’t. Many of these will improve as you gain experience, and others need to be worked at. You can learn about these and put them into practice in your everyday life. Then, when the time comes, you’ll be able to demonstrate to recruiters that you are committed to improving yourself professionally.
Learn How To Do Proper Research
When you get a job interview, a quick Google search isn’t going to cut it. Thorough research will help you answer and ask a huge range of recruiter questions. When researching a company, look at the following:
- Annual reports
- Social media accounts
- Google news search
- LinkedIn accounts of key personnel
- Competitor research
- Industry/sector influencers and key trade publications
Don’t wait until you’re applying for jobs. Learn how to do this now, so that it becomes second nature to you. That way, if you only have a few days between finding out about the interview and having it, you’ll be able to work quickly and take in a lot of relevant information. Look through some job adverts and choose a company, then research as you would if you were interviewing with them.
One of the most important skills you can learn for the benefit of your career is how to build and maintain a good network of contacts. Again, this is something that some people make look easy, so you may feel that you won’t be very good at it if you’re not a naturally confident or outgoing person. Effective networking is a skill that can be learned and improved on with practice.
Developing relationships with personal and professional connections can open up a host of business and career opportunities. You can start virtually, by updating your LinkedIn profile and joining some online groups. Participating virtually will help you to build up your confidence. From there you can explore attending local meet-ups or industry-specific groups.
Build Your Industry Knowledge
Knowing your subject matter and passing your course are your main priorities. But when you enter the workplace, they make up only a part of your career. Being able to see the big picture is a very desirable skill.
According to an article by top recruitment site Reed, the top skills that graduate employers are looking for include:
- Commercial awareness
- Interpersonal skills
- Time management
You can start to do this by finding the following key industry figures online. Most of them will have a LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts. From there you’ll find others who have a voice in the industry. Over time, you’ll build up a well-rounded knowledge of key trends, challenges and talking points.
Take your knowledge wider too. For example, if you’re studying computer programming, then it makes sense to immerse yourself in that industry, however, if you’re planning on working in a particular city or vertical sector, then begin to learn about those too. Having a good grasp of the local business, cultural and political issues of an area is a great way to develop as a well rounded professional, a great asset to any business.